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Meet Katrina Wraight

Q: When did you decide to pursue a law degree? When did you decide to focus on energy and environmental law?
A: I wanted to pursue a law degree coming out of high school. I love being a student and knew I wanted to continue my environmental education beyond my undergraduate career. I chose my degrees with law school in mind, hoping to gain background knowledge in political science and environmental studies. Throughout my studies I discovered how significant a role law and policy play in addressing environmental issues, which cemented my decision to pursue a J.D.

Q: Why did you choose USD School of Law?
A: I chose to attend USD School of Law because of its location in sunny San Diego. I knew I wanted to attend a law school on the California coast and attend school in the city where I planned to practice. I then searched law school websites and compared my options by school rankings and strength of environmental and energy law programs, which is when I came across the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC) website and learned of the unique opportunity to study energy policy issues in San Diego.

Q: What have you done to gain practical experience in the energy and environmental law?
A: At every internship, externship, or job opportunity during law school, I have always made sure that my supervisor is aware of my passion for environmental and energy law. That way, whenever a client or issue relating to environmental or energy law presented itself, my supervisor would allow me to work on the issue. At an internship with a firm that focuses on business and civil litigation, an issue related to energy law arose and the partner asked for my assistance in gaining some background knowledge in energy law. Informing the partner of my knowledge and interest developed into a position in which I was assigned as the sole “energy intern” working directly with the partner in researching and legal writing for all aspects of the energy law case.

I also participated as a student in EPIC’s Energy Law and Policy Clinic in the spring of 2015 and also as law clerk and research assistant for the spring of 2016. The Clinic is a particularly special experience because you assigned a task by a client, which has generally been a California energy-related agency, and work throughout the semester in a small group to best answer your client’s question. Last year we worked for the California Energy Commission to analyze California’s how California’s renewable portfolio requirement and energy efficiency programs would help comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Energy Law and Policy Clinic is such a valuable experience because students are able to participate in regular conference calls with a client to ask and answer questions and receive feedback on your work product, which is ultimately presented to the members of the client agency.

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in energy and environmental law? What things might you have done differently?
A: My advice would be to always look one step ahead in your career and make your decisions with an end goal in mind. I would recommend students look at job boards or postings to get a feel for the job market and what is required of job candidates when determining where to go to school, what to study, and where to work during law school.

Q: What activities do you participate in at USD School of Law?
A: We have a large variety of organizations and activities to participate in at USD Law. I participate as a member of the: Golf Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus, Phi Delta Phi, the Real Estate and Land Use Society, and wrote the fantasy football column for the USD Law School Motions Newspaper. I was the president of the Environmental Law Society 2014-2015 and serve as Director of Communications for the 2015-2016 year. I am an associate on the Journal of Climate and Energy Law (JCEL) and participate in the annual Climate and Energy Law Symposium.

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

A: My greatest accomplishment at USD Law was receiving two CALI Awards for Excellence for achieving the highest grade in California Water Law and Climate Change Law and Policy. My greatest experience at USD Law was the knowledge and practical experience gained working for the EPIC Energy Law and Policy Clinic. It allowed us to tackle a real world problem and travel to Sacramento to present our findings to members of the CEC, California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator, and California Air Resources Board, who questioned us as experts and used our work product to educate themselves on a specific topic and potentially influence energy policy decisions made in the state Capitol.

katrina wraight

Legal interests: Energy law, environmental law, environmental justice, climate change law and policy, environmental litigation, civil litigation

Bachelor's degree: B.A. Political Science and Environmental Studies from University of Nevada, Reno, Honors Program

Hometown: Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom

Dream job: Lake Tahoe’s Lawyer