Interview with Brooke N. Zentmeyer

Current law firm or association: Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP 

Law School: The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, J.D., 2022 

Undergraduate: University of Notre Dame, B.A., 2019 

Current hometown: Columbus, Ohio 

Favorite bar or restaurant in current home city? Why? My favorite “restaurant” is a gluten-free bakery in my neighborhood called “Bake Me Happy.” I like to end my morning runs there on the weekends and reward myself with a cup of their delicious coffee, a muffin, and maybe a sweet treat such as one of their cream cheese cutout cookies! 

EMLF Involvement: I am new to EMLF—I recently joined the Planning Committee for EMLF’s 44th Annual Institute, and I am looking forward to being a part of this exciting event!  

Do you have a favorite anecdote or war story regarding your time as a lawyer? I have only been a “real” lawyer for about 6 months, so my war chest is limited. So far, every project has been a learning opportunity with challenging and rewarding aspects—I don’t think I can pick a favorite! 

Where did you grow up? Cincinnati, Ohio 

What is your area of practice? Environmental Law 

How did you get involved in that area of law? My father is a civil engineer, and I was always interested in the technical problem-solving aspects of his job when I was growing up. Because of this interest, I double majored in Environmental Science and my courses taught me about the intersectional role that Environmental lawyers play in finding solutions to environmental issues through their writing, negotiating, and technical skills. My other undergraduate major was English, so being an Environmental lawyer seemed like an ideal career to blend my skills in science and writing.  

How much of your time is spent representing clients in the coal, oil and gas, or other energy industries? Over my 6 months of lawyering, I have had several projects involving clients in energy industries, particularly in solar and natural gas.  

Has your involvement in EMLF benefited you? If so, how? Yes, even though I am new to EMLF, my involvement has already connected me with a number of energy and mineral professionals and provided me with an opportunity to develop my skills as both a leader and a team member as part of the Planning Committee for the Annual Institute.  

Now that the COVID-related restrictions on restaurants, gatherings, and travel are ending, is there anything that you have done or look forward to doing soon, that you weren’t able to do during the shutdowns? I am an avid builder of elaborate charcuterie boards, so I have been enjoying the opportunity to make these boards again for various gatherings—they are far more fun to make (and easier to eat all of) when I can share them with friends and loved ones! 

Looking back, what two or three things have been most helpful to you in developing as a lawyer and as an attorney at your firm? First, I have learned that every person I interact with has something important to teach me about Vorys, the practice of law, and the environmental/energy space. This is true no matter what position the person occupies, if they are in my practice group or not, or even if they are within the firm or outside of it, such as a client or consultant. It’s been important for me to value these interactions and reflect on how they fit into my broader understanding of my role as a lawyer and a member of the legal community.   

Second, being curious and willing to ask questions has been invaluable to me, especially when confronting areas of Energy or Environmental law. While asking questions and admitting that I don’t know something can feel uncomfortable, everyone has been eager to help me grow and learn by sharing their expertise with me. 

Is there any advice you would give to new lawyers and law students who are about to become lawyers? Being a lawyer is stressful, and I have found it can be hard to find time to decompress if I do not build intentional breaks into my schedule. I recommend establishing some sort of routine that ensures you get to connect daily with things that you care about and help you relax that are outside of your life as a lawyer. For me, I love long-distance running and spending time with my dog, so I try to bookend my days with a morning run and nightly dog walk. Doing these activities daily—even when I am tired or busy—has helped me stay connected with myself as well as keep my mind and body healthy.  

Join EMLF!

Membership in the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation is open to anyone who is concerned with issues pertaining to the energy industry.

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