Environmental Law Program

ELP Alumnus Ryan McDermott Joins the United States Department of Labor

ELP sends a warm congratulations to Ryan McDermott ’19, who recently accepted a new job as claims officer at the United States Department of Labor, in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After graduating from WSRSL with an environmental law certificate, McDermott worked at the
Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) through ELP’s legal fellows program, with financial support
from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) via the Hawaii Coral Reef
Initiative (“HCRI”).

“It’s a great opportunity to get started in a government agency, you get pretty significant responsibilities right off the bat and you get to work with the state attorney general’s [office] and local prosecutors,” McDermott said about the legal fellows program, which allowed him to gain experience in administrative enforcement actions.

At WSRSL, McDermott completed externships with Judge Jeffrey P. Crabtree at the Environmental Court as well as Judge Edward H. Kubo, Jr. at the Veterans Treatment Court. He also spent a summer as an Advocate for Public Interest Law Scholar with the World Commission on Environment Law and was an oralist on the Intellectual Property Moot Court team.

One of McDermott’s “biggest highlights” with ELP was attending the United Nations’ Framework
Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Katowice, Poland, where he joined
over ten thousand representatives from around the world to create a rulebook for countries addressing the climate crisis.

Although he is admittedly going to miss Hawaiʻi—his home for over a decade—McDermott is grateful for the people at ELP who helped kick start his legal career and is excited to return to the east coast to “learn new skills” in his another kind of administrative role.

“We wish Ryan well in all of his future endeavors,” said ELP Director David M. Forman ’93, who further expressed his thanks to NOAA and HCRI for their continued support, before adding that we are looking forward to giving another legal fellow the exciting opportunity to build upon the excellent work done by Ryan and his predecessors as the DAR Legal Fellow.”

JU 2/26/21

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