500 Points of Light

How do law schools promote environmental law? Let me count the ways.

My favorite Sesame Street character is the Count.*  Like him, “I love to count Things.”  A list of law school programs in environment and energy law, recently compiled by Ed Richards at LSU,  gave me the opportunity to do just that.  Here are some of the things that I counted:

  • 39 environmental law clinics
  • 40 LLM programs.
  • 25 joint degree programs
  • 54 environmental law centers
  • 57 certificates of specialization
  • 22 environmental institutes

By themselves, the numbers don’t mean very much, but you have look beyond the numbers to see what they represent. Those thirty-nine clinics are busy filing lawsuits and amicus briefs, writing policy papers, and appearing in courts, legislative hearings, administrative proceedings, and public hearings.  Those 40 LLM programs are giving advanced training in energy, environment, and natural resources law not only to American law graduates but also to lawyers from around the world.  Each certificate of specialization means that the school in question offers enough of a portfolio of environment-related courses to make it worthwhile for students to keep track.  The Centers and Institutes are issuing white papers, briefing public officials, and educating the public about environmental issues.

That’s a lot of activity, day in and day out, undramatically trying to make the world a better place and training the future environmental lawyers and policymakers.  It’s not just in big cities or Blue States, either.  It’s also at law schools like Appalachian, Drake, Maine, and Montana.  Environmental issues are ubiquitous, and they need to be addressed at ground level, not just by international conferences or inside-the-beltway regulators.  It’s great to see how much law schools are doing to help.

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*While researching this post — I use the term “research” lightly here — I also discovered that the Count goes by different names in different countries’ versions of Sesame Street.  I think my favorite is the Russian version, Граф Знак (Graf Znak), although the Portuguese Conde de Contar also has a certain ring to it.  Who says writing a blog isn’t a form of scholarship??

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