Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
The Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is training the next generation of leaders to solve environmental problems and providing access to justice in underserved communities.
In this clinic, students from Duke Law, Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and other graduate schools develop a broad array of tools and insights from their various disciplines — law, policy, and science — while working together to handle cases using interdisciplinary approaches.
Students develop skills in litigation, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution, and they often are able to contribute their own entrepreneurial solutions to environmental dilemmas. They use a collaborative approach to work on a wide variety of matters, encompassing water quality, air quality, natural resources conservation, sustainable development, public-trust resources, and environmental justice.
Students participate in classroom seminars and site investigations, represent their clients at public hearings and agency proceedings, and are actively involved in litigation, transactional cases, and policy development. They have helped community organizations stop large polluters from damaging human health and environment. Student teams worked alongside these groups to prevent the construction of a Navy jet landing field which would have condemned an environmental justice community and to prevent the building of a huge coal-burning cement kiln next to river already heavily polluted by mercury. They have also helped develop successful policies that advance organic and sustainable agriculture and have been instrumental in shaping regulations that protect children in licensed North Carolina childcare centers from lead in drinking water.
The clinic is a joint venture of Duke Law and the Nicholas School of the Environment.
The Environmental Law and Policy Clinic provided me with the tremendous practical experience of actually working with the laws and assisting clients in resolving real environmental legal issues affecting the community and ultimately inspired me to pursue a legal career in environmental law.
Fighting for environmental justice
Students, faculty, and clients talk about two recent cases in which the clinic worked with community organizations in North Carolina to fight for environmental justice.