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Environmental Advocacy Clinic

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As one of the nation's top-ranked environmental law schools, Vermont Law offers students the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom by working in one of the best environmental law clinics in the country: the Environmental Advocacy Clinic.


The Environmental Advocacy Clinic is an in-house clinic that operates as a public interest law office, teaching students how to be lawyers by representing clients in need. Clinical experience helps students become well-rounded, skilled professionals who can develop arguments and claims from the ground up, explore strategies and options, and communicate effectively with clients, courts, agency officials, scientific experts, and opposing parties.


In the Clinic, students serve as the lead attorney, supervised by an experienced lawyer, representing clients, including, leading national conservation organizations, and local community groups to promote access to justice on important environmental and natural resources issues. We’ve created positive outcomes for clients in a variety of areas including:

Protecting Wild Horses: Students sued the Bureau of Land Management to halt the roundup of wild horses from private property in and adjacent to the Pokegama Herd Management area in southern Oregon. Students won a temporary restraining order that halted the roundup. The student team is continuing work to ensure the Bureau of Land Management complies with the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act and National Environmental Policy Act before they initiate any roundup at Pokegama.

Protecting Communities from Pollution: A team of students filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling for comprehensive analysis of flooding and natural resource impacts on the relicensing of the Pensacola Dam in northeastern Oklahoma. The dam exacerbates flooding upstream, especially along the highly contaminated Tar Creek. One of the first superfund sites in the country, Tar Creek is laden with toxic pollution from long-abandoned lead and zinc mining operations in the area. Students are continuing to work to ensure that during the relicensing process, FERC takes responsibility for comprehensively analyzing upstream flooding exacerbated by the dam, climate change impacts on the dam’s operations, impacts of toxic pollution and compliance with the Endangered Species Act.


  • To provide a high-quality, skills-based educational experience for law students who learn how to become competent, ethical attorneys with expertise in the field of environmental and natural resources law.
  • To provide pro bono representation for individuals and organizations who could not otherwise afford legal services.
  • To ensure that laws protecting health, wildlife, and the environment are properly interpreted, implemented, and enforced to protect people and places for the benefit of this and future generations.


The Clinic opened its doors to students and clients in August 2003 as the Environmental and Natural Resources Clinic with a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The Clinic now operates as the Environmental Advocacy Clinic, and Mike Harris serves as Director.