Alumni - Government

Picture of Environmental Law Alum John Cardin

Alumni Profile: Jon Cardin

Jon S. Cardin (’01) is currently serving his second term representing the 11th District of Northwest Baltimore County in the Maryland House of Delegates. Del. Cardin supports legislation designed to achieve quality education, public safety, environmental protection, economic development, and health care.

Del. Cardin has worked to revitalize the Chesapeake Bay, including support of legislation that requires counties to institute a fees schedule for impervious surface development to help mitigate storm water run-off into the Bay. Jon strives to “work on a regional level to bring the states within the Chesapeake watershed to an understanding of its vital importance and critical status.” During recent legislative sessions, Del. Cardin defended Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic when its funding was threatened due to a recent lawsuit the Clinic filed against a large Maryland business. Del. Cardin was also a lead sponsor on legislation prohibiting Baltimore County from opting out of the state’s gray water regulations. Please see what Del. Cardin is currently doing for Maryland at

Del. Cardin believes the University of Maryland School of Law “provides a well-rounded education with assured success for its students.” The law school is unique because it “is at the epicenter of so many issues and opportunities” and provides “environmental expertise, health policy focus, proximity to DC, and fantastic faculty and adjuncts” for its students.

Picture of Environmental Law Alum Lori Schectel

Alumni Profile: Lori Schectel

Lori has been working for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) for the past seven years, first as an Environmental Regulatory Specialist and currently as the Environmental Compliance Planner for the Natural Resources Division of the Water Enterprise. As an SFPUC Environmental Regulatory Specialist, Lori has worked on numerous development-related environmental issues including managing a watershed restoration project, coordinating SFPUC regulatory compliance efforts, and assisting in the development of a habitat conservation plan under the Endangered Species Act.

Lori’s division manages approximately 60,000 acres of watershed lands owned by the City and County of San Francisco (the Peninsula Watershed and Alameda Watershed) as well as over 200 miles of rights-of-way lands containing major water transmission lines from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Lori’s conservation efforts include the Peninsula Watershed, a state fish and game refuge with the highest concentration of rare, threatened, and endangered species in the San Francisco Bay area. She is currently developing a new compliance scheme for operation and maintenance activities on the watersheds and rights-of-way lands to ensure compliance with a host of state and federal regulations. In this capacity, Lori handles permitting issues with the California Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will help assume monitoring and reporting responsibilities under Mitigation & Monitoring Plans for a Habitat Reserve Program to compensate for impacts from the SFPUC’s $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Project. 

How did Lori make the leap from the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area to San Francisco? During law school she worked at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, took a variety of environmental law courses, and participated in the Environmental Law Clinic. Lori found that these experiences were “instrumental in affirming my decision to pursue a career in the environmental regulatory field and provided me with valuable tools to help me hit the ground running immediately following law school.” After graduation, Lori went to work at the EPA’s Office of Administrative Law Judges as an attorney adviser for one and a half years. She then moved to private practice at Bracewell & Giuliani in Washington D.C. where she counseled clients on a wide variety of environmental matters for another two and a half years.

While Lori found the University of Maryland School of Law and the Environmental Law Program to be “fantastic” and enjoyed her time here, her choice to move out to San Francisco was the best move she made: “while I appreciated being in the center of the regulatory world in the D.C. area, I wanted to make an impact at the local level and the San Francisco Bay Area offers a lot of opportunities to that end, along with a mild climate and an abundance of cultural offerings and outdoor activities.”

picture of environmental law alum erica zilioli

Alumni Profile: Erica Zilioli

Erica Zilioli (’06) is a Trial Attorney with the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.  As a member of the Environmental Defense Section, she defends the United States in litigation arising under federal environmental statutes.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Erica was an Associate at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in Washington, D.C. Erica represented clients in litigation and arbitrations arising under a variety of environmental laws. She also counseled clients on a variety of issues relating to product regulation, such as compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and similar laws worldwide, as well as regulatory developments in the expanding area of product safety. “It is extremely rewarding to be able to help clients comply with environmental laws and to know that the clients listen to and heed my advice.”  

Erica believes her experience clerking for the Honorable Richard D. Bennett of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after law school prepared her to be a better litigator.

“The most important skill I learned in law school was to think critically, but the most important advice I got was that the key to being a good environmental lawyer is to first and foremost be an outstanding lawyer.” Erica believes that Maryland’s Environmental Law Program’s “strong curriculum,” proximity to Washington D.C. (“the environmental law center of the country”), and commitment “to helping students find internships and jobs both during and after law school” provide students a wealth of opportunity.

Erica advises students “to get involved in as many projects and activities outside the classroom as possible … grades are very important, but so are experiences interning, representing clients through clinic, and simply getting involved in the legal community.”

Alumni Profile: Kristin Buterbaugh

picture of environmental law alum kristin buterbaugh

Kristin Buterbaugh ('15) recently accepted an attorney advisor position with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Compliance Assurance, Water Enforcement Division. When Buterbaugh entered law school, she had one goal: to work for the EPA. After three years of hard work and singular focus, she made the goal a reality.

“The attorneys at EPA were most interested in the work I did outside the classroom and I, fortunately, had a lot of different experiences which included developing my professional reputation at EPA,” noted Buterbaugh.

Those out-of-class experiences included working for the American Wind Energy Association, the EPA in its Criminal Enforcement Division and Air Enforcement Division, and the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy, as well as competing in the Pace National Environmental Moot Court Competition.