Careers in Environmental Law: Alumni Panel and Networking Reception

Date: Oct 28, 2014
Timing: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Speakers : Jennifer Burke, John Watson, M. Hope Whitfield, Todd Rettig, Kristin Munsch
Venue : Morris Hall (10th Floor)

Join the Chicago-Kent Environmental Law Society on Tuesday, October 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. for its Fall Career Panel & Networking Reception. A panel of Chicago-Kent alumni will share their experiences and how they succeeded in practicing environmental law. A networking reception will begin at 7 p.m. following the panel discussion, where alumni can reconnect with old friends, network with colleagues in your practice area and lend your expertise to current students studying environmental law. Food and beverages will be served. Current students and alumni are welcome to attend!

RSVP by October 24th to

Panelist Biographies

Jennifer Burke – IPCB

Board Member Jennifer A. Burke was appointed to the Illinois Pollution Control Board by Governor Pat Quinn in 2011. Ms. Burke is a licensed attorney in Illinois since 1995. Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Burke served as Senior Counsel to the City of Chicago in the Department of Law. While at the City of Chicago, Ms. Burke focused on environmental matters including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ( RCRA) litigation, brownfield redevelopment, and compliance with air, waste, asbestos, and lead regulations. Ms. Burke previously was a partner in the law firm of Jenner & Block in Chicago representing clients in various environmental matters including environmental enforcement, toxic tort litigation, insurance coverage litigation, cost recovery litigation, and environmental due diligence in corporate transactions. In addition to serving on the Board, Ms. Burke is also an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School. Her law degree is from Chicago-Kent College of Law and her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

John Watson – Baker & McKenzie

John W. Watson chairs the Baker & McKenzie’s Environmental Practice Group. He has been consistently recognized as a leading practitioner in the field of environmental law by publications such as Chambers. Mr. Watson has been advising industrial enterprises on managing wide-ranging environmental risks and liabilities for over 25 years. Mr. Watson regularly defends industrial concerns in multimedia federal and state environmental enforcement actions and counsels clients on recurring compliance issues implicated by their domestic and international operations. He frequently speaks and writes on environmental legal and regulatory issues and developments affecting industrial business operations around the world. Mr. Watson’s practice focuses on representing industrial companies in all manner of environmental issues affecting their US and international operations. His work includes advising clients on the development of global environmental compliance and sustainability programs, the implementation of comprehensive environmental compliance auditing initiatives, and the advancement of strategies to manage, remediate and dispose of vast industrial real estate portfolios. His practice extends to the active resolution of environmental response and corrective action initiatives and the prosecution and defense of cost recovery and citizen suit claims.

M. Hope Whitfield – Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation

M. Hope Whitfield provides in-house legal counsel for the North American operations of one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufactures providing profitable wind energy solutions. Suzlon is credited with developing one of the world’s largest wind farms in the western Indian state of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Ms. Whitfield works to support all other business divisions, including Human Resources, Operations & Maintenance Services, Environmental Health & Safety, Accounting, Supply Chain, and Logistics, so that a sensible legal approach can be integrated into our operations in order to minimize exposures and maximize the productivity of the company.

Todd Rettig – IL Department of Natural Resources

Todd Rettig is the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Land Management. In addition to the administration, programming and operation of 322 State Parks and other sites, the Office of Land Management assesses injuries to natural resources, designs and implements ecological restoration projects, manages environmental permitting as well as addresses other environmental contaminant issues on IDNR property and other public and private property. Mr. Rettig has worked for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 2004 and in other capacities he was responsible for the implementation of the environmental consultation process (threatened and endangered species, wetlands, natural areas); real estate transactions and concession and leasing operations.

Mr. Rettig worked for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1991-2004 in their Division of Legal Counsel where he worked on statutory and regulatory development, CERCLA, RCRA, underground storage tank and state remediation program development, civil enforcement under federal and state law, permit appeals and other administrative hearings.

Kristin Munsch – Citizen’s Utility Board

Kristin Munsch is the Senior Attorney & Policy Director of the Citizen’s Utility Board. The Citizen’s Utility Board was created in 1984 by the Illinois General Assembly to represent the interests of residential utility customers across the state. Over the last 30 years, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning consumer refunds.

Ms. Munsch has appeared before the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding utility rate issues, demand resource planning and regulation, electricity supply procurement and deregulated competition in electricity supply.  She participates in statewide policy initiatives regarding technological and design improvements to the Illinois electric grid and in regional transmission organization stakeholder processes and has worked on energy efficiency and demand response issues. Ms. Munsch is currently a member of the the Illinois Smart Grid Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors for the Energy Foundry and the Consumer Advocates of PJM States. Immediately prior to joining CUB, she was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in the Public Utilities Bureau. Prior to entering law school, Ms. Munsch was Associate Director of the Chicago Workforce Board and a policy analyst for the City of Chicago, focused on implementation of federal workforce development and public assistance programs. Ms. Munsch is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Chicago-Kent College of Law.