Marjorie Mulhall was helping to shape environmental law in North Carolina even before she started law school. As coordinator of a campaign jointly launched by Environmental Defense and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Mulhall spent 16-months working to pass the North Carolina Global Warming Act, helping that bill take shape and rallying stakeholder and legislative support. Ratified by the General Assembly in August 2005 – as Mulhall was settling in to her first semester at Duke – and subsequently signed into law by Governor Mike Easley, the Act was the first major step by any Southeastern state to address the issue of global warming.
Mulhall traces her desire to pursue a career in environmental law to third grade, when she first heard of someone going into the field. She has been focused ever since, majoring in biology at Bucknell University on the advice of environmental practitioners she sought out while still in high school, and taking a year to work as an environmental educator in Costa Rica with the World Teach program. She says she has always been interested in “working on the ground” to help draft and pass environmental legislation, and that her work on the campaign to pass the N.C. Global Warming Act, and her summer internship with the Natural Resources Defense Council after her first year at Duke, only cemented her goals.
“I feel like the campaign helped launch my career, and the JD will help me get to the next stage,” said Mulhall, who co-chairs the the Duke Environmental Law Society. “I definitely have found the area of law I’m most passionate about.”