Eligibility | Pace Law School

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Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic
Law 767A and 767B
6 credits (4 clinical, 2 academic)*
Professors Karl S. Coplan and Todd D. Ommen

Students must be in their second, third, or fourth year.  Students must be available for clinic work and classes during the day. 

Students may apply for a maximum of two semesters at the Clinic.  The Clinic class curriculum for Spring and Summer semesters is the same, so students may not enroll for both Spring and Summer.

Take advantage of the opportunity to actually practice environmental law at a time when citizen and state enforcement are absolutely critical.  The Environmental Litigation Clinic provides student interns with the opportunity to represent public interest environmental groups bringing citizen enforcement actions in state and federal courts on a variety of environmental and land use issues, most often seeking to stop pollution in the Hudson River and surrounding waters. As EPA continues to roll back regulations and defund enforcement of environmental laws, these citizen actions will be the last line of defense in protecting the environment, as well as forcing EPA to do the job it is required to do.  The primary client of the Clinic is Riverkeeper, Inc., and students serve as attorneys for Riverkeeper and other clinic clients by, wherever possible, researching and drafting litigation papers, appearing in court, arguing motions, preparing for and conducting hearings, and all other necessary attorney work.

In addition to the case work, two weekly seminars focus on substantive environmental law and on lawyering skills encountered in major civil litigation. Skill areas include: case planning, integration of facts and law, client counseling, negotiation, drafting legal documents, and pretrial and trial advocacy.

The Environmental Litigation Clinic requires a substantial time commitment. The minimum time commitment outside of class is 20 hours a week (Clinic interns may choose to do their work at the Clinic or elsewhere). Clinical students must continue client responsibilities throughout exams and holidays when necessary. Schedules must be planned to accommodate the demands of the program.

Permission of the professors, based upon application and interview, is required.  The prerequisites are Evidence and either Environmental Skills or Environmental Survey. (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). 

Please note that simultaneous internships/externships are not permitted while enrolled in the Clinic for the Spring or Fall semesters.  Simultaneous internships/externships may be permitted in the Summer, subject to conflict checks.

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; 3) interest in the environment and litigation as a career.