Turning a Passion into a Career

Meet Thomas Del Monte

Thomas Del Monte

Photo courtesy of Maria Vlahoulis, Rady School of Management

Legal interests: Energy law, climate law, land use, business related.
Bachelor's degree/Other degrees: MBA, B.A. Philosophy/Legal Studies double major.
Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
Current Job: CEO Interra Energy, Inc.

Q: When did you decide to pursue a law degree?
A: I decided I wanted to get a law degree fairly early on in my undergrad studies.

Q: Why did you choose USD School of Law?
A: In all honesty, it ended up being a bit of a coin toss between USD and another well respected law school. The deciding factor ended up being the San Diego weather and climate.

Q: When did you become interested in energy law?
A: I came to law school with a strong interest in green construction practices and similar industries. Once at USD, I studied as much as I could about the ins and outs renewable energy law, business, and project development. The school’s programs were an excellent fit for my intellectual and professional passions.

Q: What professional experience have you had since leaving law school?
A: The vast majority of my post-law school professional experience revolves around the founding and developing of my renewable energy company, Interra Energy.

Q: How did your experience at USD School of Law prepare you for your current job?
A: I was very proactive in law school in shaping my experience to maximize my exposure to energy law and start-up related business law. The law and policy training I received in classes and during research projects with the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC) gave me a deep understanding of the underpinnings of the energy industry, which has proven invaluable in my work with Interra Energy.

Q: What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in energy law? What things might you have done differently?
A: As it relates to energy law experience at USD School of Law and with EPIC, I would not change a thing. For prospective students interested in energy law, I would tell them to use my same strategy. Take every course you can that relates to the industry and find as many opportunities as possible to get involved in energy related clerkships, internships, etc. The wide breadth and depth of knowledge that can be gained at USD can truly set you apart in your career in energy law.

Q: What activities did you participate in at USD School of Law?
A: I was involved in research projects with EPIC, participated in the legal clinic offerings (Energy Law and Policy, and Land Use), served as president of the Environmental Law Society, and spearheaded the founding of the Journal of Climate & Energy Law.

Q: What is the best thing that happened to you during law school?

A: Other than making many dear friends, the best thing that happened to me was probably the faculty’s approval of the formation of the Journal of Climate & Energy Law.

Contact:

Energy Policy Initiatives Center
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 260-4589
Fax: (619) 260-4753