Growing in the field: Third-year law student Vanessa Moore to join Environment and Natural Resources Division at DOJ

Vanessa Moore. Photo by Brian Vandervliet.

Vanessa Moore, May 2018 Valedictorian. Photo by Brian Vandervliet.

By Bianca Lopez

Vanessa Moore, a third-year student at Stetson Law, plans to launch her legal career after graduating in May in Washington, D.C., where she will join the Attorney General’s Honors Program, working in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Moore was named Valedictorian of the May 2018 class.

“That’s what I came here to do, to pursue environmental law,” said Moore, a student in Stetson’s environmental law concentration program. “I thought it was such an important area.”

Moore said she hasn’t always been interested in environmental issues or conservation. Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, she said she took having a clean environment for granted, and did not start to question her attitudes until her freshman year of college when her roommate chastised her for throwing recyclable items into the trash in their dorm room.

Moore’s interest in environmental work began to flourish after college. While working in corporate communications and marketing at Raymond James, Moore immersed herself in books, news articles, and documentaries covering ecological concerns and realized the importance of environmental conservation.

“We need smart people working on these issues and I would like to be one of them,” Moore said.

Seven years after graduating from college, Moore decided that it was time to go back to school, and headed to law school at Stetson.

“I wanted a new challenge from a professional standpoint, and to work on issues that are meaningful and important,” Moore said. “I’ve loved learning new things on a daily basis since I’ve been in law school. That was one of the things that drove me to a new career path, because I felt there were so many more opportunities for me to learn and grow.”

During her time at Stetson Law, Moore has served on Stetson’s national environmental law moot court competition team, as the vice president for the Environmental Law Society, as an articles and symposia editor on the Stetson Law Review, as a teaching assistant for three research and writing courses, and as a fellow with the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy.

Moore has also done externships with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa; Judge Bucklew, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida; and the Center for Biological Diversity. She also completed a clinic with the St. Petersburg City Attorney’s Office and a summer internship with a private law firm.

“I got a really great experience here with the clinical education department,” Moore said. “Those were some of my favorite experiences during law school because I got to see so many different forms of practice.”

Moore said graduating from Stetson will be bittersweet.

“I am looking forward to moving ahead and starting to practice, since that’s obviously what I came here to do,” said Moore. “However, I’m also really going to miss law school. I’ll miss the campus, the students and the professors at Stetson. Everyone here is so nice. It’ll be sad but also exciting.”