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 —


Administrative, Environmental & Energy Law

Prof. Eric Biber

Prof. Biber is looking to hire research assistants for the summer and fall of 2019. 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) policy responses to fire risks on public and private lands in California and the West; (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 fall semester, or for pay in the summer. Fall 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).

CALIFORNIA WATER

DR. NELL GREEN NYLEN

Dr. Nell Green Nylen, Senior Research Fellow for CLEE’s water program, is looking to hire a research assistant for fall 2019 to address critical issues in California water law and policy. The work is interdisciplinary in nature, and may therefore include technical, institutional, and economic research in addition to legal research.  Position is paid, and would involve 8-10 hours of work per week.

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

Climate Emergency

Professor Dan Farber is looking to hire a research assistant for Fall 2019 to address legal issues relating to a climate emergency. The work will include research on the use of presidential emergency powers to address climate change, and possibly research on the constitutional limitations on the use of Presidential power more generally.  Position is paid, and would involve 8-10 hours of work per week.

  • 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 Dan Farber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

Ocean Law and Policy

JORDAN DIAMOND & HOLLY DOREMUS

Jordan Diamond and Prof Holly Doremus, Co-Directors of the Law of the Sea Institute, are looking to hire two research assistants for fall 2019 to work on ocean law and policy research.  The work will include drafting and editing sections about current marine issues, including: the nascent California offshore wind industry; the legal framework for marine scientific research; and examination of the status of the ocean as a commons.  Position would involve 4-8 hours of work per week.

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

PROJECT CLIMATE: HOSPITAL WASTE, AND BIOCHAR

KEN ALEX

 
Ken Alex, Director of Project Climate, is looking to hire a research assistant for fall 2019 for two separate topics: hospital waste connected to disposable instruments, and how to regulate biochar. 
 
    1. Hospitals use dozens of the same instruments daily.  Each instrument includes pages of inserts with instructions and warnings, generating massive amounts of paper waste.  The inserts can be replaced with information on a url.  It appears, however, that federal regulations may require the physical inserts.  This project will identify the relevant regulations and develop a strategy to change them (including drafting new regulations).    
    2.  Biochar is a form of charcoal from plant matter that is used as an additive for soil, and which promotes sequestration of carbon dioxide.  It may be a significant climate solution.  However, there are currently few regulations describing what constitutes biochar, it parameters and uses.  In order for farmers and ranchers to have confidence in the product and consistent results, there must be a regulatory framework.  This project will determine what regulations exist, what regulations are needed, and the process necessary to best promulgate those regulations.  The project will include outreach to the California Department of Food and Agriculture as well as biochar researchers.  
 
Position would involve 4-8 hours of work per week.
  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.
  • Prior experience or coursework in environmental law and/or ocean law is preferred, but not required. 
  • Please contact Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Promoting Environmental Justice

Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP, a San Francisco law firm representing community groups and public agencies in environmental, land use, and municipal law matters, funds one semester-long, student-led research project each academic year. To qualify, the project must investigate existing or cutting edge legal or policy tools at the California local/regional level aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Preference will be given to proposals that simultaneously address the promotion of environmental justice in disproportionally impacted communities. The application must propose a final work product, which may include a white paper, detailed research summary, and/or presentation (accompanied by written materials) in a relevant classroom or other academic setting.

  • Prior environmental law course experience is preferred. Position is paid, and would involve 4-6 hours per week. 
  • Please contact Arianna Wolff  if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of proposed project).