Curriculum

The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) provides students with the analytical skills, substantive knowledge, and practical judgment needed to be effective lawyers in the evolving area. The curriculum is concerned not only with the basic legal elements—statutes, regulations, and cases—but also with the broader structure of environmental law and policy. The program prepares students to navigate the existing regulatory system as well as to contribute to the ongoing process of reform.

Concurrent and Combined Degree Programs

Students may enroll in a concurrent degree program with another department or school on campus, such as the Haas School of Business, the Department of City and Regional Planning, the Goldman School of Public Policy, the Energy and Resources Group, or the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

Students may also enroll in a combined degree program with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University or the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Students must apply separately to each program. A J.D. degree and a master's degree can be earned in approximately four years.

Berkeley Law is unique among major American law schools in that it offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree through the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) Program. Students with a strong interest in both environmental law and policy and a teaching career may consider applying to the JSP Program. In recent years, students have graduated with specializations in environmental history, natural resources law, and law of the sea.

Internships and Externships

Internships and externships during the academic year provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge and ideas learned in the classroom, gain practical experience in an environmental practice, and work with practicing environmental and energy lawyers. The law school grants academic credit to students who participate in approved internships, most of which are with nonprofit environmental organizations and government agencies. A typical internship requires a commitment of two to three days each week for four to six units of credit.

Popular internships and externships with nonprofit and governmental organizations include those with:

  • Earthjustice
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • The Sierra Club 
  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Attorney General's Office 
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Energy Commission
  • California Public Utilities Commission
  • US Environmental Protection Agency

Students also have held internships in organizations dealing with international environmental issues, such as the EPA's Office of General Counsel (International Activities Division).

Courses

The following courses are available for those interested in environmental law:

Courses Offered Every Year

  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Energy Regulation and the Environment
  • Renewable Energy and Other Alternative Fuels
  • Environmental Law Writing Seminar
  • Land-Use Law
  • Workshop on Development and the Environment
  • Local Government Law

Courses Offered Every One to Two Years

  • Oceans Law
  • Biodiversity Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Water Law
  • Environmental Justice
  • Climate Change
  • Public Lands and Natural Resources Law
  • California Environmental Law and Policy 
  • The Law of Hazardous Waste 

Other Notable Classes

  • Science and Regulatory Policy
  • Disasters and the Law
  • Hot Topics in US-China Law