Albany Law School will be closed today until 4pm due to the weather.
Nicholas Zapp '16 is tackling an issue that hits close to home.
Zapp grew up on a dairy farm in Columbia County, N.Y. Recently, his family sold the farm’s development rights to the Columbia Land Conservancy, essentially surrendering any future commercial development and subsequently lowering the financial value of the land.
“We want to see it remain an agricultural property,” Zapp said of his family’s decision.
The experience inspired him to write “Where Did All of the Fields Go?” which addressed the ineffective farmland protective measures that have been put in place, and a dangerous trend toward losing New York State’s agricultural economy and farm culture—a treasure for the state.
The essay made him a 2015 Professor William R. Ginsberg Memorial Essay Contest winner, which was awarded at the NYSBA Environmental Law Section’s fall meeting, and was selected to be published in the
Environmental Claims Journal.
“New York State loses a significant amount of farmland each year to development,” Zapp said. “At the same time, agriculture remains an important part of the state’s economy and is essential to providing food to its residents. Many land-use protective measures that have been put in place—such as large minimal lot-size zoning and agricultural districts—have failed to slow down the rate of farmland lost each year. Conservation easements are a vital protective tool, but they require significant private and public funding to ensure farmland for future generations.”
Zapp, an associate editor for the
Law Review, played linebacker for the Hobart College football team.
For his current third year of law school, he opted to serve as a
Pro Bono Scholar, which allows him to end his classes this semester, take the bar in February, and serve in a pro bono capacity full-time for his spring semester. The plan calls for him to work full-time in the Columbia County Public Defender’s Office in Hudson, N.Y. from March to May, and then graduate with the Class of ’16.
“I recently accepted an offer to work as an associate attorney at the Albany law firm McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C. starting in June,” Zapp said, “which I am very excited about.”