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Rob Lees '10

A Fresh Perspective on Environmental Law

For Rob Lees, being the prototypical “lawyerly type” was never a real concern, he explains in his usual soft-spoken manner. “Naturally, I’m more of a quiet person and not so combative,” he admits with a smile. But that hasn’t stopped Rob from pursuing his environmental studies major with a policy concentration.

Recalling his first visit on campus, Rob says that GMC made him feel immediately comfortable. “I talked with a lot of the professors—it was very much what I was looking for. All of them seemed very down to earth, as opposed to other schools I had toured where orientation was held in a giant lecture hall with 300 people.”

Since becoming a part of the GMC community, Rob has been an outstanding member of the pre-law program and plans on taking a stab at the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) in October.

He has excelled—not only on-campus—but overseas as well. He recently returned from Japan, where he represented GMC in the exchange program at Nagoya University School of Law.

“It tied in very well to my education here,” Rob says. Unlike the small-school, small-town environment he got used to over the past three years, studying in Japan made it possible “to get environmental studies classes and law classes at a much larger university in Japan’s fourth largest city.”

“I’m not much of a city person, so that was kind of difficult for me,” Rob says.

Rob took a variety of classes, ranging from the basic environmental studies course, international law, low-carbon city studies, and Japanese language. Rob notes that while GMC gave him the theoretical knowledge needed to address environmental issues around the world, studying in Japan placed him within a city landscape where issues such as law-carbon studies had an immediate application.

Rob’s trip overseas also acquainted him with the social nuances of Japanese culture. He noted that things such as speaking loudly and eating on the go were a few American norms that stuck out on the streets of urban Japan.

“Everything in Japan is very uniform. For example, every train station in the country is exactly the same. Once you learn the layout, it’s fairly easy to travel. They have a great transportation system.”

After applying for and receiving The JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) scholarship—which provides a stipend to international students for travel—Rob was able to see more than the urban surroundings of Nagasaki. During Golden Week, a national holiday, he went to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, and Hokkaido. He also found the time to climb Mount Fuji.

Building on his experiences from Japan and here at college, Rob plans to attend Vermont Law School. GMC undergrads who meet the requirements of the articulation agreement between GMC and VLS are guaranteed admission. Rob believes it to be one of the best schools in the nation for environmental law.

“And it would be nice to stay in Vermont too because I really like it,” says Rob. “That would be a plus.”

By Chad Skiles ‘12
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