By Sydney MaHan, Student Correspondent
During this past summer, Benjamin Adler and Brittany Barnes continued the Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s work on coastal policy analysis. Here’s more about these law students who filled-in as summer interns.
Somewhere between climbing the Grand Teton and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, Ben Adler realized that there is something irreplaceable about the wonders of nature, and his interest in environmental law was sparked.
As an intern with the VCPC Adler worked on a report for the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change that explored the influence of the Dillon Rule on local governments. He interviewed local government officials and community members about whether the Dillon Rule affected local municipality action. His work resulted in an addendum to a white paper investigating local governments’ liability when they fail to protect against recurrent flooding and sea level rise.
“This experience helped me learn a great deal about environmental regulation and local government action on the effects of climate change,” says Adler. “I hope to work in the field of energy and public utility law and this experience studying government interaction with the environment has helped me a great deal with my future career.”
Adler completed his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University where he majored in political science and served as a research fellow for the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. He is second year law student at William & Mary Law School where he writes for the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, is the Training Director for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team, a Graduate Research Fellow for Election Law Program, Treasurer of the Business Law Society, a member of the J. Ruben Clark Law Society, and a member of the William & Mary Law Leadership Institute.
Growing up in the Salters Creek area of Southeast Newport News, much of Brittany Barnes’ youth consisted of exploring catches on the docks along the waterfront, and regularly visiting the 16th St. Pier and Peterson’s Yacht Basin. The opportunity to assist the members of the Southeast Newport News, and communities like it, has been a driving force in her decision to pursue a legal education for as long as she can remember.
This summer, Barnes’ work supported a partnership between the Virginia Coastal Policy Center, VIMS, and the Southeast CARE Coalition, a nonprofit environmental group in the Southeast community. Her work included assisting in the development of a resiliency plan for Southeast Newport News. On a separate project, Barnes explored structural recommendations for the Legal Working Group of the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project.
Barnes completed her undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where she majored in political science. While in Richmond, she served as an intern with a state delegate at the General Assembly, and as a College Leader at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership in Charlottesville, VA.
An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.