The Women Behind Trellis: Week One

FINALLY! We are well on our way to welcoming our very first clients in the coming weeks and let us just say, it has been quite the ride. Between competing in the Randall Family Big Idea Competition (where we snagged 4th place overall, btw), graduating law school, taking the bar exam, and finally receiving the results, it has been an eventful year for the Trellis team. 

While we wrap-up a few minor details to make Trellis official (you know, that whole PLLC thing), we thought you might want to learn a bit more about your attorneys, and most importantly your future partners! This week, we would like to introduce Marlene van Es, one of the brains behind Trellis. 

Name: Marlene van Es(q) ... Get It? 

Title: Principal

What book are you currently reading? The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt

What's your fav Pittsburgh restaurant? Is Butcher on Butler a restaurant? - Because their meats are amazing. If that doesn’t count, then it is a tie between Legume and Bar Marco. I love that both offer food from local farms and vendors, have great atmospheres, and make amazing dishes with wholesome ingredients. 

What do you do in your free time? I like to spend my free time outdoors, cooking, and watching old X-files episodes. I have always enjoyed being outdoors - it's a great place to relax and think. I particularly enjoy going on long bike rides on the North Shore Trail or the Allegheny Passage as well as hiking & fishing at local parks. Cooking is another favorite of mine. On typical Sundays, you’ll find my boyfriend and I making big batches of homemade soup or fun dishes. And...the X-Files continues to be awesome. The Truth is Out There (or at least on Netflix). 

What was your high and low from this summer? I’ll start with this summer’s low and get it out of the way. You could probably guess that it involved taking the bar exam -- talk about a toughie. Staying indoors to study for two months while the sun was shining was pure torture. This summer’s high would have to be moving into a great row house in Lawrenceville where I’m able to walk and bike everywhere easily!

Why start your own firm? I've wanted to be an environmental lawyer since I was 13, so Trellis is kind of a dream come true. When Jackie and I started our student group in law school to conduct agricultural and environmental-based policy research for local organizations, we found ourselves saying, "Man, I wish this could be my full-time job." Little did we know that there were so many underserved people and organizations by the current legal system. We quickly realized that we could provide the necessary legal support to these people and organizations, which is where Trellis came into play. I guess you could say the rest is history! I am so excited to help fill this gap in legal services where I am able support businesses and non-profits that are working tirelessly to make Pittsburgh more sustainable. 

Why local agriculture? I majored in Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Cornell and fell in love with the idea of helping local farmers and those dedicated to environmental issues. In recent years, people began to focus their attention on where their food actually came from. This change led to an increased demand for local food sources. I believe that the farmers and businesses meeting this increased demand need a strong legal foundation through working with people they trust. People and businesses that connect with the local environment through agriculture has created a fascinating local ecosystem that I want to support in every way possible!

Where do you see Trellis in 5 years? I would love to see Trellis with a few more attorneys and a broader clientele within Pennsylvania. I also hope to see an expansion in the number of services we offer our clients. 

Tell us something interesting about yourself: I enjoy participating in the annual Ithaca, NY (my hometown) International Rutabaga Curling Competition! Yup, that’s a thing. Check it out HERE