The Columns

The DC Program: Andrea Marshall ’17L Gets “The Talk” 3L Andrea Marshall interned with the EPA while participating in W&L Law’s Program in DC, a one-semester, residential program that gives W&L students practice experience in the nation’s capital.

— by on December 16th, 2016

Andrea Marshall '17LAndrea Marshall ’17L

Andrea Marshall is currently a third year law student originally from the New York City area. At the law school she is a Law Ambassador, a Managing Online Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, and a Senior Articles Editor for the German Law Journal. Andrea is interested in environmental and international law and will be working for the Sierra Club as a Legal Fellow in Washington, D.C. after graduation.

On my third day of work I received the “FIFRA 101” talk. Let me explain. I am currently working as a Law Clerk at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). To further confuse you, I work within the Office of Civil Enforcement (OCE) in the Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division (WCED) specifically working in the Pesticides and Tanks Enforcement Branch (PTEB). Yes, I have a list of acronyms written on a sheet of paper I keep on a wall next to my desk.

I am a 3L in W&L Law’s D.C. Externship Program. As a prospective student way back in 2014, I found myself captivated by the idea that I would get real life work experience in my third year of law school. It factored into my decision to attend W&L Law. When spring semester of 2L year arrived, I knew there was nothing I would rather do than apply to the D.C. program and take advantage of the endless opportunities D.C. affords fledgling law students. Though it was hard to leave Lexington and the incredible community I have at W&L, I am thoroughly enjoying big city life and my work experience here this semester.

Which brings me back to FIFRA 101. FIFRA is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act,  enacted with the goal of regulating and controlling pesticides and pesticide products in the U.S to protect human health and the environment. As I’ve learned during my weeks here, there are a lot of things that qualify as pesticides and many ways those pesticides can hurt you.

When I arrived on my first day, I had all the first day nerves, excitement, and disorientation. Would I be prepared? Would I get interesting assignments? What would my supervisors think of my work? Compounding my nervousness was the fact that I was computer-less for about two weeks due to government bureaucracy. However, on my third day of work, an attorney cared enough to take two hours out of his day to give me the FIFRA 101 talk. Not only did he walk me through the entire history of the Act, he pointed out specific sections for me to focus on, he notated and highlighted important points in the Act, and he threw in a bit about EPA structure and networking strategies to top it all off. It was a tremendous learning experience, one that is difficult to simulate in a classroom setting.

Thinking about graduating in May 2017 and leaving the comfort and security of Lexington is overwhelming and, at times, downright scary. But thanks to my experience at EPA through the D.C. Program, I’ve come to realize that people in the “real world” want to see you succeed. They are willing to help you and work with you, even in an agency as large as EPA and in a city as big as D.C. Though it took another week and a half for me to get a computer and get beyond FIFRA 101, I won’t forget the effort attorneys put in to make me feel welcome and situated here at EPA.

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