Clinics

International Environmental Law Clinic

LW.10289
Professor Richard Stewart
Professor Bryce Rudyk
Open to 2L, 3L and LL.M. students*
Maximum of 7 students
Fall semester
2 credits (possibility of 3 credits in some cases)**
Prerequisites/Co-requisites***

Introduction

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 U.S. 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 credit allocation is 2 hours. Some projects may warrant 3 credit hours with agreement of the instructor.

Course Description

Fieldwork

The clinic instructors will develop a portfolio of placement opportunities and seek to match student’s interests and experience with client needs. The instructors will meet with students on a regular basis (usually bi-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:

  • Preparation of a handbook on Chinese citizens’ legal rights to public access to environmental information for the Beijing office of a major US-based environmental organization.
  • 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.
  • Research for a US NGO on extraterritorial effect of domestic environmental legislation.
  • Advice to a small island state on access international finance for renewable energy projects.
  • Research for an international NGO and a developing country on the future climate change regime, including how to reform the negotiating process and how to structure the obligations of states under the UNFCCC.

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 Basilio Valdehuesa, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 411, (212) 992-8165.

The International Environmental Law Clinic welcomes LL.M. enrolments. Please note that the final deadline for LL.M.s applying to this clinic for the Spring 2014 semester is July 14, 2014. There is a separate application form for LL.M. students. Please use that form and submit it along with supporting materials to CAMS. For questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Basilio Valdehuesa. Admitted LL.M. students with a background in environmental / international law who are interested in taking this Clinic should contact Basilio Valdehuesa 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

Students who took the Clinic in Spring 2014:

Nathaniel Blood-Patterson
Eliza Northrop
Claire Tan
Adriana Vidal
Kylie Wilson
Kate Yesberg
Apostolos Zampounidis


* 3L applicants will receive a preference over 2Ls. The International Environmental Law Clinic welcomes LL.M. enrollments. See information in text about LL.M. applications.

** 2-3 clinical credits, depending on clinic project scope. There is also a possibility of developing some Clinic projects into written work as a directed research project for two credits that can satisfy the J.D. written work requirement.

*** Students enrolled in the Clinic must be taking or have taken courses in environmental law, international environmental law and/or public international law or have relevant practical experience. Please address any questions about these requirements to Professor Stewart.

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