Who We Are

The Law for the Environmental Grassroots (‘LEG’) project began in 2014. It intends to formalize its organizational structure in 2015.


Lena Golze Desmond

With the input of dozens of folks with much more experience and insight, Lena is working to develop LEG and its operations. Previously, Lena worked as an Environment Program Associate at The Overbrook Foundation, whose support of the Building Equity & Alignment = Impact was the major inspiration for growing LEG(s). Her first experience using the law to address environmental injustices was at Washington and Lee School of law, representing coal miners seeking their black lung benefits. She also has an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College. She is on the board of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI) and a 2014 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow. She welcomes any and all feedback, and can be reached at lenagd@gmail.com.


Laura Mott

Laura Mott is a 2010 graduate of the CUNY School of Law, where she was active on issues of environmental justice. She was named a 2010-11 Launch Pad for Justice Fellow and represented clients in housing court, then continued to work on environmental issues at the New York Environmental Law & Justice Project.  During law school, she served as an Associate Articles Editor on the New York City Law Review and worked at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, the New York State Supreme Court, and Clean Ocean Action. Laura was a 2013 participant in the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI) and is excited to work on expanding practical opportunities for law students and recent grads!

NYCELLI (New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute)

NYCELLI is an annual seminar for new environmental attorneys committed to leadership in the field and to making a positive contribution to the City’s environment. The Institute is designed to inform, equip, and inspire new attorneys to take on key roles in the work to improve the quality of New York’s City’s environment and the health of its residents. To that end, NYCELLI participants are encouraged to take leadership roles, make change, and engage in collaborative dialogue to address the City’s environmental challenges.

NYCELLI, by encouraging participants to engage and create projects on challenges they wanted to see addressed, provided an invaluable space for initial growth of LEG, and its alumni continue to provide critical feedback and guidance.

(Additional bios forthcoming)