Registration is now open for the 2015 edition of the State Bar of California’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite. That conference, held each fall, is unquestionably the premier environmental law-related event in California. I would go so far as to argue that it’s actually the top such program in the entire United States.
The Yosemite Conference annually draws approximately 400 of California’s top environmental lawyers from private practice, government and the public interest sector. They’re joined each October by environmental policymakers from the federal and state governments, environmental scientists, journalists, environmental scholars and–especially in recent years–a growing number of environmental law students from the nation’s top law schools.
The State Bar’s Environmental Law Section has organized and sponsored the Yosemite Conference for over two decades. And lest you think it’s only me that holds the conference in such high regard, the sustained excellence of the program has been recognized by many groups and environmental experts. In 2012, for example, the American Bar Association presented the Yosemite Conference with its “State or Local Environmental Program of the Year” award.
The setting for the conference doesn’t hurt, either: the four-day event is held just outside the southern entrance to spectacular Yosemite National Park, in Fish Camp, California. The park features prominently in the conference each fall, with outdoor educational programs and day hikes held in Yosemite as regular features of the Yosemite Conference–as is the case again this year.
The Yosemite Conference offers well over 30 plenary addresses, panels, workshops and outdoor programs. The subject matter is intentionally broad, with substantive programs designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of environmental law practitioners.
Given California’s protracted drought, it should probably come as no surprise that a significant number of the 2015 Yosemite Conference panels focus on various aspects of water law and policy. But this year’s conference agenda also features programs on topics ranging from Clean Air Act developments to hazardous waste law to how California can increase diversity within the environmental bar. Also featured are perennial favorite programs assessing the past year’s key developments concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and reviewing the most important, recent environmental law decisions rendered by the highest federal and California state courts.
If the Yosemite Conference sounds like a great way to learn about the major, current trends in environmental law and policy, it is. The conference is also a superb opportunity to renew professional acquaintances and make new ones. I plan to attend the 2015 Yosemite Conference, along with fellow Legal Planeteers Holly Doremus (from Berkeley Law) and Sean Hecht (from U.C.L.A. Law), among others. I hope to see and connect in person with many of our Legal Planet readers at this fall’s Yosemite Conference as well.