News Release: Law, Teaching

Sep. 15,  2011

Emory Law's Turner Environmental Law Clinic Receives $40,000 Grant

The Turner Environmental Law Clinic has received a $40,000 Turner Foundation grant to support the clinic’s pro bono work and programs that provide real-world experience to student attorneys.

“Since the clinic's inception, the Turner Foundation, numerous other foundations and individuals have provided support for its pro bono provision of environmental legal counsel to not-for-profits, groups and citizens who otherwise would lack legal representation,” says William W. Buzbee, director of Emory Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program and its Center on Federalism and Intersystemic Governance.

“The intensive shoulder-to-shoulder teaching of clinic students and the provision of pro bono representation are expensive, but provide invaluable educational opportunities and substantial environmental benefits. We are thrilled that Turner has once again come through,” Buzbee says.

The Turner Environmental Law Clinic provides free legal assistance to individuals, community groups and nonprofit organizations that work to protect and restore the natural environment, and was established in 1998 with a Turner Foundation grant. Students participate in client meetings, take depositions, make arguments before courts and regulatory tribunals, draft pleadings, conduct negotiations and develop case strategy. They also work on legislative and policy issues at local and state levels.

“The grant will allow the clinic to continue handling its diverse docket,” says acting director Mindy Goldstein. “These matters touch upon some of the most difficult and cutting-edge environmental issues of the day—energy and climate change, endangered species protection, water and coastal resource protection, natural resource allocation, environmental justice, urban agriculture and sustainability.”

The litigation, transactional and advocacy skills taught in the clinic are transferable to all areas of civil and regulatory practice, Goldstein says.

Clinic students often take the clinic as a capstone to their studies at Emory Law, but may also gain experience through field placements at institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Southern Environmental Law Center. The clinic has prepared recent graduates for work at job placements in all levels of government, with environmental not-for-profits, and with private law firms. Through interdisciplinary agreements with Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Studies, students may earn joint J.D. and M.P.H. degrees.


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