In a world facing heightened environmental and economic challenges, energy and environmental law have taken on a renewed importance. Students enrolled in the Energy and Environmental Law Concentration (the Concentration) will receive instruction and training in subject areas fundamental to the practice of energy and environmental law and in specialized courses related to their individualized career goals. The Concentration provides a robust framework to guide students seeking to acquire the substantive legal knowledge, skills, work experiences, and professional contacts important for embarking on a career in the energy and/or environmental field(s).
Faculty Concentration Advisors and Advisement
Professors James Hickey and Katrina Kuh will serve as faculty concentration advisors for this Concentration. Concentration faculty advisors may modify the Concentration requirements in exceptional circumstances upon notice to the Dean.
Guidance from a student's concentration faculty advisor is an important element of successful completion of the Concentration. A concentration faculty advisor must approve a student's enrollment in the Concentration. Students should meet with their advisor as soon as they find themselves interested in the Concentration, but in no event later than the course selection deadline for their fourth semester of study (or fifth semester of study for part-time students). Students interested in enrolling in the Concentration are strongly encouraged to take Environmental Law during their third semester of study (or fourth semester of study for part-time students). An advisor may permit a student to enroll in the Concentration after the course selection deadline for their fourth semester of study (or fifth semester of study for part-time students), but only after determining that the student can realistically meet the requirements of the Concentration prior to graduation.
Once enrolled in the Concentration, students must meet with their faculty advisor at least once per semester, prior to that semester's course selection deadline, in order to plan their course selection and review their progress in fulfilling the Concentration's requirements. A student's concentration faculty advisor must also review and approve the concentration writing requirement.
Informal tracks within the Concentration guide the student's choice of coursework. Table 1 presents Required Core Courses and Electives by track. Students must take at least two Electives from Table 1 in addition to their Required Core Courses. One of the Electives must be a skills course. All students are further required to complete a culminating experience, either through an approved externship or clinic. Participation in an approved clinic may be used to satisfy both the skills requirement and the requirement for a culminating experience.
The four informal tracks are described below:
- Regulatory Counselor track (federal, state regulatory agencies (e.g., US EPA, US PERC, NYSDEC), law firms, in-house counsel);
- Transactional Lawyer track (law firms with business and real estate transactional practices, in-house counsel);
- Policy and Advocacy track (government, not for profits, and political organizations); and,
- Litigation and Enforcement track (federal, state enforcement agencies (e.g., US DOJ, State Attorneys General), litigating public interest not for profits (e.g., Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Earth justice), law firms (Superfund cost recovery, toxic torts practices).
These informal tracks are guides and are not mandatory. They are designed to assist students in thinking about sequencing and selection of courses. Students will work with their faculty concentration advisor to craft an appropriate mix of coursework.
A student must complete a writing requirement that would satisfy either Writing Requirement I or II in any course, or via any Journal note or Independent Study, on an energy or environmental law subject or subjects, as approved by the student's concentration faculty advisor. It is permissible for the writing used to satisfy this requirement be the same writing used by the student to satisfy another Law School requirement.
Professional Development Requirement
The Professional Development Requirement is intended to highlight opportunities for students to gain exposure to and/or experience in the energy and environmental fields outside of the classroom and ensure that students take advantage of at least one such opportunity. To satisfy the Professional Development Requirement, students must:
- Participate as a student member of a local, state or national energy and/or environmental Bar committee;
- Participate in an environmental or energy moot court competition;
- Participate in the Environmental Law Society; or
- Engage in any other professional development activity of a similar type approved by the faculty concentration advisor.