Practical Work for Lawyers

Mike picBy PLC Legal Intern Mike Casterlow:

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity that many law students very rarely get to experience during an internship: I left the office to explore the outside world. Specifically, I went to visit a piece of property on which PLC has proposed to place an easement. I went along with the executive director, the stewardship director, and a board member to view the property and decide the boundaries of the easement.

In law school, it can be easy to forget that there is a world beyond the casebooks and memos. Many of my fellow law students sit at a desk all day staring at a computer screen while doing research. Therefore, I was more than excited I would be visiting a piece of property in the mountains rather than sitting in the office.

While visiting this property, I learned what goes into drawing the boundaries for an easement. We had to take into account land that would not be particularly useful for development and neighbouring properties. We also noted several hunting platforms setup in order to shoot deer in the forest. Taking note of these things is important in considering how the property will be used and what sort of notices need to be placed around the property to prevent accidents. It was also interesting to learn about the different types of plant and animal habitats that existed in the area from the Ken Bridle, the stewardship director. I did have a moment of apprehension while passing a place that was described as a “hibernacula” which is basically a nest of snakes. Not only was I made privy to this information, but I also got to take a photograph near the hibernacula. This is definitely something that I would never get to experience just sitting in a classroom.

The trip, however, ended on a better note than posing next to a nest of snakes. This property has a fire tower on its property, which allows anyone standing at the top to see for miles in every direction. It really was an amazing view and a great place just to take in the beauty of what PLC is trying to protect. Visiting that property definitely cemented in my mind that I am making the right decision to go to law school and striving to help make a difference in the environmental law field so that more places like this are preserved and can be appreciated.

Overall, I definitely appreciate my time with PLC, and I count myself lucky that I am choosing a career path that does not necessarily require sitting in an office all day. I think more places should offer an opportunity to get outside and experience nature, especially for law students. We spend so much time stressing out about classes and the Bar exam that we do not have time to appreciate the things around us. Working at PLC for the past several weeks has given me that chance, and I will never forget that.

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