Growing up in Mount Desert Island, Maine, inside the majestic Acadia National Park enabled Elly Pepper to see the direct benefits of environmental law. As a child, she enjoyed the outdoors and appreciated the importance of taking care of the environment. In eighth grade, Elly spent a summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. “That really cemented it for me,” she says.


Elly graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick Maine with an A.B. in Environmental Studies and Government and Legal Studies. In her junior year, she studied abroad in Australia through an environmental internship program, spending a week with Aborigines in the bush country. There, she did coral reef research. 

After deciding to pursue law, Elly found that the University of Richmond Law School appealed to her.  “I liked the small size of the University and wanted to be near D.C. because of potential legislative opportunities on Capitol Hill. 

Both on and off campus, Elly has taken advantage of the many opportunities available at Richmond Law, including serving as Manuscripts Editor of Law Review. She won first place in an environmental negotiation competition and was a semi-finalist in a Moot Court competition, which taught her to feel comfortable speaking in public. She says she has also gained a better understanding of the legislative process. "Studying law gives you a good foundation of knowledge that can help you whether you decide to be a lawyer or not. It trains you to think in a different way."

Elly has also worked as a legal intern for the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. on the Louisiana Coastal restoration, lobbying politicians to promote and further legislation to continue coastal restoration. "Did you know that every year a piece of land the size of Manhattan crumbles into the sea?" she asks. Elly's interest in the environment goes beyond appreciating the value of preserving it. She wants to use the law to shape policy and legislation "to further environmental objectives. Law would be the best way for me to try and help benefit the environment," she says.

In addition to her love of the environment, Elly has also developed an interest in Criminal Law, specifically criminal procedure. As a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, she worked on criminal cases involving gangs and public corruption gaining valuable experience on a number of high profile cases. “My ideal job would be to work in environmental crime.” on a number of high profile cases.  

After graduation, Elly plans to move to Washington, D.C. to start her job search.  “I’d like to work on the Hill,” she says.