PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

UVA Law School

The Law School's support for learning opportunities in environmental and land use law goes deeper than course offerings.

PLACE Projects

With funds provided in part by the Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, PLACE will sponsor teaching, discourse, research and community engagement on questions of environmental law and social justice as they relate to diverse communities and places. Areas of focus for these special projects include environmental justice; the connections between urban and rural environments; relationships among processes at local, regional and global scales; social and environmental changes affecting communities; and law’s role in defining and protecting the values of places.

On March 27, 2020, a PLACE-sponsored conference on Communities and Climate Change will consider the impacts of global change as it manifests distinctively on a local level. Adapting to impacts and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions present critical trade-offs at the community scale, and between communities and broader scales. A central concern of PLACE is the laws, policies and other tools that are needed to help societies make these decisions in a fair and rational way.


Over the past dozen years, the Law School has sponsored national conferences on growth management, nature conservation, environmental contracting, revitalization of contaminated land, transboundary watershed management and climate change. These symposia attracted leading practitioners and scholars and top government officials. Law students help plan these conferences and edit and publish the papers that emerge from them.

Virginia Environmental Law Journal

Founded in 1979 and managed and edited by students, the journal is a leader in environmental legal scholarship. Website

Virginia Environmental Law Forum

This popular and active student group hosts speakers and networking events, and sponsors law students who participate in environmental moot court and negotiation competitions. The forum, in cooperation with the Law School’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center, also provides pro bono opportunities to students interested in environmental law. Students may choose from a range of environmental pro bono projects on behalf of public interest and governmental clients that have requested assistance. Forum members also have opportunities to network with environmental law employers and professionals.

Food Law at Virginia Association

FLAVA strives to create a network of students, professionals and community members who are interested in creating a more just and sustainable food system. Website

Virginia Animal Law Society

The Virginia Animal Law Society is dedicated to providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. Website

Public Service

The Law School has made a strong financial commitment to students choosing to pursue public interest careers. The school’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center helps students interested in environmental law find summer internships and postgraduate employment. Public Service Center

Andy Kriha, Cale Jaffe and Dani Gibbons