Legal Fellows

A core part of our mission at Crag is training the next generation of environmental advocates. Now, more than ever, there are smart and passionate, young people who seek the opportunity to be agents for change. Through our Legal Fellow Progam, we provide on-the ground legal experience in public interest environmental law to new attorneys, and provide livable wages and benefits to ensure they have the personal resources needed to start their careers. We focus on developing the leadership of individuals from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate a passion for justice and a desire to pursue a career in public interest environmental work. By investing in a diverse team, we bring creative and innovative solutions to our clients and the environmental movement as a whole.

Teryn Yazdani
Teryn Yazdani: Legal Fellow 2020 - 2022

Teryn Yazdani joined Crag as a Legal Fellow in September 2020. In February 2020, Teryn was named one of Lewis & Clark Law School’s first Diehl Environmental Law Fellows; this fellowship was awarded to only four law students who sought specifically to pursue careers in public interest environmental law work.

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Teryn earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans. During her time at Lewis & Clark Law School, Teryn gained experience as a student volunteer and project coordinator with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center and as a student clinician with Earthrise Law Center. In addition to working at Crag as Summer Associate after her second year of law school, she also stayed on to work at Crag as a Legal Extern during the fall semester of her final year.

Teryn graduated from Lewis & Clark with a J.D. and a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resource Law. She now joins the Crag Law Center team as a Legal Fellow.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to come back to Crag as their legal fellow and have the chance to work alongside such a talented group of passionate environmental lawyers. I had always hoped that, upon graduating law school, I would be able to use my degree to advocate for the future of the environment—there is no better place than Crag to learn how to do just that! I’m so proud to be a part of a legal team that not only succeeds in showing up for the environment but also for the community.”


Anu Sawkar: Coastal Law Project Fellow 2019 - Present

Anu Sawkar joined our team as the Coastal Law Project Fellow in January 2019. Anu volunteered with Crag in 2009 prior to earning her J.D. at Cornell Law School and returned to intern with Crag’s Development office in 2017 before joining our staff as a legal fellow. As the Coastal Law Project fellow, Anu works with Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and coastal residents to preserve public access to our beaches and protect our coastal ecosystems. One of the biggest issues she currently works on is helping coastal communities challenge the proposed Jordan Cove LNG facility in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Ka’sha Bernard: Legal Fellow 2018 - 2020

Ka’sha Bernard joined the team as our Legal Fellow in the fall of 2018. As a former Summer Associate (2017), Ka’sha applied for and was awarded a fellowship from Notre Dame Law School to work at Crag for two years following her graduation from law school. During her time at Crag, Ka’sha helped us stand with communities, fighting on issues ranging from freeway expansion to fossil fuel pipeline development. She worked with all of our staff attorneys to gain experience across a variety of legal issues including environmental justice, wetlands protection, and climate policy.

"I'm super grateful to have kicked off my career at Crag. I was fortunate to work on an abundance of issues and projects that I enjoyed and learned from right out of law school. I grew a lot as a person and as a member of the legal community. I enjoyed working with a team of smart, passionate, hard-working people willing to push me and help me come into my own in this work."

What made the experience the most valuable were the many opportunities to work on different projects and assignments in various capacities.

"I got to do everything from tabling at events and ordering food for volunteers, to guest lecturing at the law school, to writing briefs and presenting at oral argument."

Ka’sha now works as a Staff Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington, D.C. where she works with frontline communities on the Gulf Coast and Appalachia who are fighting fossil fuel development of plastic infrastructure.

Scott Hilgenberg: Land Use Fellow 2017

We hired Scott Hilgenberg in March 2017 as Crag’s Land Use Fellow. A former Crag Summer Associate (2011), Scott earned his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School. Scott came to Crag a with a strong background in land use law, having worked as a Staff Attorney for Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals for over two years prior to joining Crag.

