Employee Spotlight: Josh Eisenfeld

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Our “Employee Spotlight Series” will share with you who the people working behind the scenes to bring justice to our clients and their environments. This series will include interviews from both our Akron and Pittsburgh offices to give you an idea of who are and what we do.

The employee spotlight this week is Josh Eisenfeld who is the Marketing Director at Fair Shake. He is from Pittsburgh and grew up in O’Hara Township.  He studied at Syracuse University’s New house School of Public Communication.  He has been at Fair Shake for almost 6 months. 

Q: Tell me how you first got involved with Fair Shake?  

A: I started a video production company called 4Twelve Pictures and about 4 years ago we were hired by Fair Shake to create client videos which are still on the website today. I felt the mission of Fair Shake was different from other organization and felt it was more locally focused. Focusing on each individual and their circumstances. They were fighting for the little guy, which I feel is important. Getting to meet the clients through the video that we were producing gave me insight to who Fair Shake was representing. So I became an instant fan and now here I am, part of the team!

Q: What is a typical day like at Fair Shake? 

A: I am usually scouring internet to see what is going on in the Legal and Environmental front. Meeting with a client or potential partner. A typical day also includes creating a social post, blog post, press release, or email/newsletter. I also design things like flyers or handout material for various tabling events. In summary, I keep a close watch on our world, communicate messages to our audience, design and create new materials to talk about who we are and what we do. 

Q: Favorite memory from work?

A: On May 11th, 2019 our client, the Freshwater Accountability Project, held an event called a “Better Vision for the Valley.” It was the first chance I have had to spend an entire day focusing on what we can with the resources we currently have. A lot of our work involves being against something: challenging a decision or appealing a permit, which is tough because that alone cannot solve our clients problems. Talking about ways to build a new economy without the reliance on polluters gave everyone a chance to voice what they are for, not what they are against. So many great ideas came from those discussions and they were ideas from the community members about what they wanted to see in their neighborhood. It was people identifying their value in themselves.

Q: What's a common question you get from people approaching Fair Shake? 

A: “You’re not a lawyer? So what do you do at Fair Shake then?”

Q: What do you like most about working with Fair Shake? 

A:  We are not just standing up for the environment, but we’re also standing up for people. Because of this, you meet new people and gain a new perspective and in doing so you’re able able to reflect on your own personal beliefs. You are not only helping others, but yourself in a search for a better future.  

Q: What has surprised you most about working with Fair Shake?  

A: Lawyers really don’t argue all that much (when they’re not in court).

Q: What do you wish other people knew about Fair Shake?  

A: Who we are and the people that work here and what they care about.  And how hard it is to be an environmental attorney and an advocate for the people we defend. There is so much you must put aside at times, like feelings for what is right and wrong, that are also the driving force, the passion that drives your work. Because to be a respected attorney in court you must not let motions be the driving force of your argument. But on the other hand you need that spark of emotion to push your work further and dig deeper into the law. It’s an impressive balancing act of practicality and passion.

Q:  Why do you think the work that you do is important? 

A: We’re tipping the scales so that anyone can get access to environmental legal work in a region that is at significant environmental risk. No one else is doing that here. There is public interest law that works to tackle huge cases that help a lot of people and there are for profit personal injury attorneys for individuals who have been harmed and have a good case, but in between there are so many cases not being taken. People of modest means who are at serious risk from industrial pollution are just not getting any legal help because no attorney wants that case. It’s David vs. Goliath.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not working?  

A: I like to hike with my dog Roupert, who is a German Sheppard, Rottweiler Boxer, etc mix. I got him through a video project actually, for an organization called the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team. Also, I like to play sports, specifically hockey and a golf league. Oh, and I like going to concerts and play music. 

Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?  

A: I was a fraternity president for Alpha Epsilon Pi, which is a national Jewish fraternity. Going to Syracuse, Greek life was a big part of the city. Also, I ran a marathon.

Q: What is your favorite skill that you have unrelated to what you do at Fair Shake? 

A: I guess you could say I’m “handy”.  I come from two generations of contractors, so I grew up around tools and learned how to use them at a pretty young age. Now I can do just about anything around the house. It might not always be something my dad would approve of, but it would be functional.