Four panelists joined in for the virtual discussion: Joshua Ginsberg (JD 2011), director of the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa; Talia Gordner (JD 2011), partner at McMillan LLP; Aadil Nathani (JD 2020), articling student with the City of Windsor and co-founder and treasurer of Green Ummah; and Tasha Stansbury (JD 2020), LLM candidate at the University of Ottawa.
The 80-mimute panel discussion moderated by CCAF students was aimed to highlight the experiences of these panelists in their respective fields involving climate work. However, the purpose of the event was also to demonstrate how a legal education can be leveraged in pursuing careers in climate action. Topics included a discussion on how each panelist became involved in climate-related work and which legal skills developed in law school were most helpful along their career trajectory thus far.
Supporting capacity building at the community level – and particularly amongst youth – is one of the core mandates of the CCAF. Aadil Nathani, a CCAF alumnus, discussed his involvement with co-founding Green Ummah, a national non-profit organization aiming to provide simple, practical solutions for Canadian-Muslims in becoming more environmentally friendly.
Speaking about the place of private corporations in climate action, environmental regulation, and greenhouse gas emissions, Talia Gordner brought a corporate and commercial perspective to the discussion as she regularly advises clients on environmental law compliance and assists with regulatory disputes.
In response to highlighting an area related to climate change that is not receiving enough attention, Tasha Stansbury spoke about wanting to see greater movements in the intersections of social justice, environmental protection, and human rights. This alumna of both the CCAF and the TELP spoke about the protection of climate migrants under international and Canadian legal frameworks and issued an important reminder of ensuring the voice of Indigenous peoples are heard in the fight against climate change.
Climate litigation is a rather new area of law and was still largely unheard of over a decade ago. Joshua Ginsberg’s seasoned advocacy experience has been important in expanding this area, and his experience has included acting as Counsel for the David Suzuki Foundation in 2019 to the Ontario Court of Appeal on the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act reference.
Legal challenges on climate issues have only started to take centre-stage in recent years, and it appears that there is much to do but with few early-career work opportunities currently available that explicitly coalesce a legal education and climate action. The panelists agreed that students seeking to advance a career in this area right out of law school will likely need to carve this path out for themselves in this young, but growing, field.
The complete recording of the panel is now available for viewing.
Klaudia Grabkowska and Valerie Tan are Windsor Law JD students and members of the Windsor Law Cities and Climate Action Forum (CCAF) policy clinic.