Scott worked with Crag Law Center staff to expand our capacity to address the wide variety of land use issues throughout Oregon, with a particular focus on the rural parts of our state. During his time at Crag, Scott collaborated with the 1000 Friends of Oregon “circuit rider” to re-invigorate and support the work of local community groups in our three initial focus regions – Columbia River and coastal port communities, southern Oregon’s Rogue and Illinois river valleys, and central/eastern Oregon. As part of this work, Scott met with non-profit leaders throughout Oregon in an effort to better understand the challenges faced by rural and minority communities. He organized workshops with communities across Oregon to educate local leaders and community members about meaningful engagement with local governments to ensure that community land use interests are protected. During his fellowship, Scott also represented clients in opposing the rezoning of agricultural land and defending the City of Portland’s landmark fossil fuel ordinance that limits bulk fuel storage in the city.

Scott now works as the Rural Lands Legislative Attorney for 1000 Friends of Oregon. Scott is part of the Rural Lands team, and focuses on guiding development of land use legislative and rulemaking agendas on issues of farm, forest, and natural resources. He advocates for progressive land use policies, defends against threats to rural land protections, and engages in strategic litigation in support of 1000 Friends’ policy goals. Scott works with local activists and affiliates by providing technical assistance on local and state-wide land use issues.

 

Emma Bruden: Legal Fellow 2016 - 2017

Emma Bruden joined Crag staff as a Legal Fellow soon after earning her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School. As a Legal Fellow, Emma gained experience across several areas of federal and state environmental law.

“There are so many great things to say about my time at Crag!  One of the most valuable aspects of my fellowship was the development of my litigation skills under the guidance and mentoring of Crag’s expert environmental litigators. I draw upon my training from Crag nearly every day to help me work as a public interest environmental litigator.”

During her time at Crag, Emma focused on forest and public lands law and on air toxics law and policy. She participated in the pre-litigation process, submitting objections and Freedom of Information Act requests to an administrative agency related to an off-highway vehicle trail project. Working on the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Case, Emma prepared and filed a complaint regarding management of national wildlife refuges. She prepared and filed a “motion to intervene” in the related agri-business lawsuit. Doing this secured her first legal victory as the court granted the motion allowing our clients to assert their conservation interests in the agri-business suit. 

In addition to her forest and public lands cases, Emma advised clients who are involved in the State of Oregon’s creation of new regulations for industrial air toxics. Her work included protecting natural resources in forests and public lands utilizing a wide array of federal laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act and Freedom of Information Act. 

Emma also took an active role in Crag’s communications and fundraising work. As part of this organizational work, she developed social media campaigns to highlight Crag’s program work, wrote content for Crag’s newsletters, assisted with grant proposals and served on the planning team for Crag’s annual gala fundraiser.

In 2018, Emma joined Kampmeier & Knutsen as an associate attorney where she provides expert legal representation to organizations and individuals seeking to protect the environment. Forest law has become Emma’s passion, and she loves working to protect our nation’s critters and their habitats!

Maura Fahey: Legal Fellow 2013

In 2013 Maura became a Legal Fellow performing diverse work ranging from sewage treatment violations leading to poor water quality in Molalla, farmland protection in Port Westward and the Mountain View Paving asphalt plant cases. Maura also worked in several other Clean Water Act enforcement cases, Environmental Species Act listing cases and a variety of land use matters. 

“I couldn’t think of a better way to have started out my legal career than as a fellow at Crag. Working with Crag’s attorneys and clients provided me with exposure to a variety of environmental issues and confirmed for me that this is my dream job!” 

Maura was hired on as a Staff Attorney to continue working on land use challenges in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, federal administrative law, as well as Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act enforcement. 

Oliver Stiefel: Legal Fellow 2013

Oliver became a Legal Fellow for Crag in 2013 and supported Crag attorneys.

“In my legal fellowship I was thrown into the deep end to help straight away on Crag’s busy docket, but was always guided by Ralph and Chris’ steady mentorship. This experience confirmed that public interest environmental law was the career path I wanted to pursue and that Crag was exactly the group that I wanted to work for.”

In 2014, Crag received a grant from the McIntosh Foundation that provided funding for work in the Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. This funding allowed Crag to hire Oliver on as an Associate Attorney! Oliver’s projects also includes Southeast Alaska forestry and fisheries conservation, representing clients concerned with the impacts of old-growth timber harvest in one of the world’s most critical temperate rainforests. He also works on Oregon cases, protecting Mt. Hood’s fragile alpine environment and watershed resources, and other cases involving NEPA, forest management, endangered species, and clean water.