Law student’s article on Great Lakes Compact receives statewide award

May 17, 2012 | News, UToday
By Rachel Phipps

UT law student M. Zack Hohl is the winner of the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2012 Environmental Law Award for his paper titled “The Great Lakes Compact: States Suffering From Withdrawal.”


The article will be published in the association’s Environmental Law Symposium, and Hohl will receive a prize of $1,000 donated by the Ohio law firm McMahon DeGulis LLP.

Hohl’s winning paper analyzed the goals and framework of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact by evaluating the exemption for bottled water under the agreement. After being signed and ratified by the eight Great Lake states, including Ohio, the compact was ratified by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.

According to Hohl, “While the compact is admirably thorough and a major step toward sustainable development in the region, if the compact is weakened, either through state action or exploitation of exemption like that for the bottled water, it will be incredibly difficult for states to act on their own. Therefore, it is important that states and individuals follow both the letter and spirit of the compact if we are to achieve sustainable use of our regional waters.”

“The new compact is vital to Ohio and this region,” said Ken Kilbert, associate professor in the UT College of Law and director of its Legal Institute of the Great Lakes. “Zack’s paper is a terrific piece of legal work and will be very useful to lawyers, judges and policymakers.”

Hohl graduated summa cum laude and delivered the class address at commencement May 6.

While at the UT College of Law, Hohl has collected highest ranking student awards in several classes, including his Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law and Water Law courses. Hohl also served as articles editor for The University of Toledo Law Review and as co-president of the Environmental Law Society.

Moreover, Hohl’s scholarship during his law school career will be published not once, but twice. The article titled “Legal Tools for Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie” that Hohl co-authored with Kilbert and 2011 UT law alumna Tiffany Tisler will be published in the upcoming fall issue of The University of Toledo Law Review.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the Environmental Law Committee asked that submissions for the 2012 Environmental Law Award advance the application and practice of environmental, energy or resources law in the state of Ohio.

A panel of environmental lawyers and Ohio State Bar Association members reviewed the submissions to select the winner. Submitted articles were judged on the following criteria: relevance to the practice of law in Ohio, timeliness and importance of the selected topic, organization, quality of legal analysis, quality of legal research, and quality of the overall writing.

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