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Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic

The White River.


Teaching Students to Become Effective Advocates

The goal of this law firm within the law school is to bring hard-hitting environmental cases that develop the next generation of environmental leaders and practice-ready advocates. During their semester in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, student clinicians work directly with leading conservation organizations in New England and throughout the country, and with local community groups, promoting access to justice for those who would not otherwise be able to obtain legal representation. Students represent these clients in litigation, administrative appeals, and other proceedings. Through their work in the clinic, students sharpen their litigation and advocacy skills, learn to develop arguments and claims from the ground up, explore strategies and options, and develop effective communication with clients, courts, agency officials, scientific experts, and opposing parties.  The clinic's collegial atmosphere provides ample opportunity for interaction and feedback among students and faculty, including weekly Strategy Sessions and Seminars.

While practicing the art of advocacy, students also explore the ethical aspects of practicing law and evaluate alternative approaches to resolving environmental conflicts. The goal of the clinical experience is to develop well-rounded professionals with a high degree of skill and judgment grounded in service to clients and respect for the rule of law.

The clinic's powerful and effective advocacy has produced significant accomplishments and raised visibility of environmental issues, including winning a major victory for the endangered gray wolf; protecting wetlands and tributaries; standing up for the health of individuals threatened by the mining operations of a major, multi-national company; and defending a sacred tribal site.

The faculty of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic are respected attorneys and instructors. Professors Douglas Ruley, Patrick Parenteau, Sheryl Dickey, Laura Murphy and Kenneth Rumelt have many years of experience in environmental litigation and advocacy. Their passion for protecting human health and conserving natural resources inspires students to zealously devote themselves to serving the clients of the clinic and advancing the goals of environmental protection.