LW.10289 / LW.12641
Professor Katrina Wyman
Professor Bryce Rudyk
Open to 2L, 3L, and LLM students*
Maximum of 8 students
Fall semester
6 credits**


This clinic offers students opportunities to bring together theory and practice to provide innovative situations to cutting-edge problems in international and developing country environmental law and sustainable development. Clients include environmental groups located in the US and abroad; the United Nations and its various agencies; the World Bank and other multilateral development agencies and other international organizations; and governments of developing countries and countries with transition economies. Depending on the client assignment, students may draft laws or regulations; research and prepare position papers for clients on the negotiation and implementation of international and regional environmental agreements; or analyze and develop strategies on environmental law reforms and policy initiatives.

The regular allocation is 2 credits. Some projects may warrant 3 credits with agreement of the instructor.

Course Description


The clinic instructor will develop a portfolio of placement opportunities and seek to match student’s interests and experience with client needs. The instructor will meet with students weekly to review progress and provide assistance. Most placements call for student preparation of a substantial memorandum, together with supporting documentation, analyzing the legal and policy issues presented by the client project and presenting options and recommendations for client action. Some projects may involve drafting laws or regulations or the development of annotated drafts of proposed international environmental agreements or reports. Students will be expected to devote approximately 10-12 hours a week to client projects (15-18 hours/weeks for 3 credits). Given that international and developing country environmental law is still in a relatively early stage, students will have to develop innovative approaches to the questions of law and policy involved in their projects. Accordingly, students will have to function as law reformers as well as attorneys working within an existing body of law.

Projects that students in the Clinic have worked on during the past several years include the following:

  • Research for an international NGO on benefit sharing agreements for natural resource extraction in developing countries.
  • Legal advice for a small nation concerning a maritime boundary dispute and associate natural resource rights.
  • Research for a group of rainforest nations on novel international financial instruments for sustainable development.
  • Research for an international NGO on renewable energy legislation in South East Asia.
  • Research and analysis in support of a review of forestry legislation in Liberia for their Ministry of Justice.
  • Legal research for a number of small island developing states concerning climate change, sea level rise, maritime baselines and potential legal recourses.
  • Advice to a small island state on access international finance for renewable energy projects.
  • Research for a business NGO on increased private sector engagement in climate change and the international negotiations.

Application Procedure

All J.D. students interested in applying for the Clinic should submit via CAMS the standard application, resume and unofficial transcript, as well as a writing sample. 3L applicants will receive a preference over 2Ls. To arrange an interview, please contact  Vanderbilt Hall, Room 411, (212) 992-8165.

The UN Diplomacy Clinic welcomes LLM enrollments. Please note that the application period for LL.M.s applying to this clinic will take place in June 2018. There is a separate application form for LLM students. Please use that form and submit it along with supporting materials to CAMS. For questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Michelle Wolfson. Admitted LLM students with a background in environmental / international law who are interested in taking this Clinic should contact Michelle Wolfson via email as soon as possible with a statement of their interest and background in order to enhance their chances of admission to the clinic.

Student Contacts

As this clinic will first be offered in Fall 2018, there are no student contacts. Applciants with questions are encouraged to contact Professors Rudyk or Wyman.

* 3L applicants will receive a preference over 2Ls. The UN Diplomacy Clinic welcomes LLM enrollments. See information in text about LLM applications.

** 6 credits comprised of 3 clinical credits and 3 seminar credits. There is also a possibility of developing some Clinic projects into written work as a directed research project for 2 credits that can satisfy the J.D. written work requirement.

*** Students enrolled in the Clinic are stronlgy encouraged to take courses in international environmental law, public international law and/or international organizations or have  relevant practical experience. Please address any questions about these requirements to Professor Rudyk.