A 3L student at Seton Hall Law, Jamie Mitrovic has worked for the Waterfront Commission
of New York Harbor, the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel in the Department of the
Treasury, PSE&G, and the Urban Resource Institute. During her undergraduate tenure
at New York University, where she majored in Environmental Studies and minored in
Global Public Health, Jamie served as a student researcher at the Bermuda Institute
of Ocean Sciences in St. George’s, Bermuda. At Seton Hall Law, Jamie is President
of the Environmental and Energy Law Society, as well as a member of LALSA, LAMBDA
Law Alliance, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Tell us a little about yourself. What brought you to law school? At around 18 years old, I felt law school was not a place for a young Latina woman
like myself. After taking a Constitutional Law class in my sophomore year at NYU,
I steered clear of the idea of going to law school, instead delving deeper into the
sciences—exploring coding, environmental science, business, and public health classes.
After three years working in the solar energy industry permitting solar and battery
storage systems in New York City, I grew a desire to be part of larger-scale renewable
energy projects. I enjoyed permitting for residential and commercial systems but became
interested in utility-scale projects of all sorts (including off-shore wind); therefore,
I went to law school!
What is different about working at the AG’s office ? Working at the AG’s office was a great experience. Being surrounded by so many attorneys
from diverse backgrounds doing different kinds of work for New Jersey is a great introduction
to the various areas of a legal career.
Has law school been what you expected? Why or why not?
Well, I can assure you that I still do not enjoy Constitutional Law, but law school
is better and more multifaceted than I could have imagined. In particular, the communities
I have joined within the law school organizations provided a space to network as a
1L (even with little to no experience) and a 2L/3L who is finding their way. Moreover,
reading Road to 1L and speaking to many law school students set up legitimate expectations
regarding managing my interpersonal relationships and knowing what to expect for 1L
classes. Lastly, SHL has pleasantly provided more electives for my specialty of Energy
Law than I initially thought.
What do you consider to be your biggest success during law school, either professionally
Likely, the number of internships I have experienced in addition to extracurricular
activities in public service with a focus on environmental justice and diversity.
Uniquely, I knew I wanted to practice Energy Law upon entering law school and even
wrote about it in my entrance essays. But I also enjoy public service.
My very first legal internship involved representing immigrant domestic violence victims,
which was extremely rewarding. Not only did it help me connect to my roots, as I had
to conduct interviews entirely in Spanish while taking notes in English, but I was
gaining work experience outside of my pre-declared area of interest. Along the way,
I was also able to work for the New York Waterfront Commission, engaging in investigative
work to keep the ports safe from organized crime activity. This internship expanded
my knowledge of infrastructure, something I am interested in as a utility nerd, for
the shipping industry and its associated environmental crimes. Finally, my last few
internships included legal work in the energy industry, and these have been my most
Trying new things and being reaffirmed of my love and skill in Energy Law has been
satisfying and exciting. My most recent internship even allowed me to tour a nuclear
facility—a dream of mine.
You were in a pretty bad biking accident last year. How has that changed your life
perspective and/or your career outlook? When faced with this incredible setback, how
have you been able to heal, reset, and continue your legal journey?
When I started law school, my life was more stable than ever. Never could I have imagined
the amount of change the following years brought. The more my responsibilities grew
for myself and my family, the more self-reliant I had to become, regardless of the
instability. My world came crashing down after being struck by a vehicle, and still
to this day, I am unsure how I could have survived being struck from behind on a straight
road by a sober, but distracted driver at 50mph. Recently, a U.S. National Team cyclist
died in the exact same fact pattern and I cannot help but feel a deep sense of remorse
and empathy for this stranger who was only 17 years old and clearly a more-than-capable
In the past 10 months post-accident, I have worked more hours than I ever have before…between
my ongoing recovery, school, work, and family responsibilities. I am so grateful for
my friends' brief moments with me over the past ten months. From crying to laughing,
we’ve done it all.
Recently, I traveled to Honduras, a country I grew up in—in addition to the United
States. This is where my gratitude post-accident found a sense of peace in all the
chaos and anger. Returning to my second home of Honduras post-accident and post-working
at PSE&G, I could reflect on how witnessing the stark contrast of this developing
nation’s lack of access to secure utilities (water, electricity, cable) has made me
who I am today. I love Honduras and I love America. I dream of the day I graduate
from law school and have passed the bar, with the horrible nightmare of the past ten
months behind me. It’ll be sweeter than the mangoes I pick off the trees in Honduras.
It’ll be something that the 10-year-old Jamie who played soccer on Campo Lampira with
all the boys, because girls’ teams didn’t exist, could have never dreamed of. Although
I am still recovering, and thus continuing physical therapy and trying to balance
when I get surgery/surgeries with when I will take my bar exam, I am so happy to be
alive...and I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished.
You are interested in environmental/energy law. What have been some experiences that
have solidified your interest in this area of the law?
Amid all the tragedy I faced during law school, I took electives in environmental
law, energy law, zoning, construction law, and cryptocurrency law. The deep passion
that I felt while in these classes despite my physical injuries and disabilities from
the accident (including the inability to read because of hemorrhaging in my brain
and the inability to write due to my dominant arm being disabled) reminded me that
I could work in this industry for the rest of my life.
Professor Payne is a large reason why I chose Seton Hall Law above many of the tri-state
schools, and she has not disappointed me. Being one of the only female law school
professors who teaches environmental law and energy law in this geographic area (as
well as one of the only professors [regardless of gender] who is an expert in both
environmental and energy law) I felt lured to the school. She has been such an incredible
resource and has furthered my interests in environmental justice, constantly providing
me with fantastic legal resources and flagging the most significant moral dilemmas
our society faces with the environment today.
How did you find job opportunities in the environmental/energy law field? Are there
any classes, opportunities, and/or mentors that have inspired your passion for environmental/energy
My job opportunities have primarily come from networking and engaging with countless
attorneys and professors regarding environmental/energy law topics. Naturally, this
is something I am very informed about, so conversation comes easy. Often I find myself
simply chatting with attorneys, and then the conversation shifts to a pre-interview.
Professor Payne has been a large inspiration to me, as well as Professor Borgen and
Professor Misdary. I enjoy grassroots organizing, and the latter professors have supported
my efforts in connecting with the local Newark community. Moreover, I have been mentored
by different attorneys in the Latin American and Energy Law communities. The paths
to job placement in this industry are open and ready to be taken by those interested.
I am just lucky enough to have found an industry I genuinely love, with the added
benefit of it not being overly saturated with competition or negativity that can be
associated with other legal fields.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting law school and/or who might
face adversities that could threaten their straight path to achieving their goals?
How will you measure your success as an attorney?
There is no way to anticipate all the changes law school will bring, but being organized
and practicing self-empowerment and gratitude will get anyone far. I keep a pack of
thank you cards, often writing gratitude letters to friends, family, or attorneys
who have helped me along the way. I usually also reflect on the fact that there was
a point in my life where I thought becoming an attorney was unachievable, and I think
about how far I have come. Reminding myself of my privileges (being in such a high-level
institution and having the ability to speak a second language) is a great motivator.
Lastly, to my point on being organized—I would not have made it through all the hardship
without my ability to constantly pivot because of the diligence I had concerning school
requirements and classes before the accident.
My success will be measured by how at peace I feel with my work environment and the
work product I am creating, which turns on moral and ethical grounds for me. Anything
is possible when I do what I love while making a difference in the world for the better,
namely helping to tamp down carbon emissions.