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Margaret Arenas MalekGrowing up, Margaret Arenas Malek lived in eight major cities in the United States and Latin America and spoke three languages. It was an unconventional childhood, but one that brought her an appreciation of diverse cultures and people. While her family was living in Rio de Janeiro, Margaret's father, an urban planner, walked with her through the favelas, densely populated hillside squatter slums. Witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of poverty and pollution had a profound effect on her, resulting in a lifelong interest in the link between the environment and human health.

Margaret received a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography from the University of Washington in 1982. After college she worked on a tanker crew as a forest firefighter in the Olympic National Forest in Washington state, part of the first wave of women in the U.S. Forest Service. Before starting law school, she worked as a cartographer for an engineering company, where her maps were used by the U.S. Department of Justice in the International Court of Justice at The Hague for a case involving a natural resources maritime boundary dispute.

She received her Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law of The American University in 1987. During law school, she interned with the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina, of the District of Columbia Superior Court, and clerked for Hale and Dorr and the Environmental Protection Agency. She co-founded the Hispanic Law Association, was vice president of the student bar association, and taught English to newly arrived immigrants. In recognition of her service to the community, American University awarded her the University Student Award.

After law school Margaret worked on litigation regarding the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act for the national headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring. She drafted policy and regulations and managed 35 Region IV (southern United States) cases in various stages of litigation. She also worked in London, England, as a consultant for an international environmental company, analyzing the implementation of the European Economic Community environmental directives in member countries.

Later, in Boston, Margaret served as an Assistant Attorney General, representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Superfund litigation in state and federal courts. Significant cases included a hazardous waste case with over 200 defendants and an environmental bankruptcy case involving over 30 contaminated sites.

Margaret is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Maryland and several federal appeals and district courts. Margaret is a council member of the Access to Justice Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors of English at Large (formerly Eastern Massachusetts Literacy Council), a non-profit organization that provides free English literacy instruction to adults.
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