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Summer Skills Environmental Litigation Clinic

LAW 767A – Environmental Litigation Clinic
Credits: 6 (4 clinical, 2 academic)
Faculty: Prof. Karl Coplan, Adjunct Prof. Daniel Estrin, Prof. Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Prerequisites: Evidence (required), Environmental Skills (required) and Environmental Survey (recommended). Prerequisites may be waived by the professors. Students must be in good academic standing to be considered for the clinic (and maintain that standing if accepted). Students must be rising second, third, or fourth year students.

Students, under faculty supervision, represent public interest environmental groups to bring citizen enforcement actions in state and federal courts on a variety of environmental and land use issues. Much of the work is with and for the Clinic's major client, Riverkeeper, Inc., which was established to protect the waters of the Hudson River system from the Adirondacks to Long Island Sound. Students also prepare amicus curiae briefs in significant national environmental litigation. In addition to the case work, seminars focus on substantive environmental law and on lawyering skills encountered in major civil litigation. Students will gain skills in case planning, integration of facts and law, client counseling, negotiation, drafting legal documents, and pretrial and trial advocacy.

Selection Factors: Permission of the professors, based upon application and interview, is required.

Though grades are important for selection into the Clinic, other factors are: (1) balance in the program of students' skills, needs, interests and background; (2) the demands of the anticipated caseload; and (3) interest in the environment and litigation as a career. The minimum time commitment outside of class is 20 hours a week. Clinical students must demonstrate ability to continue client responsibilities throughout exams and holidays when necessary. Schedules must be planned to accommodate the demands of the program.