Law student Alyssa Florack researches important environmental issues at summer internship


Jul 25, 2021 | Student

Alyssa Florack always knew she wanted to pursue environmental public interest work and litigation, making her right at home in the top 10 environmental law program at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

The pandemic had an unexpected benefit for Florack – the chance to work remotely as a legal intern for the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) in the midwest where she grew up.

“Finding the ELPC in Chicago gave me a chance to apply some of the environmental law I’ve seen over the years to the wonderful landscapes and communities where I grew up,” she said.

In this role, Florack assists attorneys with their research on current laws and policies in the Midwest. She is currently building a reference guide for ELPC attorneys on the different procedures for court admissions across the Midwest. She is also researching cities that have taken action to regulate air pollution and improve public health.

Florack has also had the opportunity to witness first-hand the many steps a team takes when they bring a case to court, such as working with expert witnesses, completing different filings, practicing oral arguments with colleagues, and finally bringing them before a court.

“I hope to work to protect the environment in a mission-driven space, so this position is a great opportunity to learn more about the paths that are available to work in that field,” she said.

Learn more about Alyssa Florack and her summer position with the Q&A.

Why did this position at the Environmental Law & Policy Center interest you?

I’ve always wanted to pursue environmental public interest work and litigation, and I decided to try to take advantage of the remote and virtual work environments that dominated the last year by looking to great organizations outside of Utah. I’m originally from Wisconsin, so finding ELPC in Chicago gave me a chance to apply some of the environmental law I’ve seen over the years to the wonderful landscapes and communities where I grew up.

Why do you think you were selected for this position? What made you a good fit?

After I completed my undergrad, I spent a few years working as an outdoor guide and educator. That experience gave me a lot of great stories and also helped me to feel determined in my path to work on environmental issues. I was excited to join an organization with a great mission and excited to learn about all the projects ELPC has pursued.

What type of work are you doing on a day-to-day basis?

Working from home, my work is mainly helping attorneys with their research on current laws and policies in the Midwest. I am currently building a reference guide for our attorneys on the different procedures for court admissions across the Midwest, researching cities that have taken action to regulate air pollution and improve public health, looking through permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that impact Lake Erie’s waters, and assisting with litigation in the Enbridge Line 3 case.

What has been the best part about working at Environmental Law & Policy Center?

The best part has been getting to meet so many passionate advocates for these important environmental issues and getting to watch them in action.

What is something you’ve learned while working at Environmental Law & Policy Center?

I’ve gotten to see a few of the many steps a team takes when they bringing a case to court – working with expert witnesses, completing different filings, practicing oral arguments with colleagues, and finally bringing them before a court.

What are your future career goals? How does this opportunity prepare you for your future?

I hope to work to protect the environment in a mission-driven space, so this position is a great opportunity to learn more about the paths that are available to work in that field.

What is something you’ve done this summer besides working for Environmental Law & Policy Center?

Before starting my internship, I spent 6 days rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon in the traditional lands of the Nimiipuu, Lemhi-Shoshone, and Shoshone-Bannock with some great friends and my dog Crash.