The Environmental Law Clinic is a client-driven course based on representation of nongovernmental organizations. This Clinic will improve your skills in analyzing problems in environmental law and policy, and allow you to work directly with advocates on environmental issues. Our clients are typically nonprofits or other nongovernmental entities seeking legal advice on advocacy in the legislative or regulatory arenas related to a wide range of environmental issues, including clean water, renewable energy, utilities law and concentrated animal feeding operations.
This year-long Clinic engages in projects related to achieving environmental and energy sustainability through the management of land, water and energy resources. Projects often include the following: (1) providing advice to local NGOs; (2) representation of NGOs before an administrative state body; (3) production of legal research reports; (4) support organizations participating in regulatory decision-making processes, such as the Public Utilities Commission; and (5) education or advocacy presentations to citizens and elected or appointed decision-makers. Client management skills and legal research methods are honed throughout the year-long projects.
Examples of past clients/projects include:
- Supported nonprofits on submission of expert testimony, evidentiary hearing and post-hearing briefing on the cost of pollutants emitted by large energy facilities
- Assisted with legislative work of an animal rights group on the environmental law related to concentrated animal feeding operations
- Provided policy and legal advice to a consortium of water quality advocacy groups on strategies for improving groundwater quality and the application of the Clean Water Act by state agencies
- Assisted a nonprofit in writing comments on solar energy valuation for the Public Utilities Commission.
Additional Commitments: Cases are managed in partnership with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.
What to expect when working on cases and with clients: Typically the clinic takes on 2 - 4 year-long projects that require the students to work in small groups directly with clients in developing the scope of the project, conducting research, supporting the clients' advocacy work and completing a final product.
NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.