The Environmental Law Clinic complements Berkeley Law’s outstanding classroom teaching in environmental law by providing students with hands-on experience in administrative agency practice, litigation, legislation, and policymaking in the environmental arena. The Clinic has three main goals:
- Making students creative and effective environmental lawyers;
- Making an environmental difference; and
- Addressing environmental legal needs of underserved communities.
The Clinic will undertake projects local to global in scale, working on such diverse issues as mitigating climate change, developing less-toxic consumer products, increasing urban and suburban children’s access to nature, and realizing the human right to potable water. The Clinic will also work at unconventional intersections that have the capacity to enhance environmental protection and social justice simultaneously, such as designing green job programs specifically for marginalized populations (e.g., homeless and prison reentry populations). The Clinic will collaborate with other parts of the law school and the UC Berkeley campus, including but not limited to the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment; the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry; the School of Public Health; and the Energy and Resources Group.
Students in the Environmental Law Clinic will enroll concurrently for four units of clinical fieldwork and a two-unit companion seminar; this will represent roughly half their academic load for the semester. The classroom component will combine skills training relevant to clinic projects (e.g., oral advocacy, legislative strategy) with readings, short films, and classroom discussions of the many roles of and practice contexts for environmental lawyers. Project work is typically done in teams. Students will meet regularly with the Director and Fellows, either individually or in teams, to discuss project progress and next steps.
Together, the course and the clinic will provide students with the opportunity to learn how to identify opportunities to make a meaningful environmental difference through legal advocacy, to create productive relationships with clients and project partners, and to chart a winning strategy.