Alaska’s outsized impact

Former intern reflects on path to Portland law firm

May 15, 2017

 

Jordan Schoonover interned with Trustees for Alaska in the summer of 2012 and continues to support Trustees as a donor. She now practices energy and environmental law in Portland. In this blog, she talks about her time in Alaska and the way it continues to impact her life. 

Jordan on the Matanuska Glacier

Trustees internship a perfect opportunity

I came to Trustees the summer after my first year of law school.  Previously, I had spent a field season in Alaska working with the Bureau of Land Management to collect native plant seeds.  As part of that job, I traveled almost everywhere in Alaska you can reach by road. I also spent a week working out of Nome.

Seeing so much of the state was an incredible experience.  I was in awe of the wild landscapes, the flora and fauna, and the culture.  As soon as I left, I started looking for a way to return. After I entered law school, a summer internship at Trustees presented the perfect opportunity.

My internship at Trustees was my first legal job, and I learned a great deal from working with the talented attorneys.  In addition to improving my legal skills, they taught me that it is possible to take your work very seriously without taking yourself too seriously—and that a healthy work-life balance is possible.  My fellow interns (one of whom is current staff attorney Michelle Sinnott) and I took full advantage of the outdoor activities Alaska has to offer and had many memorable adventures that summer.

Hiking is one of Jordan’s favorite ways of getting outside.

Lawyering in Portland

After my summer at Trustees, I returned to law school in Portland, OR and later made my way to an internship in Washington, DC, and to judicial clerkships in Richland, WA and Nashville, TN.  Last year, I moved back to Portland and settled into a permanent position at a small law firm where I practice energy and environmental law.

My work is diverse, interesting, and challenging, and I am grateful to be working in a comfortable, close-knit work environment.  My husband, Jay, and I keep busy skiing, hiking, climbing, scuba diving, gardening, and spending time with family.

Michelle (now a Trustees attorney), Della (Trustees helper dog), and Jordan (now an attorney in Oregon).

There’s no place like Alaska

In the past 10 years, I’ve lived in seven states and one foreign country, but nowhere has lodged in my soul like Alaska.  The time I spent there, although relatively brief, was formative.  It’s fair to say that Alaska has had an outsized impact on the type of lawyer, conservationist, photographer, and outdoor adventurer I am today, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite places in Alaska with my family in the future.

My love for the state and my gratitude to and respect for Trustees attorneys and the work they do have led me to keep in touch and to support the work of Trustees.  Sadly, I have not been back to Alaska since my internship in 2012, but we already are planning a trip for next summer.  Who knows–once we get up there, we may never leave!

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