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More Law Schools Offering Energy Law Courses, Mihaly 13' Finds

February 1, 2012

Elena Mihaly '13, a research associate at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment, recently updated an IEE survey from 2009 that looked at the number of law schools that offer energy law courses.

In a research paper titled "Law School Interest in Energy Law Rising Fast," Mihaly found that a growing number of law schools not previously known for their energy or environmental law programs are starting to incorporate energy law courses into their curricula.Image of oil spill

In the last two years, some of the nation's top law schools transitioned from offering no energy law courses to now including at least one in their course catalog, the paper's results show. Additionally, a majority of the nation's leading environmental law schools substantially added to their existing energy curriculum.

Mihaly attributes the trend, in part, to the increase in recent years of energy related issues making the news, including the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Arab Spring uprising's effect on oil production, hydrofracking of natural gas deposits in the United States and offshore oil drilling regulation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"As The New York Times recently reported, 'Not only the industry, but capitals around the world are trying to figure out how to plan for the new energy order,'" Mihaly wrote. "Lawyers will play a major role in shaping this new energy order. The more that law schools provide opportunities for law students to become familiar with energy law, the quicker new lawyers can join the energy policy dialogue and make a difference. The greater the amount of substantive knowledge that energy law professors can transfer to law students, the greater chance that those students can contribute to forming the future energy regulatory structure upon entering the legal profession."

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