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Summer Student Series 2020: Kanisha Acharya-Patel

Photo Credit: Victor Freitas Photo Credit: Victor Freitas

August 11, 2020

This summer, I had the opportunity to complete a 12-week internship with the East Coast Environmental Law Association, funded by the Schulich School of Law’s Academic Excellence Fund for Internships. I had the pleasure of working under the supervision of Lisa Mitchell, and my work this summer focused mostly on aquaculture regulation in Nova Scotia. My interest in environmental law and policy is what pushed me to apply to the Schulich School of Law and ultimately to reach out to East Coast Environmental Law for this summer internship opportunity. I value the work that this organization does, and I wanted to further my educational and professional development in the field of environmental law. 

During my internship, I had the opportunity to conduct legal research, draft public legal education materials, and explore regulatory and constitutional law as they relate to aquaculture management in Nova Scotia. Specifically, I drafted a public legal education document outlining the aquaculture licensing/leasing processes in Nova Scotia with emphasis on how members of the public can have their voices heard. I also drafted several briefing notes in response to specific inquiries regarding aquaculture strategies in various jurisdictions, gaps in Nova Scotia’s aquaculture strategy, and expert recommendations to improve Nova Scotia’s aquaculture regulatory framework. These experiences allowed me to improve my research and communication skills, specifically in regard to synthesizing and presenting research materials in a way that is useful and understandable to the public. As much of my work this summer was focused on aquaculture, I was able to take an in-depth look at Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act and corresponding regulations, to see how this legislation interacts with federal legislation, Canada's Constitution, and relevant court cases. This was very valuable for me, as I was able to practice engaging with statutes and regulations and identifying potential knowledge gaps and legal issues. Toward the end of my internship, I had the opportunity to work on endangered species issues, including helping to draft a letter to a provincial Minister following a successful judicial review. I am very grateful to have gained experience in this area, as I am very interested in getting involved with species at risk legislation, and I recognize the importance of legal advocacy as a vital skill in the field of environmental law.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience with East Coast Environmental Law, and I look forward to maintaining my relationship with the organization in the future. I had the pleasure of meeting new colleagues and working with very kind and supportive supervisors; the staff made working during a pandemic as stress-free as possible and were always available to offer support. As an aspiring environmental lawyer, I am very grateful to have had this experience, and I am confident that the skills I have learned and refined over the course of my internship will be valuable not only for my remaining years in law school but for the rest of my career. 

Kanisha Acharya Patel

Kanisha's work with us was funded by the Schulich Academic Excellence Fund for Internships: a summer internship program administered by the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.