Lang, Richert & Patch is proud to announce Sam R. Welch as the winner of the 2012 Frank H. Lang Merit Scholarship. Awarded annually and based solely on merit, the Scholarship is a grant of $1,000.00 towards payment of law school tuition.
Mr. Welch is a second year law student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He grew up in a small town at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where his mother still teaches kindergarten at a local public school and his father manages a non-profit whitewater rafting company. Both his interest in environmental law and his passion for the outdoors stem from his childhood, which he spent mostly getting lost at the bottom of Tuolumne County’s many river canyons.
In 2006, Sam found his way to Dartmouth College, where he graduated cum laude with dual degrees in Environmental Studies and Government in 2010. While an undergraduate, Sam helped start the Sustainable Living Center, a dormitory and laboratory that seeks to teach students about both traditional low-impact living techniques and the new technologies being developed to complement them. His senior thesis, entitled “Standing on Thin Ice,” explored the topic of Article III standing in climate change public nuisance litigation and was awarded the Downey Family Prize.
After graduating from college, Sam embarked on a 6,000 mile bicycle odyssey across the continent of South America. Over the course of 125 days, Sam encountered penguins, flamingoes, scorpions, monkeys, and an endless wall of motionless cattle. Repeatedly, he was rescued by the unfailing kindness of the South American people. The trip, however, was not just a personal adventure. By traveling with his hometown best friend across South America, Sam helped raise more than $10,000 towards the construction of a new exercise track at Sonora High School, his alma mater.
In the fall of 2011, Sam enrolled at UC Berkeley, School of Law. Sam immediately joined Students for Environmental and Economic Justice. Sam also joined the Neighborhood Justice Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center, and will be running their Homeless Outreach program during the 2012-2013 school year. Sam will also serve as the Books and Research Editor for Ecology Law Quarterly, Berkeley’s Environmental Law Journal. Sam recently published an article therein entitled “The Sacred Bear: Imminence, Climate Change, and the Endangered Species Act” (2011) which analyzed the effect of the Forest Service’s recent decision to list the Polar Bear as a “threatened” species rather than an “endangered” one.
Sam has spent his first summer as a law student working as a Legal Intern at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment in San Francisco, the same non-profit that is currently litigating the case that formed the subject of his senior thesis. He hopes to continue his work with climate change and environmental justice, and is eternally humbled and thankful for his selection as the 2012 Frank H. Lang Merit Scholarship winner.