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Environmental law includes pollution control and cleanup, land use and urban planning, public health, conservation, and more. Environmental lawyers are found in the private sector, in government agencies, and in nongovernmental organizations, and can focus solely on litigation matters or serve as regulatory advisors. Law students should consider training in a variety of legal areas, including environmental law, business law, and courses focused on regulatory agencies.

Environmental Law Resources

Environmental Law Faculty

Environmental Law Path View

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  • Core Course

    Environmental Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    This course introduces students to policies, statutes, and common law addressing our relationship with the natural environment. Students study the major federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Federal Superfund Act, among others. The class explores key provisions of those acts, case law interpreting their applicability, and their impacts on environmental conditions, economics, and politics. In addition, students discuss legal and political theories of environmental protection, its constitutional grounding, and its administration by the US Environmental Protection Agency and other federal and state agencies. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Core Course

    Environmental Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Students in this clinical component spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours each week working at government agencies, private firms, or public interest organizations in the area of environmental law. Students will submit weekly journals, describing and reflecting on their experiences in the field, and will meet in a series of seminars with the course instructor and/or the Clinical Director to explore the relationship between the principles covered in the substantive class and the students' fieldwork. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Core Course

    Environmental Advocacy

    2 Credit (Professional Skills)

    This course offers students the opportunity to explore current environmental law issues in some depth, with a particular emphasis on the efforts of advocacy groups to promote environmental stewardship. Topics may include ecoterrorism, environmental justice, climate disruption, endangered species protection, environmental refugeeism, food and nutrition, renewable energy policy, and international environmental agreements, among many others. Advocacy strategies considered may include participation in regulatory processes, litigation, public education, coalition building, protest, and direct action. Students will explore the legal aspects and ramifications of such efforts, with an emphasis on the skills and tools environmental lawyers need to aid, defend, or combat environmental advocates. Research, writing, and presenting are components of the course. The course does not include an exam. Prior study of environmental law is not required. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Core Course

    Energy Law and Policy

    2 Credit (Seminar)

    This course covers laws and policies affecting the US energy industry. The course will review the foundations of monopoly electric and gas utilities; the regulatory bodies that oversee these industries, rate-making policy, and modern energy policy issues, such as energy crises, energy supply issues, decoupling of rates from sales, incentive programs for energy efficiency, and renewable energy supply; and the development of a "smart" or modern electric grid. Prior study of administrative law and/or environmental law would be helpful, but is not required. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirements.

  • Recommended Course

    Administrative Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    This course is designed for students interested in regulatory law and those who seek additional coverage of pertinent constitutional law topics. Coverage includes the sources and nature of agency authority, agency rule making and adjudication, and judicial review of agency action. Constitutional issues addressed include the interplay of power among the three federal branches, procedural due process, and justiciability issues such as standing, ripeness, and mootness. Special emphasis is placed on the federal Administrative Procedure Act; state analogs may be studied as well. Attention also may be given to the internal functioning of typical administrative bodies and to the relationship between regulators and the regulated community.

  • Recommended Course

    Land Use Law

    3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    Students in this course explore various common law principles, constitutional and regulatory issues, and practical skills required for the practice of land use law. The law of nuisance, takings, substantive and procedural due process, zoning, subdivision development, and area planning are all likely topics of coverage. Practice-skills development may be a prominent component of the course, and students should emerge with practical knowledge of the processes for seeking variances, special permit, and site- plan review, among other development-related processes. Timely issues such as affordable housing, growth management, green development, environmental impact review, and energy alternatives may be covered, depending on student interest. Research, writing, and presenting may be components of the course, which may or may not include an exam. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Administrative Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Placements inside agencies or in organizations or offices that work before agencies are within the broad scope of the clinic. Students in this clinical component spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours per week on fieldwork. Given the broad range of possible placements, students' experiences can range from acting as a law clerk to an administrative law judge or hearing officer to advocating before an agency. Students will submit weekly journals, describing and reflecting on their experiences in the field, and will meet in a series of seminars with the course instructor and/or the Clinical Director to explore the relationship between the principles covered in the substantive class and the students' fieldwork. NOTE: ELIGIBILITY FOR SOME PLACEMENTS IN THIS COURSE IS DEPENDENT ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A BACKGROUND CHECK. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    American Indian Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Studies the law that governs the relationship between Indian tribes, the states, and the United States. Topics include the history of federal Indian law and policy; the federal-tribal relationship; tribal sovereignty; tribal treaty rights and land claims; criminal and civil jurisdiction on reservations; taxation and regulation of reservation economic development, including environmental regulation and regulation of Indian gaming; Indian religion and culture; and indigenous peoples' rights under international law.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Land Use Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Students in this clinical component spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours each week working primarily for suburban Boston city and town counsel offices, zoning boards, or private firms. Students will submit weekly journals, describing and reflecting on their experiences in the field, and will meet in a series of seminars with the course instructor and/or the Clinical Director to explore the relationship between the principles covered in the substantive class and the students' fieldwork. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Modern Real Estate Transactions

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Focuses on three principal areas: real estate sales, conveyancing, and mortgage law. In the area of sales transactions, the course covers such topics as the lawyer's professional responsibility, duties owed by brokers to sellers and buyers, offers of purchase, purchase and sales agreements, remedies for breach, and closing. In the area of conveyancing, the course covers the requisites and construction of deeds, escrows, surveyor malpractice, recording procedures, liabilities of grantors for defective conditions, title searches, title abstracts, and title insurance. In the mortgage law component, the course covers the defining characteristics and standard provisions of a mortgage, mortgage substitutes, discrimination in lending, lien priorities and subordination of interests, assignments by mortgagees, transfer by mortgagors, foreclosures, redemption, waste, usury, and fixture security interests. The course emphasizes the negotiation and proper drafting of instruments.

  • Other Course

    Negotiation

    3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    Explores the theory and the art of resolving conflict through negotiation. Various styles are presented for comparison and analysis. Students are urged to evaluate their own intuitive style and to experience others. Practical experience is achieved through one-on-one and group negotiations exercises. The theory of conflict, strategic choice, ethical issues, and the negotiator's dilemma are presented in a variety of substantive contexts. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirement.