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Third Year Law Student Daniel Hollis Wants to be an Environmental, Tax, and Corporate/Financial Service Attorney

published December 18, 2012

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Personal Life

Daniel Hollis is a third year law student at Pace University School of Law and anticipates a May 2013 graduation. The student plans on becoming an environmental, tax, and corporate/financial service attorney. Daniel will not only earn a J.D. degree, but he will also receive an MBA with a dual concentration in Accounting (CPA prep) and Strategic Management. He also has certificates in environmental and international law.
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From May 2009 until February 2010, Daniel worked for Pace Institute of International Commercial Law as a legal research intern. He researched and produced Best Practice Guidelines for sustainability clauses in international supplier agreements for the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management. The student also analyzed current industry trends by surveying IACCM's members and analyzing the CSR and Sustainability policies of 30 companies across 6 industries segments. Daniel identified and analyzed benchmark standards for environmental protection, basic human rights, and specific labor rights and privileges established by international agreements, independent NGOs, and industry groups.

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From May 2010 until August 2010, Daniel joined the National Council for Science and the Environment, located in Washington D.C. As a legal research intern, Daniel published interpretative guidance on the environmental provisions of the United National Convention of the Law of the Sea and the London Convention and Protocol on Marine Dumping to the online Encyclopedia of Earth.

By August 2011, Daniel began working for Pace University Sustainability Committee as a STARS Consultant/Law School Representative. He identifies low- and no-cost strategies for performance improvements, potential revenue sources to off-set sustainability investment costs, and advises on ways to integrate sustainability into the current strategic plan. Daniel also presents findings to Pace Sustainability Committee and the Dean of the Lubin School of Business. He continues to work with student organizations to promote water conservation. The law student is currently involved with Pace University Sustainability Committee.

From May 2012 until August 2012, Daniel was employed with Verizon Communications as a Sustainability Specialist. He advised on the implementation of an integrated Sustainable Supply Chain Management System. The law student co-managed the Annual Supplier Sustainability Assessment by identifying supplier respondents, providing education and technical support to respondents, and evaluating performance outcomes. Daniel also designed enterprise-level paper conservation program and supporting performance measures that address conservation throughout the entire paper lifecycle (production/purchasing, use, and disposal). He applied knowledge of International Human Rights norms to assist in redrafting the Supplier Code of Conduct (Labor). Daniel participated in Employee-Community engagement events including a regional electronics recycling rally. He assisted with the drafting of the annual CDP-Supply Chain Report.

Daniel was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in North Carolina. He grew up with his mom, step-dad, and twin sisters. Daniel attended North Carolina State University and graduated with a B.A. in History in 2007. He plans on receiving his J.D. from Pace University School of Law in 2013.

When Daniel isn't working or attending classes, he enjoys reading. One of his favorite authors is Dumas Malone, who was an American editor, biographer, and historian known for his six-volume biography on Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson and His Times. Daniel's number one personal interest is history. His top hobby is visiting and photographing historic sites and landmarks.

Daniel's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations

The third year law student was asked why he went into the law. He replied, “I went into the law because I want to help protect the environment.” Daniel continued to say that environment law is a growing field. He added, “Having knowledge of the law doesn't just open the door to the courtroom, but it also opens the door to the business world.”

Daniel shared his aims and aspirations. He said his long-term goal is to become a Chief Sustainability Officer at a Fortune 500 company. Daniel reiterated that his knowledge of the law will assist him in business. He acknowledged that the law helps you understand the rules of the business game.

Daniel also discussed his accomplishments he's either achieved or still striving towards. He noted that working with Verizon Communications was a great achievement and he also believes graduating with his JD/MBA degrees in the nearby future will be a colossal accomplishment. When asked, “Why was working for Verizon an accomplishment?,” Daniel stated, “It's ranked fifteenth on the Fortune 500 list and I learned about sustainable strategy, paper consumption, and paper sourcing.”

So what are Daniel's key strengths and skills that he would like to use to advance his career goals? He asserted, “I have a broad range of knowledge outside of the law, most importantly I have a strong knowledge in Accounting from my MBA in Accounting.” Daniel explained that the significance of accounting made him understand transactional analysis. He added, “I understand the law, I can interpret it, and I have the math behind it.”

The law student spoke about his weakness. He claimed, “I feel that my experience is too rooted in research and not enough in practice. Therefore, I would like to build my skills to include more practice.” Daniel is looking for an externship program in litigation, but he said that working towards dual degrees prevented him from acquiring practice in ligation.

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Many readers are probably wondering how Daniel handles new assignments. The third year law student shared his process. He proclaimed, “A lot of it, of course, depends on the assignments. First thing I do is I review the assignment to understand what is expected. Afterwards, I follow up with the person who gave me the assignment to clarify any points on which I need additional information. Finally, I engage in the work until I complete the assignment.”

