Legal education

Dear 1L . . . .

Welcome to law school. You’re just in time to help save the world.

Dear 1L: You’ve gotten to law school at a crucial time for the future of the planet. The good news is that you’re arriving at a pivotal point when your work as a lawyer can make a big difference. The bad news is that we have a limited amount of time to get the situation …


Every Day I’m Hustling, Or: What To Do For Earth Day?

Environmental Voter Project’s Election Engagement Is The Best Way To Celebrate The Day

What to do for Earth Day? For me, the answer is obvious: send 2,000 text messages. That is neither as difficult nor as ridiculous as it sounds. I do it most days, actually. For the last several weeks I have been volunteering with the Environmental Voter Project, to me one of the most interesting and …


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 …


What Is An Externality?

And Could the Leading Property Text Have Gotten It Wrong?

The idea of an externality is fundamental to environmental law and policy — and indeed, to just about any aspect of the common law (at least outside criminal law, and maybe even there). When I teach first-year Property law, I have to introduce the concept pretty early on in the course, as I imagine most …


Environmental Law as a Three-Legged Stool

Ad. Law provides the process and institutions, while Torts and Property concepts underly the substance.

Environmental law is a formidable tangle of long, complicated statutes and sometimes arcane judicial doctrines.  But underneath all that, I’d like to suggest, there’s a very simple structure, rooted in legal basics. The procedural and structural framework for environmental law is provided by administrative law, supplemented in a few areas like Superfund by ordinary civil …


The Emergence of Climate Law Courses

It’s an increasingly widespread law school course.

The U.S. legal system has only begun to address climate change in the past ten or fifteen years. It was inevitable that this subject would infiltrate basic environmental law courses, especially given that there have now been three Supreme Court cases on the subject.  But climate change is now increasingly the subject of separate courses …


More on the Two-Year Law School

Today, Berkeley and a number of other law schools offer specialized courses and activities in the environmental area.  For instance, this year at Berkeley, we’re offering Biodiversity Law, Energy Project Development & Finance Class, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law Writing Seminar, Environmental Law and Policy, Land Use Law, and the Law of Hazardous Waste, along with a field placement program.  Students can also …


Environmental Law and the Two-Year Law School

The NY Times reports that Obama has endorsed the idea of two-year law schools: On Friday, he questioned the utility of a third year of classes and suggested that students use their final two semesters to gain work experience. “In the first two years, young people are learning in the classroom,” Mr. Obama said. “The …


Learning About Renewable Energy in Dialogue with Al Gore and Steve Chu

Two of my colleagues, Jennifer Granholm and Steve Weissman, offered an exciting new course this semester, culminating in a visit with the chair of FERC and with Energy Secretary Chu. Each student examined the renewable energy programs and opportunities in one particular state and then worked as part of a regional team to design an …