Columbia Law Student Wins Yet Another Prestigious Environmental Law Writing Award


Channing Jones ’17 (right) accepts his award from Jay E. Ray (left), director of the Institute for Energy Law at the Center for American and International Law. 

Channing Jones ’17 is on a winning streak. He’s two-for-two in earning first place in environmental/energy law writing competitions, two years in a row. 

Jones, who serves as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and is an active member of Columbia’s environmental law community, recently won the Institute for Energy Law's (IEL) Hartrick Scholar Writing Competition for a paper titled "The Natural Gas Act, State Environmental Policy, and the Jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Courts." It addresses the exclusive jurisdiction given by the Natural Gas Act to the federal circuit courts to review state agency determinations necessary for interstate natural gas infrastructure projects. 

The prize? In addition to a cash award of $2,500, Jones was invited to the Center for American and International Law's 68th annual Oil & Gas Law Conference in Houston, Texas, from Feb. 16-17, all expenses paid. He took full advantage of the special opportunity, and learned about a “very different sphere” of energy law than he is used to as a Law School student focused on climate change and environmental protection law. 

“It was a huge honor to have been selected as the winner, and exciting to have been invited to the energy law conference,” said the Seattle native, who plans to pursue a career in public interest environmental law litigation. “I enjoy legal writing—that’s a big part of why I want to be a litigator... It’s a job that’s unique in that substantive success is in a large part driven by how well you can craft and deliver argument.”

Jones is a member of the Environmental Law Clinic, and works as a research assistant for Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "Our students are doing research at the cutting edge of today's environmental and energy issues, and Channing's paper is a prime example,” said Professor Michael B. Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center, who was the faculty advisor for Jones’ student note. “It's gratifying to see this kind of nationwide recognition." 

Jones has taken three classes with Gerrard, which he said he “enjoyed immensely.” He was also the first place winner in the 2016 New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section’s Professor William R. Ginsberg Memorial Essay Contest last fall, for a paper he wrote in Gerrard’s Advanced Climate Change Law seminar. 

EIL’s writing contest is open to law school students anywhere in the world.

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Posted March 20, 2017.