Where does Daniel derive his confidence? He stated, “I feel if ‘they' haven't knocked me down by now, they're not going to.” Daniel explained that he derived his confidence from his youth. Daniel grew up in the southern United States and is both multi-racial and a member of the LGBT community. He acknowledged that this made it difficult for him to fit in as a child, but this experience in adversity later became a source of strength.

Top Priority Outside Work, Three Wishes to Live By, Dealing with Fear, Stress Management Tactics, and Conquering Obstacles

What is Daniel's top priority outside of work? He declared, “There's a life outside of work?!?!?! Just kidding… My top priority outside of work is remaining involved in sustainable development.” Daniel elaborated by saying he remains involved in corporate sustainability. Considering that this semester Daniel is taking 17 credit hours in classes, it is no wonder that he would joke about not having a life outside of work.

If Daniel had three wishes, he would wish to spend a year teaching US history to high school students, go on a complete tour of the White House (including the Oval Office and private residence quarters, and would plan a three-month grand tour of Europe. The law student expressed he would love to teach, but understands he wouldn't make enough money as a teacher. Daniel's mother, who is a teacher, once threatened him (mostly jokingly) that if he decided to teach, she wouldn't help him through college. Daniel said, “I would like to teach high school students once I made enough money to retire.”

The student's second wish is to tour the White House. He recalled spending the summer in Washington D.C. Daniel pointed out all of the historical sites he visited, which includes the United States Congress, George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. However, the history buff never had the opportunity to visit the most famous house in the U.S.

Since Europe is expensive and Daniel's wishes are free, his final wish is to see Europe. The future attorney studied world history (1700-present) and enjoyed learning about the rise and fall of the British Empire. He said, “You can't understand American history without understanding its origins.”

Since law school can add a tremendous amount of stress onto students, does Daniel have any stress management tactics? He shared, “I walk. If I get stressed, I put down what I'm doing and I go for a walk around the block to clear my head. It takes me out of the situation for a moment and gives me the opportunity to re-focus.” Daniel said he might bump into someone he knows and will talk to them before he “comes back to his house with fresh perspective.”

How has Daniel conquered his obstacle? He revealed, “I am a gay, half-Pakistani man who grew up in the southeastern United States. That alone presented me with several obstacles in dealing with my peers who often saw me as different (in the pejorative sense). These experiences taught me a significant amount of self-reliance and also taught me how to identify real friends (those who accept you for who you are).”

Legal Role Models, Personal Philosophy, People You Want to Surround Yourself With

Daniel discussed four legal role models he respects greatly. He admires Clarence Seward Darrow, who was well known for defending John T. Scopes in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial in 1925. While the Scopes trial introduced Daniel to Darrow, it was research work on the case Gitlow v. New York that really grabbed his attention. Daniel likes how Darrow “approaches ethics of the law and how he stands up for people who don't have anybody to stand up for them.”

The law student was first exposed to Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior in Gitlow v. New York. Daniel stated, “I enjoyed reading his opinions and some of the things he says are funny. I also respect Holmes because of his clear logic.”

Daniel looks up to Ted Olsen & David Boies, both men are no strangers in the courtroom. They are known for going head to head in Bush v. Gore. The pair joined forces to fight California's Proposition 8 and are currently battling this case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Daniel was most struck by how these two who had once fought against each other and who would, at first glance, appear to be ideological opposites could come together for a cause that is clearly politically polarized.

What is Daniel's personal philosophy? The student simply said, “Do no harm.” He believes you shouldn't harm your-self, other individuals, or the environment. Daniel reflected on what his father used to say to him: “You should question your motives before you do something.” For him, this was the natural evolution of that sentiment.

The third year law student talked about what he believes holds more truth in light of his personal philosophy. Was it fate or choice? Daniel claimed, “I don't believe in fate, it implies predestination.”

What kind of situations and people is Daniel attracted to? What kind of situations and people does the law student avoid? He answered, “I am attracted to situations that involve good conversations. I tend to be attracted to thoughtful people who enjoy exchanging ideas, even if the ideas are those with which I do not agree.”

Daniel made it clear that he “tends to avoid situations that involve huge crowds (1,000+) and people who need to be intoxicated to enjoy themselves.”

Study Abroad Program and Favorite Quote

Daniel participated in a study abroad program. He remembered, “I went on a travel course to China this past semester. The course was a 10 day course where we toured various types of Chinese businesses and met with business leaders to discuss various aspects of conducting business in China.” When asked, “How was this experience?,” Daniel said, “Amazing. Absolutely amazing for a number of reasons.” The law student had a great experience studying Chinese history and interacting with Chinese businessman. He pointed out the different laws, culture, and politics between the U.S. and China. Daniel concluded, “It was a valuable experience conducting international business and moving around in a place you can't speak English. I would definitely go back.”

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Daniel's favorite quote is by Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He explained that he liked the quote because it reminds him that people have a tendency to get locked into a routine. People also look for routines to get locked into. Daniel stated, “People force themselves into a loop. If something is not working, look for other ways to get to the solution.”

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