Student Life/Professional Development

Students have a broad selection of activities at Maryland Carey Law to match their varied environmental law interests. Through involvement in these activities, you can exemplify the Environmental Law Program’s common goal to preserve, protect, and advocate for bettering the planet’s natural environment.

Maryland Environmental Law Society (MELS)

Students have the opportunity to participate in the Maryland Environmental Law Society (MELS), the law school's student-run environmental organization. MELS provides students opportunities to address today's environmental issues, lead and organize an environmental advocacy organization, and network with professionals in the field.

Moot Court Teams

Through the Environmental Law Program’s Environmental Advocacy course, students learn by doing and receive individualized feedback from professors, guest judges and classmates while honing their advocacy and negotiation skills. The course culminates with students competing in environmental moot court or negotiation competition, including: Stetson International Environmental Moot Court CompetitionPace Law School's National Environmental Law Moot Court CompetitionRichmond School of Law National Environmental Negotiation Competition and the West Virginia University National Energy Moot Court Competition(link to more info under co-curricular/how to sign up?)

Environmental Law Films

Every fall, students enrolled in Professor Percival’s Environmental Law Course are given the option to create an environmental law film. In the spring, the Environmental Law Program hosts the Golden Tree Awards Ceremony where the films are judged and awarded based upon various categories like Best Picture, Best Animation and Most Humorous.

Annual Environmental Law Golden Tree Film Festival and Awards Ceremony

Since 2002, students in Professor Percival's Environmental Law class have enjoyed an unusual assignment: to split up into small groups and make a short film about an environmental issue that concerns them. The purpose of the ungraded assignment is to make students think about how to communicate complicated regulatory policy issues to the public. With the rise of You Tube and other new media outlets, digital video-making has become a valuable tool for influencing public opinion.

Students in the Fall 2016 Environmental Law class made seven environmental law films. As in past years the films demonstrated their enormous creativity. The films addressed a wide variety of topics ranging from climate change, sustainable vineyards to the Northern Sneakhead. On February 15th, 2017, the coveted "Golden Tree" awards will be presented to the best films in ten categories as voted by an independent panel of judges (Prof. Taunya Banks, Mark Nevitt, Dominic Dachille, Prof. Kathleen Hoke, and Kaia Rose).

International Opportunities

Students in the Environmental Law Program at Maryland Carey Law have the opportunity to travel abroad on study tours or to make presentations at international conferences. In recent years, students have gone to Indonesia, China, the Middle East, and Norway.

Thanks to the generosity of Joel D. Fedder and his wife, Ellen, a Fedder Scholars Program provides grants for students of the Environmental Law Program to participate in the annual IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium. To see the entire program, abstracts, and videos of the presentations, visit our archives here. 

Every other spring break, Professor Percival leads students and alumni on a trip through China. Students meet with Chinese environmental law students, environmental groups, and government officials, exploring China’s nascent environmental movement as well as iconic tourist sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. These trips are held on the spring breaks of even numbered years. See highlights from the 5th Biennial Environmental law Program China Trip.

The Environmental Law Program, in conjunction with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies has  participated in multiple projects that have brought a team of students to the Middle East.   The team has worked on investigating the efficacy of reusing greywater for smallholder agricultural development in off-grid communities. The project involved the interdisciplinary collaboration among University of Maryland, Baltimore's schools of Law, Nursing, and Dentistry, and the Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Park.  Learn more about it here.

Conferences and Networking

The Environmental Law Program hosts numerous events throughout the year that give students professional development opportunities. The annual Environmental Law Symposium features presentations by nationally known experts on various environmental topics, including: environmental federalism, the future of environmental liability, environmental justice, lead poisoning, global warming and climate change, smart growth, toxic tort litigation, wetlands protection, control of toxic water pollution, corporate environmentalism, global environmental accountability and coastal erosion. In November the Environmental Law Program hosts its annual wine tasting in which current students and alumni working in environmental law socialize.