This is exactly the career I wanted—to be a part of an evolving group working on an issue I really believe in.”
Diana Dascalu-Joffe JD/MSEL'03, was fighting global warming before it was cool. Her work with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network began at the state level-the focus of most climate action during the dark days of federal-level denial-where she was the lead attorney in cases against Maryland's and Virginia's dirtiest coal-fired power plants. She now manages budgets for CCAN, consults in legal cases, and does legislative and policy work, all in the Capital's back yard.
"It's an exciting time for our issue, and to be in D.C.," she says. "We're pushing strong, science-based targets on climate, and we're finally seeing movement." Responding to climate change's increasing urgency, CCAN has grown from three staff members to twelve. "This is exactly the career I wanted-to be a part of an evolving group working on an issue I really believe in," she says.
Knowing she wanted a career in environmental law, Diana naturally gravitated toward VLS. "I did the research on law schools, I talked with people, and I knew I wanted the specialization of VLS's dual degree," she recalls. Six years of practice have confirmed her choice: "I don't think any other law school can prepare you for the real world of environmental law the way VLS can," she says. "The course work and the fieldwork give you a level of detail that's unsurpassed."
During her law school years, Diana took advantage of the Semester in Practice in Washington, D.C., and the Summer Session. In the former, she worked in Earthjustice's policy shop and lobbied on Capitol Hill. "It really readied me for how Hill work happens," she says. In the Summer Session, environmental law experts from around the world convene at VLS to teach small classes. Diana notes, "They helped me get my hands in and really learn how to navigate the clean air, clean water, and solid waste statutes that I frequently use in my work."
It's not all work for Diana, especially now that she and her husband, Brian Joffe JD/MSEL'03, have two young children. The couple have a lot of VLS friends and colleagues in Washington. "There's a huge alumni chapter here," she adds, "You feel at home and around people who share your same career goals."
Looking ahead, Diana feels the U.S. can finally lead in fighting climate change. Is the public ready? "Absolutely!" she says.