Our Legal Interns Save Oceans: Meet Don Gourlie

Coastkeeper legal interns like Don gain valuable experience in environmental law.Thinking about saving the planet with a career in environmental justice? First of all, that’s amazing. Second, have you considered our competitive legal internship? It could be the perfect opportunity for you to gain real-world experience in environmental law and public policy. 

Take Don Gourlie for example. After getting his bachelor’s degree in marine science, he knew he wanted to work in ocean and coastal law. He joined our legal internship program the summer of 2012 while he was in law school. In just a few months, he gained a practical perspective on complex water management policies and became an expert on issues like stormwater management. 

He worked on several cases to enforce the Clean Water Act and commented on a number of local agency actions. Among these projects at Coastkeeper, his favorite was commenting on a new regional stormwater permit in San Diego. This extensive assignment involved diving into all the policies and practicalities surrounding sewage and stormwater management and low impact development. He worked closely with both our team and San Diego Coastkeeper, and he joined public meetings where key stakeholders shared all sides of the issue.

“When I was growing up that kind of stuff was out of sight out of mind,” says Don. “Learning about how it all works shed new light on the complexities of water management in America and how drastically humans can influence important environmental processes.”

Don’s work at Coastkeeper made a tangible difference in conservation and water quality in our community. Now, he’s applying the experience he gained through our internship program to his professional work in environmental advocacy. 

After interning at Orange County Coastkeeper and completing law school, we’re happy to report that Don landed his dream job in environmental law. He now works at the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University, dealing with issues like natural resource conservation, management of California fisheries and climate change. 

We’re proud of everything Don’s accomplished so far for environmental justice, and we can’t wait to see more environmental superstars join our team.

Click here to learn more and apply to be a legal intern.