Environmental and Land Use Law

Early in the planning of the Law School, UC Irvine identified environmental law as a core focus, building on the University's and Law School's longstanding commitment to the interdisciplinary study of environmental problems.  Through its strong environmental faculty, new Environmental Law Clinic, and active Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources, UCI Law has rapidly become a prominent regional and national center for exploring and tackling important environmental and land use issues.

Courses

UCI Law offers a full range of courses dedicated to preparing students for the practice of environmental and land use law through the exploration of foundational issues of statutory and regulatory analysis, ethics, politics, and economics.  Many of these courses also integrate skills components that explore issues in statutory interpretation, legal ethics, federalism, and standing through hypothetical problems as practiced from the perspective of environmental groups, government agencies, and regulated entity clients.

  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • International Environmental Law
  • Public Lands/Natural Resources Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Land Use and Development Law
  • Property
  • Community and Economic Development Clinic
  • Regulatory Design and Innovation

 

Hands-On Learning and Public Service

At UCI Law, students can get real-world environmental and natural resources law experience through clinics and provide public service in environmental law through pro bono work.  The Environmental Law Clinic provides students the opportunity to work on cases and matters involving environmental, natural resources and/or energy law issues. Clinic students take an active role in matter development and case work, assuming substantial responsibility at an early stage.  The Clinic represents clients involved in litigation (courts and administrative tribunals) and counsels clients in other fora.   The Clinic’s case load is diverse, spanning a wide range of environmental and natural resources law, with the potential to cover local, regional and national issues ranging from air, water, and coastal pollution, to issues dealing with wildlife and marine protection, toxics, climate change and energy.   The Clinic provides a rigorous and intellectually challenging educational experience for students interested in environmental and natural resources law, conservation, administrative law, and/or complex civil litigation. 

Environmental and land use law pro bono projects at UCI Law have included work with the Surfrider Foundation, the Orange County Coastkeeper, Communities for a Better Environment, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, and the Community and Economic Development unit of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Center

UCI Law is also home to the Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR), which strives to make UC Irvine School of Law a nationally recognized site for scholarship, education, community outreach, and public engagement on environmental, natural resources, and land use law.  The Center creates programs and other educational opportunities through which to disseminate information and facilitate dialogue about environmental issues.  The Center seeks to involve and engage UCI Law students in these research, educational, and public engagement activities.  Past and upcoming CLEANR events include:

  • Public conferences on environmental topics including environmental health and law (Fall 2009), water conservation in Mexico (Spring 2010), the Arctic (Fall 2010), California coastal conservation (Spring 2011), climate justice (Spring 2011), ice melt (Fall 2011), offshore oil drilling (Fall 2012), and ocean acidification (Spring 2013).
  • An annual conference series focused on environmental law issues and problems of particular interest to practitioners and policymakers.
  • An annual speaker series on topics including disaster law and GMOs
  • An annual Environmental Literature and Film Series on foundational literature and film on a range of environmental, land use, and natural resources topics.
  • An international interdisciplinary summer institute for future sustainability leaders that presents a range of seminars each July for members of the next generation of leaders of global sustainability from over 70 countries around the world.
  • Workshop roundtables that bring stakeholders together on a particular problem to disseminate information and facilitate dialogue about environmental issues.

CLEANR also actively collaborates with other environmental centers at UCI, including the university-wide Environment Institute, the School of Biological Sciences Center for Environmental Biology, and UCI’s Newkirk Center for Science and Society.

Additional Opportunities

Environmental law opportunities at UCI Law go beyond coursework, clinics and public service.  UCI Law sends a team of students to compete in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, the State Bar of California’s Student Negotiations Competition, or the National Animal Law Competition.  In addition, UCI Law students have established an Environmental Law Society and Student Animal Legal Defense Fund to provide fora for education, advocacy, networking, and scholarship on environmental law and animal law issues.

Faculty

UCI Law’s distinguished faculty includes experts on a wide variety of environmental and land use law subjects:

  • Image of Alejandro Camacho

    Alejandro Camacho

    Professor of Law and Director of the UCI Law Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources: Environmental law, Land Use Regulation, Natural Resources Law

  • Image of Joseph F. C. DiMento

    Joseph F. C. DiMento

    Professor of Law: Planning, Policy & Design, International Environmental Law, Law of the Sea, Land Use Planning

  • Image of Carrie Menkel-Meadow

    Carrie Menkel-Meadow

    Chancellor’s Professor of Law: Public and Multi-Party Dispute Resolution
  • Image of Michael Robinson-Dorn

    Michael Robinson-Dorn

    Clinical Professor of Law:  Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law

  • Image of Kerry Vandell

    Kerry Vandell

    School of Law and Deans Professor of Finance and Director, Center for Real Estate, Paul Merage School of Business: Real Estate Law; Environmental Law

  • Image of Benjamin van Rooij

    Benjamin van Rooij

    Professor of Law and Academic Director of the John S. & Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business & Law: Chinese Environmental Law and Regulation, Comparative Law