Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

Biography

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso is the Founder of SPZ Legal, P.C. SPZ is a Bay Area based firm that provides legal and strategic consulting to entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on helping those with a social or environmental mission. Prior to founding SPZ, Ryan was the CROWN Fellow for the Sonoma County Counsel's Office where he focused on legal issues pertaining to climate change, renewable energy, open space, water, natural resources, land use, and other topics. Ryan is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he was a leader of Students for Economic and Environmental Justice and served as a board member for the Ecology Law Quarterly journal. In the 2011-12 academic year, he worked with students, faculty, and legal practitioners to establish a student run Environmental Justice Clinic (the Environmental Justice Workshop) to provide pro bono legal services to communities disproportionately impacted by irresponsible business practices and to promote community-driven sustainable economic development in the Bay Area and California Central Valley. Ryan also served as the Social Justice Student Network (SJSN) Coordinator through the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at Berkeley Law School. In the summer of 2011, Ryan worked as a Law Fellow for Accountability Counsel where he supported indigenous communities in Peru and Mexico impacted by large energy projects paid for by international financial institutions. In the spring, 2012 semester Ryan served as a Law Clerk for Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP where he supported litigation on environmental issues on behalf of community groups, government agencies, and municipalities. In the summer of 2012, Ryan worked as a Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's Senate Judiciary Committee office. Prior to law school, Ryan was the Program Director for a non-profit organization in New Mexico focused on environmental justice issues on tribal lands, including successfully fighting the development of a fourth coal plant in the area. He organized with diverse communities including ranchers, local business owners, youth advocates, public health professionals, and environmental organizations to support New Mexico's cap on carbon emissions. In 2009, he helped author, lobby for, and pass the New Mexico Green Jobs Act to provide funding for training programs in sustainable industries for disadvantaged individuals and families. Ryan received a Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz and participated in a conservation biology field project focused on eradicating invasive species from Rat Island in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

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