By Chris Patrick, staff writer
Jonathan Gonzalez is currently in his second year at William & Mary Law School and a student in the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC). He traces his interest in environmental law back to his mentor during high school and undergrad, Private Attorney John Rains.
Rains was Gonzalez’s high school debate team coach. Gonzalez later interned in Rains’s law firm during undergrad. With Rains, Gonzalez worked on a project looking at phosphate pollution. He’s been hooked on environmental law ever since.
Now, Gonzalez has found a new mentor in the VCPC’s co-director, Roy Hoagland. Gonzalez has worked as a graduate research fellow with Hoagland for three semesters.
“Roy was one of the first professors that I met in person at William & Mary,” Gonzalez says. “I always knew that I was going to be in the VCPC. I had enjoyed working with Roy as a graduate research fellow and I wanted to learn more about environmental law.”
As a student in the VCPC, Gonzalez will help the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality develop policy for the Coastal Zone Management Program. In Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program, state agencies and local governments have partnered to protect coastlines from sea level rise and storm surges.
Gonzalez’s VCPC project allows him to satisfy his love of writing. In undergrad, Gonzalez—then an aspiring screenwriter—majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. He finds his knack for writing to be an asset in law.
“I think that being able present a compelling story about your client’s case in a brief is a very important skill to have as a lawyer,” he says.
Gonzalez received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in 2014, double majoring in English and political science. He is a native of Tampa, Florida.
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.