Academics: Professional Training

Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic

6 Credits (Typically offered in the spring and the fall)

Students in the semester-long Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic represent environmental nonprofits, citizens’ groups and other community organizations seeking to protect and restore the environment of Virginia and other parts of the country. The clinic works closely with lawyers at the Southern Environmental Law Center, a preeminent environmental public interest law firm headquartered in Charlottesville. Students participate in a range of activities on environmental matters. They comment on administrative rules, participate in permitting proceedings, advocate before state administrative agencies and boards, and contribute to factual investigations and litigation. Although much of the clinic’s work consists of traditional legal advocacy and counseling, clinic students also typically deal with the role of broader public advocacy in environmental disputes. The clinic explores the limits of the law in protecting natural resources and examines cooperative and innovative ways of protecting and restoring the environment.

Students spend on average 16 hours per week working with the SELC attorneys in the SELC office; one hour in a weekly seminar (topics will range from substantive law overviews to policy discussions to presentations from guest speakers); and half an hour in a weekly dialogue with the environmental clinic supervisor (to be arranged between the student and the clinical supervisor). The clinic is limited to four students per semester.