While in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, students have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of matters. Students have represented community organizations in disputes involving new bridge construction, a proposed cement kiln, and a Navy sonar training range. Students have also helped to develop policy pertaining to the local agriculture movement and the development of the green economy.
Students in the Clinic participate in seminars and site field trips, represent their clients at public hearings and agency proceedings, and are actively involved in litigation and policy development.
For Michael Hiatt '09, the Clinic provided an opportunity to hone his one-on-one client skills. "My summer positions have been more litigation-focused, so it was very valuable to have a more hands-on, policy aspect," he says. "And working with the Nicholas students is a great opportunity -- it's one thing to have classes with them, but another to work with them in a cross-disciplinary environment."
Julia German '09 says that the Clinic taught her how to identify who the client is and how to focus in on their needs. "Law school trains us to go back and revise the type of work that you do," she says. "However, going into a meeting, being able to discern the complexity of interests and motivations represented, and then responding in a way that is non-threatening and beneficial for your client is a much different and invaluable skill set," she says.
Students must be in at least their fourth semester of law school (or second semester of graduate school) to enroll in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Generally, students may enroll in the clinic for only one semester, but they may enroll for an additional semester of "Advanced Clinic" if space permits and with the permission of the instructors.
All enrolled students will be required to provide a minimum of 100 hours of work per semester to the clinic. In addition, students must attend a weekly seminar and participate in weekly project review meetings.