3L Ryan Schmit Seeks Challenge of Environmental Law
UC Law’s Ryan Schmit ‘10 has always been an environmental enthusiast and pursuit of a career in environmental law was only a “natural” progression. He was a political science major at Miami University, with a secondary focus in environmental sciences. In addition, Schmit took a semester off of classes to research state environmental sustainability efforts. The project, which was funded under a university research fellowship, involved a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail—from Maine to Georgia. Schmit received university and departmental honors for his efforts.
Following graduation, Schmit came to UC Law. “ I was attracted to UC Law because of its strong reputation, its low student-to-faculty ratio,” he said, “and a generous offer for the Michael Burke Memorial Scholarship.” While here, Schmit has taken advantage of environmental law courses with Professor Bradford Mank and Professor Ann Navaro (an adjunct), solidifying his interest in the field.
Law School Summer Are Time to Gain Experience
During his first summer in law school, Schmit worked in the litigation department of Lerner, Sampson, and Rothfuss in Cincinnati. He gained tremendous experience in research, writing, and motion practice. Said Schmit, “The experience helped me bring civil procedure into perspective and solidified my desire to become a litigator.” This past summer, he received a Public Interest Fellowship to work for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. in the Office of Enforcement. At the EPA, he was able to focus and work on the policy side of law, assisting in various legislative and rule-making processes. Schmit also had the opportunity to attend congressional hearings on an issue of particular importance to him: the cap and trade bill.
Schmit found the EPA workplace both interesting and collegial; not only was he surrounded by attorneys available for consultation on legal issues, but also PhDs of many disciplines able to clarify the various complexities of environmental issues. “Working for the federal government on issues with national or even global significance was extremely rewarding,” said Schmit.
Involved at UC Law
Currently, Schmit is the president of the Environmental Law Society and the Ohio state director for the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS). He is also a member of the Moot Court Honor Board, the director of the annual August A. Rendigs, Jr. National Products Liability Moot Court Competition, and a member of Student Ambassadors. This semester, Schmit continues to work part-time for Lerner, Sampson, & Rothfuss. He is also participating in an externship with Dinsmore & Shohl, working on pro bono and Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) cases. Schmit hopes to be able to get into the courtroom this year as well with a limited license to practice law.
Life After Graduation
Following graduation in the spring, Schmit’s immediate goal is to find a job, but preferably one that provides an opportunity to practice environmental litigation. “I’m encouraged by the fact that the environmental issues are coming to the forefront of public concern,” he commented, “and I hope that an increase in the number of related jobs will follow.”
Outside of law school, Schmit still finds time to have fun. He enjoys traveling to visit his family and friends whenever he has an opportunity. He also enjoys outdoor activities like backpacking, cycling, canoeing, and kayaking; he also fosters strong interests in music, acoustic guitar and trumpet.