Santa Clara Law has an incredibly passionate alumni base. It has been evident to me, through the past two years, that graduates are proud to be Broncos. In the environmental law program, we are especially fortunate to have John Cruden as an impassioned alumnus. He received his J.D. from Santa Clara in 1974 and went on to serve as a senior leader on environmental and natural resources matter at the US Department of Justice where he supervised important litigation, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Love Canal, and the Bunker Hill litigation. He also served his country as the Assistant Attorney General at the Environment and Natural Resources Division and worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Regardless of his accolades and his current tenure as Principal at Beveridge & Diamond, John still makes time for current Broncos in the environmental field. This past week I, Shelby Coyne, Daniel Posadas, and Katherine Pond, attended the ABA SEER spring conference in San Francisco. We were able to listen to panelists discussing controversial topics from California’s renewable energy future to topsoil depletion resulting from the federally backed mass agriculture system. Most importantly, John introduced us to many of his former colleagues, friends, and admirers. These men and women truly cared about their jobs and their goals in helping the environment. I have personally noted that many attorneys I meet are not very happy. Quite a few are disgruntled with the hours they work for a job they dislike. However, while the hours may still be exhausting, these brilliant folks were working towards the goal of ameliorating the environment and it gave them purpose. Their passion for their work was evident.

John pushed us to meet and talk to as many people as possible. I was able to exchange words with people that are currently forming green legislation in the country. Networking is hard but John made it easy as he quite literally yelled for people to come over and meet us. It also became abundantly clear that Mr. Cruden is very much a celebrity. I certainly learned to grab as many business cards as possible and tried to make as good as an impression as possible.

However, speaking to these empowered men and women, it did become incredibly clear that while we are in a dire spot environmentally, there is much opportunity for the future. People want to change the state of decline that our planet is in. It is up to us, the younger generation of lawyers, to carry the torch towards developing green legislation. We may not solve climate change in a day, but I am certain that us Broncos will help develop legislation to take down dams, clean-up the air, and pursue environmental justice.

From left: Daniel Posadas, John Cruden JD '74, Shelby Coyne, and Max Jones

From left: Daniel Posadas, John Cruden JD ’74, Shelby Coyne, and Max Jones