Sustainability Law Clinic
The Sustainability Law Clinic provides students with an opportunity to work on emerging issues at the intersection of environmental law and policy and civil rights law. With a focus on environmental justice issues, clinical law students approach case work from a client empowerment perspective. Minority and low-income communities historically bear a disproportionate burden with respect to environmental and public health risks without a fair share of the benefits, and lack access to opportunities for meaningful involvement in the decision-making process. Environmental justice is the fair treatment of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity or class, with an emphasis on self-determination.
All students enrolled in the Sustainability Law Clinic work to empower impacted client communities through direct advocacy and capacity building efforts. This work includes significant factual investigation, legal research and analysis, and development of dual-strategy approaches to include both legal and non-legal avenues. Students are encouraged to address issues around education and awareness gaps and participate in all aspects of community-based movements around pertinent issues.
Students learn to develop legal strategies with an understanding that this is but one tool to utilize in advocating for their clients, and they gain important perspectives on the need for long-term solutions that educate, build or advance a movement, and address root problems. Sustainability law issues include traditional environmental regulation and enforcement, housing and transportation infrastructure policy, land use and Brownfield redevelopment, and building consensus among all interested stakeholders. Students work collaboratively with a range of partners and clients, including impacted communities, grassroots organizations, legal advocacy groups and administrative bodies.
In the Sustainability Law Clinic, we strive to ensure each student will have opportunities to engage in real-life issues that impact disenfranchised populations and obtain practical skills to provide a holistic legal experience. Students gain a broader perspective of environmental policy and regulation and come to understand sustainability as requiring equity and opportunity for all.