Field Placement, Practicums, and Clinics

Environmental Law Advocacy Center

The Environmental Law Advocacy Center was established in 1995 and operates under the direction of Professor Jonathan Turley. The Center comprises three independent projects: the Environmental Crimes Project, the Shapiro Environmental Law Clinic, and the Environmental Legislative Group.

The Environmental Law Advocacy Center enables JD and LLM students to work on international, national, and local issues in areas ranging from environmental justice to community outreach programs. Students may focus on litigation as part of the Shapiro Clinic, or on a variety of special projects such as "white papers" and investigations as part of the Environmental Crimes Project, which works exclusively in the area of environmental criminal violations. 

In past years, Professor Turley and his students have worked on a series of precedent-setting cases through the Environmental Crimes Project, including with the United Nations, Congress, and foreign countries. The Center also offers legal consultation and legislative drafting for congressional offices as part of the Environmental Legislative Group. 

The J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Clinic

Under faculty supervision, second-, third-, and fourth-year students represent clients in environmental litigation in both the federal and state systems. The work includes administrative, trial, or appellate actions, particularly citizen action suits, under a variety of environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Facilities Compliance Act. This clinic was established in 1995 by a generous gift from the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Charitable Trust.

Intensive Clinical Placement

Environmental and energy law students may undertake clinical projects through the Intensive Clinical Placement program under the supervision of Associate Dean Lee Paddock. Students may suggest projects or choose from projects already arranged. These projects will typically focus on environmental policy issues, not litigation. Projects require advance approval.

Projects have included work for the National Wildlife Federation on issues related to Corps of Engineers permits for shore protected structures and for the Nature Conservancy on debt-for-nature swaps.

Interested students should contact Associate Dean Paddock.

Field Placement

The George Washington University Law School Field Placement Program provides students with the opportunity to work closely with judges or practicing lawyers as legal externs in government, public interest and private non-profit organizations while earning academic credit. The program is designed to enhance the educational experience of its students through the exposure to the actual practice of law.

The primary educational objectives of the program are to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in different substantive areas of law and legal process; to develop legal research, writing, interviewing, counseling and investigative skills; to deal with issues of professional responsibility in a real practice setting; and to engage in reflective lawyering.