Get to Know Nick Leonard

Nick Leonard is a staff attorney at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit. For two years, he worked for GLELC as an Equal Justice Works fellow providing pro bono transactional legal services to Detroit’s urban agriculture community before transitioning to his current position.

Leonard received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, cum laude. During his time at MLaw, he was an articles editor for the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law. His article “Utilizing Michigan Brownfield Policies to Incentivize Community-Based Urban Agriculture in Detroit” was published by the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law in 2014.

Prior to his career in law, Leonard received his Bachelor of Arts from Kalamazoo College, where he majored in English.

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Residence: Detroit.

What would surprise people about your job? How much I rely on the Freedom of Information Act.

Why did you become a lawyer? I wanted to help Detroit residents improve their own communities.

What’s your favorite law-related TV show, movie, and/or book? The Wire.

Who are your law role models – real and/or fictional? Supreme Court Justice William Douglas.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Realize that the price of your law degree is partially based on your expected earnings in private practice. If you are interested in a career in public interest law, be highly debt-conscious in selecting your school.

What do you do to relax?
Watch baseball and listen to rap music.

What other career path might you have chosen? Teacher.

Favorite local hangouts: Honest John’s, Rose’s, and the Oakland Avenue Farmers’ Market.

Favorite music: Rap music.

What is your happiest childhood memory? Sleeping in a tent with my family on backpacking trips when I was a kid.

What is your most treasured material possession? A Detroit Tigers’ jersey that I bought from Tiger Stadium in the 1990s. I purposefully bought it very large as a child so that it would fit when I grew up. It fits perfectly now. 

What do you wish someone would invent? A definitive solution to climate change.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?

What’s the best advice you ever received? Consider your surroundings or you leave without a trace. 

Favorite place to spend money: Corktown Farmers’ Market.

What is your motto? Whoever debases others is debasing himself.

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