Environmental Law Clinic
The Environmental Law Clinic provides students with the opportunity to work on important and challenging matters involving the protection and enhancement of the environment and human health. Clinic students take an early and active role representing clients in non-litigation and litigation matters. Students advocate on behalf of clients in courts and administrative tribunals, and provide advice and counseling to clients on policy and strategic matters.
The Clinic’s docket is diverse, spanning a wide range of environmental and natural resources law, covering local, regional and national issues. As a result, the Clinic provides a rigorous and intellectually challenging educational experience with broad application for students beyond environmental law. Students develop their problem-solving and advocacy skills and may screen new matters; meet with and interview clients, community leaders, witnesses and agency personnel; investigate and develop facts; hone writing and oral advocacy skills; advise and counsel clients; negotiate, mediate or litigate matters; and collaborate with lawyers, policymakers and others. The Clinic also strives to empower its clients and inform the larger community about environmental issues and strategies.
In addition, the Clinic works closely with UCI Law’s Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR).
“The Environmental Law Clinic was fantastic. I got to write a reply brief and then argue a motion for a writ of mandate in court, so I was in court for several weeks in a row watching this bench trial happen, and then I got to argue in court. It was the first time that I got to be a real lawyer—not for moot court, not for class, but for real—and I felt 100% prepared to do it, which was a really awesome feeling.” — AK Bennett ’14, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright, Los Angeles
The Cause is 100% Natural
In the first three years of the Clinic, students have:
- Provided guidance for coastal communities interested in adapting to sea level rise
- Advised grassroots organizations fighting proposed oil drilling and fracking in their coastal community
- Commented on and challenged proposed large-scale water mining and energy projects threatening important desert resources and public lands
- Worked with a national organization on proposed regulations for the protection of marine mammals
- Investigated non-compliance with federal and state environmental laws to abate pollution
- Conferred with tribal leaders concerning threats to local tribal lands and resources
- Provided training to non-profit organizations and individuals regarding state and federal environmental laws
In the News
- Environmental Law Clinic attorney Suma Peesapati quoted re: environmental health concerns in Oak View neighborhood – Orange County Register
- Environmental Law Clinic helps HB Oak View residents monitor potential hazards related to local garbage dump – OC Weekly
- Aaron Brynildson ’15 argues before Tenth Circuit Court to protect National Forest lands
- Prof. Robinson-Dorn on lawsuit against desert water project (video) - PBS SoCal Insider
- Environmental Law Clinic helps in Mojave Desert preservation (PDF) - NPCA newsletter
- Student attorneys work with Coastkeepers - San Diego Coastkeeper blog