Research Opportunities

The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE), Berkeley Law environmental and energy law faculty, and other members of the Berkeley environmental community frequently recruit graduate students to assist with ongoing research.  Research can often be done for pay (GSRs), for academic credit (297 or 298), or as pro bono hours.  

Please contact us if you have a particular research interest.  Open positions will be posted here periodically, including details about the type of research involved and the application process.


— Current Opportunities —


Mitigating VMT Impacts after SB 743 – Would a Banking Approach Work?

Ethan Elkind

CLEE Climate Program Director, Ethan Elkind, is looking to hire a Spring 2018 research assistant for a project examining SB 743. The statute modifies CEQA to replace Level of Service “LOS” with Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as “the most appropriate measure of a project’s potential transportation impacts.” With a new transportation impact metric – VMT – a major question becomes how will lead agencies (and the actual land use and transportation project developers) mitigate impacts of the project if the lead agency’s analysis under CEQA concludes that a project would significantly increase VMT.  One idea, would be to create local or regional VMT mitigation funds (or “banks”) of VMT-reducing projects, which project proponents could help fund to mitigate their own projects’ VMT that cannot be fully mitigated with on-site measures. RAs will contribute to a whitepaper on this topic, investigating existing mitigation banks and analyzing their applicability to CEQA and SB 743.

  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay.
  • Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 
  • Please contact Luke Sherman if you would like to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

Administrative, Environmental & Energy Law

Prof. Eric Biber

Prof. Biber is looking to hire research assistants for the spring and summer of 2018. RAs can work on a range of projects in administrative, environmental, and energy law, including but not limited to: (1) a survey of state and federal energy regulation laws and policies and their relationship with renewable energy policy and production; (2) whether and how state constitutional limits on taxes will prevent the implementation of environmental fees and charges (such as California’s cap-and-trade program); (3) Presidential authority to implement federal public lands laws (such as Presidential power to eliminate national monuments); (4) the role of litigation in management of National Forests and responding to fire on National Forests; (5) a survey and analysis of the California Endangered Species Act and how to reform it to make it more effective; (6) research on whether competition among states for business adversely affects state environmental laws and enforcement; (7) designing environmental laws and regulations to make them resilient to changes in political outcomes; (8) research on local and state land-use regulation in California and its impacts on housing production and costs; and (9) research on the environmental regulations being developed by California for the state’s newly legalized marijuana industry. RAs will have some choice as to which projects they will work on. RAs can work for credit (as a 297 class) in the spring semester, or for pay in the summer. Spring commitments are expected to be between 5-10 hours/week. In the summer, commitments can range from as little as 5 hours/week to potentially half- or full-time.

  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay.
  • Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 
  • Please contact Prof. Eric Biber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).