our Staff


Oday salim, executive director & managing attorney


Oday is executive director and managing attorney at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center located in Detroit, Michigan. The Center provides community education, policy support, and legal services to address environmental, energy, and public health issues affecting communities in the Detroit area, all over Michigan, and throughout the Great Lakes. Before returning to Michigan in 2016, he practiced for seven years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the Senior Attorney at Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services and before that as the Staff Attorney at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Environmental Law Clinic.

As an attorney in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Oday has worked on environmental justice, drinking water quality & affordability, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act permitting, stormwater management, renewable energy, hydraulic fracturing, mineral transactions, and land use & zoning. His experience includes civil and administrative litigation, commenting on rules, permits, and enforcement actions, policy development, transactional work, and negotiations. 

As a teacher, he has taught and continues to teach energy regulation and mineral rights law. For four years he was an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and currently is an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark School of Law in Portland, Oregon and Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of the competition problem for the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition. Throughout his career he has worked closely with law students. He lectures and gives talks on numerous topics, including environmental law, environmental justice, and the relationship between religion and environmentalism.

Oday was born in Iraq, raised in Detroit and Southfield, and has lived in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and France. He spends much of his time listening to jazz and reading poetry, history, and popular science. He loves getting lost in large cities and hiking in old forests.

LL.M. Environment & Natural Resources Law at Lewis & Clark Law School
J.D. Wayne State University Law School
M.A. English at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
B.A. English & Spanish at Wayne State University

Licensed to practice in Michigan

Full CV

nick leonard, staff attorney


From 2014 to 2016, Nick worked with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center as an Equal Justice Works fellow. His fellowship project focused on providing transactional legal services to individuals, nonprofit corporations, and for-profit businesses engaged in urban agriculture in Detroit. During the course of his project, he frequently worked on real estate transactions, lending transactions, land use and zoning, and entity formation for Detroit's burgeoning urban agriculture community. After transitioning to his role as staff attorney at the conclusion of his fellowship, Nick has worked on environmental justice issues in Detroit, with a specific focus on Clean Air Act permitting, hazardous and solid waste management, and local environmental policy. 

Nick spends his free time watching Tigers baseball, backpacking in mountains, and cooking. 

J.D. University of Michigan School of Law
B.A. English at Kalamazoo College

Licensed to practice in Michigan 

Full CV