Student Experience

Nimasha Weliwitigoda '15“The Duke Environmental Law & Policy Clinic provided me with an experience beyond the mere reading of the subject in a course textbook. It 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.”

— Nimasha Weliwitigoda '15, Currently working at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

While in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, students use a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to work on a wide variety of matters. Students have represented community organizations in cases that stopped large polluters from damaging their health and environment - recently preventing the construction of a Navy landing field and a huge coal-burning cement kiln. Students have also helped to develop successful policies that advance organic and sustainable agriculture in North Carolina and around the nation.

Students in the Clinic participate in seminars and site visits, represent their clients at public hearings and agency proceedings, and are actively involved in litigation, transactional cases and policy development.

"... getting my hands dirty, that's not something you're going to get ... as a young attorney. As law students we've been exposed to only legal research and legal memorandia... what I found out from the Clinic is [lawyering] is so much more than that."


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.


Under the supervision of clinical faculty, interdisciplinary teams of law and graduate students work together to represent community clients.

Should I enroll in the Clinic? I heard it’s a lot of work!

Check out the FAQ


Meet the clinical faculty

Ryke Longest Ryke Longest is the Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. He supervises students practicing in the clinic and teaches the seminar portion of the clinic.

Learn more about Prof. Longest


Michelle Nowlin Michelle Nowlin is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Supervising Attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She supervises clinic students from the Law School and the Nicholas School of the Environment and co-teaches the seminar portion of the clinic.

Learn more about Prof. Nowlin


Student Journals and Organizations