J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium

The 2024 J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium

Environmental Justice Solutions Summit: Strategic Litigation, Resilience, and Hope

The George Washington University Law School
March 27-28, 2024

Register Here

Please join The George Washington University Law School's Environmental and Energy Law Program on March 27 and 28, 2024 for the annual Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium in Washington, DC. This year’s symposium, “Environmental Justice Solutions Summit: Strategic Litigation, Resilience, and Hope,” will explore environmental justice with a cross-sectional and interdisciplinary lens and feature youth climate activism, climate migration, strategic litigation, and community engagement perspectives. 

The event will launch on Wednesday, March 27, with a keynote book talk from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Professor Robert Verchick on his critically acclaimed book, The Octopus in the Parking Garage.

The panel discussions on Thursday, March 28, will focus on success stories, proposed strategies for future progress, and hope. Attendees will hear from leading authors, lawyers, scholars, activists, and other experts across many disciplines from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector who have been actively engaged in environmental justice initiatives in the US and around the world. 

The 2024 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Scholarship will also be presented to the best paper on environmental law written by a GW Law student. 

Program (PDF)



Day 1: Wednesday, March 27, Tasher Great Room

3:30 - 4 pm: Introduction of the Keynote Lecture

  • Robert L. Glicksman, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law, GW Law

4 - 4:45 pm: Keynote Lecture, Professor Robert R.M. Verchick, Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

4:45 - 5 pm: Q&A

5 - 5:30 pm: Book signing, The Octopus in the Parking Garage



Day 2: Thursday, March 28, Jacob Burns Moot Courtroom

8:15 - 8:45 am: Coffee and Continental Breakfast

8:45 - 9 am: Opening Remarks

  • Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, GW Law

9 - 10:30 am: Youth Community Organizing and Climate Justice

  • Moderator: Trina Chiemi, FACE Intergenerational Justice
  • Panelists:
    • Ayisha Siddiqa, NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
    • Dr. Alicia Maldonado Felix, Peruvian Youth Delegate to the UN
    • Juliana Toloza Serna, National Coordinator, Fridays for Future USA
    • Siosiua Veikune, Campaigner, Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change

10:30 - 11 am: Coffee and Networking Break

11 am - 12:30 pm: Climate Change Displacement and Migration

  • Moderator: Randall S. Abate, Assistant Dean for Environmental Law Studies, GW Law
  • Panelists:
    • Chhaya Bhardwaj, Associate Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University Law School, India
    • