From left: Southern California Law Review Editor-in-chief Mindy Vo (JD 2022), Managing Editor Samuel Clark-Clough (JD 2022) and Executive Articles Editor Brooke Kopel (JD 2022) organized the award-winning symposium around the work of the late Gould Professor Christopher D. Stone.
A timely symposium organized by the Southern California Law Review, Vol. 95 around the work of the late environmental scholar and USC Gould School of Law Professor Christopher D. Stone was honored as Law Student Program of the Year by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.
“It takes hard work to pull together a series of speakers and organize their talks so that they flow seamlessly, while still dealing with the pandemic’s demands for personal safety and accommodation of two speakers online,” says Professor Robin Craig, who presented at the event and helped bring in environmental law panelists from other institutions. “The students did a masterful job of making it all work to produce a day of talks and series of papers that are both of great and enduring value. That’s why they so richly deserved the ABA SEER award.”
Discussions for the April 1 event, featuring five panelists from law schools including Georgetown, Harvard and Arizona State University, began in June 2021. Because the two previous SCLR executive boards hadn’t hosted a symposium due to the pandemic, the 2022 team didn’t have precedents to rely on, but their chemistry as a team helped make up for that.
“We lacked some institutional knowledge about how to organize and plan the event, but we worked very well as a team to overcome the challenge and we received wonderful guidance,” says Samuel Clark-Clough (JD 2022), managing editor.
“Like listening to a live conversation”
Editor-in-chief Mindy Vo (JD 2022), Executive Articles Editor Brooke Kopel (JD 2022) and Clark-Clough were advised by Craig, as well as Professor Bob Rasmussen and Dean Andrew Guzman, who suggested hosting the symposium in honor of Stone, an influential environmental scholar whose seminal article, “Should Trees Have Standing? – Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects” was published in SCLR in 1972. Faculty advisors Professor Rebecca Brown and Professor Scott Altman also offered their counsel. The panel presentations will be published in Vol. 95.
Watching the symposium was an enlightening experience for the student organizers. “It was like listening to a live conversation, which doesn’t occur organically by just reading articles,” says Vo. “It was a great learning experience to see professors and colleagues raise questions that may not have clear answers.”
With Stone’s family in attendance, as well as environmental scholars inspired by Stone’s work, the symposium’s significance surpassed its intellectual value, says Kopel. “It was a sweet feeling for me to know that Professor Stone would have been happy to see these academics come together to honor his life’s work. It was sentimental, but at the same time, we were presenting prevalent, pressing issues facing environmental law.”