“Environmental Law Clinics in a Changing Political Environment” was the theme of a conference held at Maryland Carey Law on November 16 & 17. Representatives from 30 of the nation’s 62 environmental law clinics attended the conference to brainstorm about strategies for promoting environmental protection. What emerged from the conference was a strong consensus about the value of increased collaboration among environmental law clinics.
The conference agenda was set in part by the participants who were surveyed in advance about their views concerning the most pressing environmental concerns. Environmental justice topped the list followed by climate change and efforts to roll back federal regulation. A lightning round session was held in which each of the conference participants summarized the work of their clinics. Considerable time was devoted to discussion of what future priorities should be and new strategies for improving the impact of environmental law clinics. Among the ideas that emerged was for clinics to support state efforts to retain whatever protections federal officials seek to roll back.
A panel of outside experts addressed how environmental law clinics can assist in working on a variety of issues. Jane English from the NAACP discussed how clinics can help pursue environmental justice. Rob Brenner of the Environmental Protection Network discussed how former EPA scientists and lawyers are available to assist with the work of clinics throughout the U.S. EPA attorney Steve Wolfson reviewed opportunities for clinics to work on global environmental issues. Leslie Knapp from the Maryland Association of Counties reviewed opportunities for clinics at the local level.
In 2007 Maryland’s Environmental Law Program hosted a similar event for global environmental law clinics (“Globalizing Clinical Education to Protect the World’s Health and Environment”). Several of the participants in this year’s conference also participated in that conference, including Tom Ankersen from the University of Florida, Helen Kang from Golden Gate University, Maxine Lipeles from Washington University and Edward Lloyd from Columbia. Hope Babcock from Georgetown University Law Center, who also participated in the 2007 conference, gave the keynote Fedder Lecture at this year’s conference (see article below). Participants provided us with great feedback saying that the conference was “inspiring”, creating a mutually-supportive collegial environment. Participants agreed that a rotating, annual conference of environmental law clinicians could help to foster greater collaboration among environmental law clinics.
A special thanks to the Ward Kershaw Environmental Symposium Fund, established in 1990 through the generosity of the principals of Ward Kershaw, P.A., for supporting this conference.
|Columbia||University of Arizona|
|Duke||University of California - Irvine|
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at
|University of Chicago|
|Emory||University of Denver|
|Georgetown University||University of Florida|
|George Washington University||University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law|
|Golden Gate University||University of Miami|
|Gonzaga University||University of Oregon|
|Harvard||University of Pittsburgh|
|Lewis & Clark, Earthrise Law Center||University of Texas - Austin|
|New York University||Vermont Law School|
|Northwestern University||Washington University - St. Louis|