F&ES 974b/LAW 30187 / 2016-2017

Environmental Protection Clinic: Justice & Practice at Intersection of Civil Rights& the Environment

Credits: 4

Spring 2017: W, 10:10-12:00, Yale Law School - 111
Spring OCI Listing    


Students will have the opportunity to help launch Yale Law School’s new environmental justice clinic and to develop a docket to improve environmental quality and public health in communities of color and low-income communities. In the wake of a national conversation about the water crisis in Flint and lead poisoning across the country, students will be in on the ground floor as the Clinic takes on cases to address inequality in the distribution of health hazards as well as procedural inequities faced by community members seeking to assert their own vision for the future of their neighborhoods, towns and cities. The clinic’s work will include cases and advocacy projects to enforce civil rights in the environmental context, working with clients to develop legal and advocacy strategies to reform EPA’s civil rights compliance and enforcement program and to address issues of environmental injustice in particular communities.

Students will work in teams under faculty supervision and take responsibility for litigation and advocacy. Their activities will include the following:
• Working directly with clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, allies, environmental agencies, and EPA;
• Developing case records by conducting factual investigation and working with experts;
• Legal analysis, memos, pleadings and drafting other legal documents (such as public disclosure requests, comments on federal rules, etc.);
• Representation of clients;
• Negotiations and settlement.

In addition to civil rights compliance and enforcement in the environmental context, the Clinic will evaluate potential litigation and advocacy to address the sources and impacts of air and water contamination in disproportionately affected communities, with a focus on communities in New England. 

Students will also participate in a seminar intended to explore issues raised by the clinical practice, including both substantive issues of environmental and civil rights law, as well as questions related to practice, including ethical and social dimensions of lawyering in this context. The seminar will meet approximately two hours per week. In addition to class meetings and preparation, clinic participants must complete and document approximately fifteen hours of clinical work per week. Students will also be expected to participate in weekly one-hour team meetings. While there is no prerequisite for the clinic, participants should have a strong interest in working on behalf of environmentally overburdened communities — often communities of color and low-income communities. Enrollment limited. Permission of the instructor required. M.E. Lado.

Course Bidding: In addition to listing this clinic among experiential course selections, students should submit a CV and a short statement expressing interest in the clinic, which will focus on environmental issues affecting communities of color and low-incom communities and, particularly, civil rights enforcement in the environmental context. The statement should be no more than one page in length.

Interested F&ES students must send a cv and one page statement of interest to marianne.lado@gmail.com by Dec 8th.

Note: First-day attendance is required unless permission for absence is granted by the instructor in advance of the first meeting.

Online Course Information: