Environmental Law & Policy Clinic
This is a full-year clinic offered for 10 credits, and students will receive separate letter grades at the end of the year for the seminar (4 credits) and the clinic work (6 credits). The clinic is open to both day and evening students (including Hybrid JD students) in their last two (2) years of law school and Accelerated JD students in their last year. The Environmental Law & Policy Clinic is new for the 2023-24 academic year, and the precise docket and design of the clinic will depend on community need, project and case availability, and student enrollment. The Clinic will be designed to allow students to work on a diverse range of environmental policy and case work. A substantial portion of the work will likely be focused on environmental regulation, policy and and legislation at the federal, state, and local levels. This work may include analyzing and educating community partners and the public as to the impact of environmental laws and policies; drafting proposed regulatory or legislative language; providing written or oral testimony and comments; and advocating for legislative or regulatory priorities on behalf of community partners. In collaboration with experienced environmental professionals, the work will likely cover a range of environmental media, including air, water, and waste, as well as issues like climate change, environmental justice, agricultural policy, and public health. Students may also engage in case work on behalf of or in collaboration with area organizations, firms, and non-profits, which work may involve permitting, zoning, regulatory and compliance work. Students can expect to gain experience in legislative and regulatory analysis and drafting, oral and written advocacy, client communication and counseling, case theory or strategy development, teamwork, and inter-organizational collaboration. Students will also learn about cross cultural competency, inequitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens for people of color and lower incomes, explore their professional identities, and gain exposure to legal ethics in practice.
The clinic is appropriate for students interested in any practice of law, but may be of particular interest to students who want to work in local, state or federal government agencies, launch careers in legislative/regulatory advocacy or compliance, or work in environmental law.
The clinic includes a two-hour per week seminar. The seminar will focus on the substantive knowledge in environmental law and practice skills needed to perform the work in the Clinic. The case work in the Clinic requires a minimum of 13 hours per week outside of class and supervision meetings. Depending on the needs of clients and partners, students may have client meetings, events, or work in the evenings and on weekends.
A student must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Evidence in order to qualify for certification under Supreme Judicial Court's Student Practice Rule 3:03. There are no other prerequisites or corequisites to the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, although enrollment in the Environmental Law survey course and/or Administrative Law (prior to or concurrently with the Clinic) is recommended.
Diverse student backgrounds and experiences are welcome, including experience in government, politics, environmental advocacy or litigation, policy or regulatory work.
If you have any questions, please contact Associate Dean Sarah Boonin (pronouns: she/her) at [email protected].