While studying abroad in Beijing during his junior year, David Huang found his passion.
“I had zero interest in energy and engineering when I began undergrad at UCSD,” he said. “But when I did an independent study on China’s renewable energy portfolio, I realized that I wanted to work at the intersection of law and energy.”
Huang then determinedly pursued his interest, enrolling in environment-related courses at UC Hastings, summering at the legal division of the California Public Utilities Commission, and interning last summer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he helped to suspend and debar government contractors who had violated environmental laws. His office, in charge of Grants and Debarment, worked towards prohibiting these companies from doing business with the government until they demonstrated willingness and commitment to compliance with the laws of the United States. It’s a growing area of law, and the EPA is the largest civilian executive branch involved, he said.
“While I was there, one of the most fascinating cases involved the BP Horizon oil spill, which brought up a ton of interesting government contracts issues,” he said.
As a big "House of Cards" fan and self-avowed news junkie, Huang found D.C. energizing. “To see things that you read about in the news happening before you is an amazing experience.”
Last semester, Huang also took advantage of a little-known UC Hastings reciprocity program to be a visiting scholar at Vermont Law School. In VLS’ energy issues clinic, His student team represented a local municipality that was interested in establishing group net metering with solar panels.
His specialized focus has now paid off. Huang was selected to be a fellow next year with the Greenlining Institute, whose mission is to empower communities of color and other disadvantaged groups through multi-ethnic economic and leadership development, civil rights, and anti-redlining activities. Huang anticipates that he will work on public utilities commission issues, as well as get his first taste of policy work at the state level. “I’m very excited to be given the platform to work on environmental equity issues, and to be able to work in energy regulation, a niche area that I’ve been targeting since coming to UC Hastings,” he said.
His advice to students who haven’t yet figured out their professional path?
"Craft your UC Hastings experience in accordance with your passions and interests, and actively seek out unique learning opportunities," he said. "It's also important to keep in touch with current events and public policy that is ongoing,” he explained, citing the recent decision by the FCC to declare the Internet a public utility. “That, to me, meant more jobs in regulatory law, more positions at the Federal Communications Commission, which is great for law students."