HOPE Fellow Jason Clark Turns Passion for Protecting the Environment into Hands-On Advocacy

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Jason Clark

Jason Clark,3L

Growing up in Broward County as the son of two environmental scientists, 3L and HOPE Fellow Jason Clark always had a passion for the environment, whether fishing in South Florida’s waters or hiking in the mountains on family vacations. He also perceived its vulnerability, as climate change made sea level rise in his own backyard, and he worried that people were willfully turning a blind eye to this difficult reality.

“I love this world and I want it to be protected, so if someone else is not going to do it, it might as well be me,” he said. “The fact that Miami in 40 years might not be here is depressing, and I think people don’t want to take it on because it’s so depressing, but it’s going to happen.”

Clark studied environmental science at the University of Florida, but while in college, he decided that he could effect more powerful change if he pursued environmental law and policy. With this conviction, he applied for law school at Miami Law —where he began in the fall of 2018. He chose Miami Law both because he wanted to return home, and because he thought highly of the school.

In law school, Clark became involved in Miami Law’s public interest community, where he began feeling the support of others who were also dedicated to using law to improve society. He spent his 1L summer as an intern with the National Parks Conservation Association and also served as a judicial intern.

“I walked into law school thinking I never wanted to work in a court room, that I would want to be counsel for a company or something else,” he recalled. “But the first day I walked in for a judicial internship I loved it and knew I wanted to be in the court room.”

Clark's realization led him to intern during his 2L summer as a HOPE Fellow with the US Environmental Protection Agency, in the Criminal Division, where he assisted in the prosecution of environmental crimes violating the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. During his fellowship, he assisted in the prosecution of laboratories for falsifying their documents, tampering their test results, and committing other violations that deeply harm the environment.

After graduation, Clark aspires to work as an environmental prosecutor, fighting for environmental justice one case at a time.

“It’s very easy to be willfully ignorant about other people’s needs, and diving into public interest and being surrounded by it shows how big a cornerstone it is,” he said. “Lawyers are here to protect the people.”

Read more about the HOPE Fellowship Program

Read more about Miami Law's environmental law program