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 Michelle Browning who is one of our summer legal interns. She has been with us since June and will be interning through mid-August. She studied her undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Environmental Studies, and minored in Biology with a certificate for International Human Rights. She is currently studying law at the Lewis and Clark Law School.
Q: What did you do before you got involved at Fair Shake?
A: Before coming to Fair Shake I finished my second year at Lewis and Clark Law School. At Lewis and Clark, I’ve been a part of the Northwest Environmental Defence Center and Students for International Environmental Law. Last summer I interned with the Earth Law Center and I worked as a green venue manager with the Flying Pig Marathon while I was at UC.
Q: Tell me how you first got involved with Fair Shake?
A: I found Fair Shake when researching environmental law firms in Ohio, my home state. I saw they were looking for summer interns in Akron and decided to apply because I wanted to become more familiar with environmental law in Ohio. I was really interested in Fair Shake’s sliding scale payments and their work with people in rural communities.
Q: What is a typical day like at Fair Shake?
A: During a typical day at Fair Shake, I'm usually drafting memos, doing research for upcoming cases, or meeting with Fair Shake’s attorneys.
Q: Favorite memory from work?
A: My favorite memory from work so far was going to a deposition. It was exciting to learn more about client counseling and working with opposing counsel. It was also interesting to hear from the witnesses being deposed and learn more about their perspective of the case.
Q: What's a common question you’ve heard from clients?
A: What can be done about issues that are affecting the client’s family, health, and property?
Q: What do you like most about working with Fair Shake?
A: Working at Fair Shake has been great because I’ve learned so much about the different environmental legal needs people in the region have. It’s been great to be able to work on issues ranging from oil and gas to forestry all within Ohio. I’ve also appreciated the collaborative community at Fair Shake and their relationship with other organizations who are also passionate about environmental work.
Q: What has surprised you most about working with Fair Shake?
A: I have been the most surprised by the range of cases Fair Shake works on. I knew Fair Shake worked on different types of environmental law, but while here I have also learned about land use issues, property, administrative law and other types of law as well.
Q: What do you wish other people knew about Fair Shake?
A: I wish more people were aware of the work Fair Shake does for the environment as well as for local communities. The attorneys at Fair Shake make an effort to be involved with the people they work with and I think that it’s great to see a law firm that participates in education and awareness of environmental issues.
Q: Why do you think the work that you do is important?
A: I think that environmental law is so important because it impacts so many aspects of our daily lives. The water you drink, the air you breathe, and your health are all connected to the environment that surrounds you. Environmental law is important because it is making sure that the resources we depend on are available to us and in the best conditions possible.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not working?
A: Yoga, hiking with my dog, and reading true crime novels.
Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
A: I’ve ridden horses for the majority of my life. I took a break from riding when I started applying to law school, but I hope to get back into it soon!
Q: What is your favorite skill that you have unrelated to what you do at Fair Shake?
A: I love cooking, especially Italian food