It feels right because it is.

Meet Jessica Kirshner

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Q: When did you decide to pursue a law degree?

A: About halfway through my undergraduate career.  I began enrolling in different philosophy, international law, and business law courses and grew increasingly interested in various aspects of the law.  As I learned how integral law was – in both industry and daily life – I knew that pursuing a legal career would allow me to do good, meaningful work that I truly enjoyed.

Q: Why did you choose USD School of Law?

A: I entered law schooling knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in energy and environmental law, so I looked for law schools in California, as it has been leading the charge on some of the most important national and international climate and energy policies.  When I learned about EPIC, I knew that attending USD would provide me one of the best opportunities to work with some of California’s top energy law and policy experts. After learning more about USD’s incredible energy law program and hands-on experience with proximity to EPIC, USD was a no-brainer.

Q: When did you decide to focus on energy and environmental law?

A: Around my last year of undergrad.  I learned about international energy covenants through an international human rights course, and I was hooked.  Energy and environmental law was easily the most universal and imminent threat to everyone on our planet, and I wanted to be part of the solution.

Q: What have you done to gain practical experience in the energy and environmental law?

A: I was a Legislative Research Intern for EPIC at the end of my 1L year, which helped me familiarize myself with California’s climate policy and legislation.  I participated in the Energy Clinic, which allows students to work together on a semester-long project with a real client (like a California regulatory agency).  I also clerk for law firm that specializes in wildfire litigation, which provides hands-on experience and interaction with both clients and many other attorneys.

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in energy and environmental law? What things might you have done differently?

A: Keep on keepin’ on!!  You have already selected a legal field that is at the forefront of current U.S. and global policies, and you (hopefully) chose to study at USD Law.  That means that you want to practice in one of the most significant fields of our time at a school with a premier center for energy and environmental policy.  I would also suggest that you subscribe to news and legal updates from energy and environmental organizations (both U.S.- and California-based). This is the best way to stay informed on policy updates and current events – both of which will serve you well in your classes and legal career (e.g., interviews, networking opportunities).

Q: What activities do you participate in at USD School of Law?

A: I am the 2018-2019 Editor in Chief of the San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law (JCEL) (JCEL and EPIC co-host the Climate and Energy Law Symposium each year!).  I am also the Secretary of the Environmental Law Society, and a participant of both the Energy Law Clinic (associated with EPIC) and Public Interest Law and Practice (the Clinic associated with USD’s Public Interest Law Center).  Finally, I play intramural softball (Go Babe Ruth Ginsburgs!).

Q: What is the best thing that has happened to you here at law school?

A: Meeting INCREDIBLE people.  After leaving New Jersey, I had no idea what my next three years in San Diego would bring.  I quickly got involved in different organizations and attended various networking events, both on- and off-campus.  In doing so, I’ve met some of the most influential and genuine individuals in the San Diego area. Building personal and professional relationships like this truly make San Diego feel like home.

Jessica Kirshner

Legal interests: Energy and Environmental Law, Regulatory and Administrative Law

Bachelor's degree:  B.A. Psychology, The College of New Jersey 2011

Hometown: Berlin, New Jersey

Dream job: In-house Counsel for an Environmental Compliance Firm