Environmental justice is rooted in an understanding that people of color and low-income communities are more likely than the population at large to suffer adverse effects from major environmental permitting decisions. For decades, facilities like hazardous waste landfills, coal-fired power stations, and chemical manufacturing plants have been far more likely to be located in environmental justice communities than anywhere else. Zealously representing these communities may require a different understanding of the lawyer’s role than what is typically taught in law schools. It might even benefit from amendments to the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Cale Jaffe, Pledge to Keep Listening: The Role of Legal Ethics in Environmental Justice Advocacy, 54 American Bar Association Trends 13 (January 3, 2023).