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MICHAEL SHERWOOD Printer Friendly Page
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  • Lead staff attorney for Earthjustice



Michael Sherwood is a lead staff attorney for Earthjustice, which describes itself as a nonprofit “law firm for the environment” that works through the courts to “safeguard public lands, national forests, parks, and wilderness areas; to reduce air and water pollution; to prevent toxic contamination; and to preserve endangered species and wildlife habitat.” The organization’s professed raison d’etre is “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.” Founded in 1971 as the “Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund,” Earthjustice has regional offices in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Washington, DC, and Washington State. Earthjustice brings lawsuits against U.S. government agencies and corporations it believes are breaking or attempting to roll back federal and state environmental laws. “Environmental litigation,” says Earthjustice, “has been key to preserving threatened natural resources and protecting people’s environmental rights.” This watchdog group seeks to place severe restrictions on how U.S. land and waterways may be used. It opposes virtually all mining and logging initiatives, commercial fishing businesses, and both the practical and recreational use of motorized vehicles in undeveloped areas. According to Earthjustice, lawsuits alone have protected “millions of acres of wilderness.”

Sherwood was raised in rural Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in 1964 and received his law degree from Stanford Law School three years later. Also in 1967, Sherwood moved to Hawaii, where he worked as a trial lawyer specializing in personal injury, criminal defense, and environmental issues. In 1974 he began his tenure with Earthjustice; today he is the organization’s most experienced attorney, commanding some $350 per hour for the cases he tries. Says Sherwood, “You won’t see diplomas hanging on the walls of my office. Instead, I have pictures of the various critters I’ve represented, and, maybe, helped to save.”



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