This summer, rising 2L Monika Darwish hopes to assist in mapping out a blueprint for California’s energy infrastructure during her summer internship at the Chief Counsel’s Office of the California Energy Commission (CEC).
Below, Monika answers some questions about her experience in law school, her impactful internship at the CEC this summer, and her plans for the future as a practicing attorney.
Where are you from?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a toddler, I had high hopes of metamorphosing into a dog. After those plans fell through, I wanted to become a spy. You can call me “M.”
Why did you go to law school?
While pursuing an environmental studies major at USC, I appreciated technology and the law as the two most solution-oriented approaches to climate change. In any emerging technology or sector, understanding the legal framework is critical to market expansion. I came to law school to equip myself with the skillset to clear the path for that progress.
Why did you decide to come to UC Hastings?
As an innovation hub, San Francisco is the perfect place to explore where I might have the greatest impact. UC Hastings takes full advantage of that proximity with an abundance of real-world opportunities and practiced professors. That combination is exactly what I imagined for my legal education.
What have been some of your highlights at UC Hastings?
The professors are exceptional. One example is Professor Radhika Rao, whose ability to passionately convey complex ideas motivated me to try out for the Moot Court Team. I am also very grateful to have had two classes with Professor David Takacs. His intellect, wit, and boundless vocabulary make him our very own Jon Stewart. He is an amazing mentor here at UC Hastings. Other highlights include great friends, Beer on the Beach, and scrumptious BLTA bagels from the law cafe.
What are you doing this summer?
I am a Legal Intern in the California Energy Commission Chief Counsel’s Office. The Energy Commission is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency. It is responsible for achieving energy efficiency goals, certifying thermal power plants, and drawing the blue print for California’s ever-changing energy and transportation infrastructure. The Chief Counsel’s office supports Commission staff in matters ranging from contract negotiations to quasi-adjudicatory power plant siting hearings.
How did you hear of and get to participate in this opportunity?
In pursing my 1L summer internship I set a few objectives. I wanted to explore different emerging technologies, understand how private actors interact with the executive branch to shape market forces, and better understand how in-house counsel advise their organizations. I knew the CEC Chief Counsel’s office would fulfill those goals, so I went for it! I was their first interviewee on PIPS day and the rest is history.
What’s the absolute best part of your summer gig?
If I had to parse out one theme, it would be active engagement in the nexuses between the law, technological innovation, and market forces. The Chief Counsel’s Office ensures interns work directly with attorneys on active client matters. That level of engagement and tangible application brings real dimension to the legal skills we develop in the process.
How are you working #ForJustice?
California continues to serve as a renegade leader in the face of climate change. While we cannot tackle every issue ourselves, California’s stature as a clean tech innovator and policy trailblazer is increasingly important and depends on the state’s continued leadership.
What are your plans for the fall semester?
It is shaping up to be a busy semester and I would not have it any other way. I will be “nerding out” in interesting classes, working hard as part of the Moot Court Intellectual Property team, and helping save the planet with my fellow Hastings Environmental Law Journal and Hastings Environmental Law Association board members.
What are your goals for after law school?
I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves and develop the skill sets that will support the rest of my legal career.
Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
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