Environmental Clinic Adds Two Community Leaders to Advisory Board

The Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at WashULaw has added Blake Strode, executive director of Arch City Defenders, and the Rev. Nina Thompson, an expert in environmental communications, to its Community Advisory Board.

Strode (right) joined Arch City in 2015 after earning his JD from Harvard Law School. Arch City Defenders is a nonprofit civil rights law firm that provides holistic legal representation to individuals and seeks systemic change on behalf of the poor and communities of color.

Founded in 2009, it has played an increasingly prominent role throughout the St. Louis area since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 highlighted injustices in many municipal courts.

Thompson (left) launched her career in communications as press information specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, then served as director of communications for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She currently serves as executive director of Rose of Sharon Ministries, runs NICHE Public Relations and Communications, and teaches English and oral communication at St. Louis Community College, Ranken Technical College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

She obtained her Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in 2015.

The Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic provides free legal services with in-house technical support to community groups, environmental organizations, and individuals who are pursuing legal action to protect the environment and community health. Each semester, interdisciplinary teams of law students work on cases with students from across the University – engineering, science, policy, public health, social work, architecture, business, and medicine – under the joint faculty supervision of one of the clinic’s two attorneys and either its environmental engineer or environmental scientist.

The clinic handles cases in Missouri and Illinois, as well as some of national scope. Cases typically involve air pollution, water pollution, water quality, environmental justice, site contamination, and energy regulation.

The Community Advisory Board provides a link between the University and segments of the community that might benefit from the clinic’s services. Its members share a commitment to community service, environmental protection and environmental justice.

Strode and Thompson join 10 other members of the advisory board, who include:

  • Michael Holmes, chairman: vice president of workforce development and strategic partnerships for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Dr. Daniel Berg: a physician specializing in internal medicine
  • Ilene Follman: life sciences consultant
  • P. Wayne Goode: a retired Missouri state senator
  • Daniel Glazier: executive director of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Stephen Mahfood: Mahfood & Associates, The Nature Conservancy, and former director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
  • Matthew Robinson: president of Environmental Liability Transfer, Inc.
  • Fernando Serrano: assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Saint Louis University School of Public Health
  • Leon Sharpe: The Praxis Group
  • Karla Wilson: sustainability consultant at EcoWorks Unlimited.