Alexandra “Ally” Lizano (3L) spent her 1L summer as a law clerk for the United States Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). She was placed in the Natural Resources Section (NRS) field office in Sacramento, California. For Lizano, the placement worked out perfectly since she is originally from California and was able to learn from some of the best environmental lawyers currently representing the United States.
Lizano commented that she was extraordinarily lucky to be with ENRD as this internship allowed her to work with two incredible supervising attorneys, one of who was working on an original action in the United States Supreme Court. Both attorneys were great mentors and patient teachers. Although they each worked on very different cases, Lizano said that they both excelled at their different aspects of environmental law. Both attorneys made sure Lizano always had a project from each of them to practice jumping between different caseloads, facts, and causes of action. She added that she was able to see and experience almost every stage of litigation from the complaint and drafting an answer, to moot court practice, and post-trial brief editing.
Lizano was also able to have some fun experiences outside of work because of her geographical placement. She attended the Federal Bar Association event, “Leveling the Playing Field: Addressing Gender Bias,” where she was able to meet U.S. Marshals, government attorneys, and various private lawyers in Sacramento. There was also a farmers market on Capitol Mall every week in the summer where she went with another paralegal and fellow law clerk for some great food. Lizano also took advantage of every opportunity on the weekends to go home and see her family in the East Bay.
Building on her ENRD experience, the summer after her 2L year, Lizano accepted an associate position with the law firm Downy Brand, LLP. She spent most of the summer in the San Francisco office, which was exclusively dedicated to land use and natural resources work. However, she spent 1-2 days per week at the firm’s main office in Sacramento where their natural resources department focused on water rights and quality issues and traditional environmental law practice areas. Lizano said she loved every second of her time at Downey Brand. Not only were the clients and the work engaging, but also her supervising attorneys were smart, hard-working, and great people to be around, she explained.
The firm also hosted fun events for summer associates including golf and bowling tournaments, and invited the associates to Sacramento Kings Summer League games. The San Francisco office even took a field trip to the Exploratorium after work one day. As a result of her great experience, Lizano is excited and honored to go back to Downey Brand following graduation as a full-time associate in the firm’s natural resources department.