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.
The Byron and Max L. Berman Student Fellowship Fund was established in June 1990 through the generosity of the family and friends of Max Berman (’29) and Byron Berman (’59). Max Berman represented a tradition of high ideals, ethical principles and good judgment, which Byron continued in his legal practice and passed on to his sons, Scott and Blair. Each year, the Berman Student Fellowship Fund supports a student research assistant working in the environmental law program. The goal of the Berman Student Fellowship is to encourage students to gain valuable research and writing experience with University of Maryland Carey Law School professors. Since its inception, the fellowship has been awarded to a research assistant working in the environmental law program.
Fedder Scholars: 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, Malaysia 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.
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.
Transnational Environmental Accountability (TEA) Project:
The TEA project focuses on strategies for holding multinational companies accountable for harm caused by their activities in developing countries. Multinational companies often cause environmental harm and social displacement when operating in the developing world and their work can result in severe conflicts with local populations. Major infrastructure projects also have been pursued by these same companies without sufficient attention to mitigating their environmental consequences, including expanded carbon footprints that exacerbate the problem of climate change. The TEA Project combines the efforts of Maryland Carey Law’s award-winning Environmental Law Clinic, under the direction of Seema Kakade, JD, and its Global Environmental Law Seminar, taught by Robert Percival, MA, JD.They will partner with Zhang Jingjing, MPA, LLB, LLM, an award-winning public interest environmental lawyer who will be joining Maryland Carey Law’s Environmental Law Program as an adjunct professor.
Environmental law clinic and seminar students are participating in a variety of activities to promote improved environmental performance by multinational companies operating in the developing world including legal research to enhance awareness of environmental standards and help with the development of new laws and policies to improve the environmental performance of multinationals. They are assisting Friends of Nature, a leading environmental NGO in China that is seeking to identify strategies for using litigation to hold multinationals accountable for harm in the developing world. The project has secured funding that will enable Maryland Carey Law students and faculty to travel to Africa, South America, and China and to host workshops showcasing their work.
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 Competition, West Virginia University National Energy Moot Court Competition, and others.
Annual Fedder Lecture and Wine Tasting
Each November the Environmental Law Program hosts a lecture and wine tasting, featuring a distinguished Fedder Lecture Speaker who speaks on various environmental law topics, followed by a wine tasting in which Professor Percival shares his robust private wine collection with us. This event is for environmental law alumni and friends of the program! See past Fedder Lectures here:
2022 Robert Bilott - Pending
2021 – no lecture due to the pandemic
2020 – no lecture due to the pandemic
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 2019 Environmental Law class made five environmental law films. As in past years the films demonstrated their enormous creativity. The films addressed a wide variety of topics ranging from land use to the environmental cleanliness of Baltimore City. On March 4, 2020, the coveted "Golden Tree" awards were presented to the best films in ten categories as voted by an independent panel of judges (Prof. Taunya Banks, John Brosnan and Prof. Kathleen Hoke.)
- Sand Use & Development By: Matthew Kotrocco
- Clean Water Act §311 By: Justin Valentino
- This Is Not OK By: Tori Long, Jackie Kapinos, Kyra Wheatley and Lauren Stettz
- Less Plastic, Please! By: Karin Russ
- Is Baltimore a Clean City? By: Michael Spanos, Mike Rada & T.J. Creevy
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.
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.
Another interesting international opportunity is to take the Environmental Justice, Human Rights and Public Health in Malawi course. Maryland Carey Law faculty (Bob Percival, Peter Danchin and Diane Hoffman) have partnered with the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College Faculty of Law faculty led by Chikosa Banda to launch an innovative seminar, Environmental Justice, Human Rights and Public Health, for a combined class of Maryland and Malawi law students. The course builds upon previous work by these faculty members who have fostered a working relationship between Maryland Carey Law and the University of Malawi addressing public health and environmental issues. This course focuses on how environmental law, human rights law, and public health law frame environmental justice challenges driven by climate change. Students who take this course have the change to travel to Malawi and work closely with our colleagues at Chancellor College.
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.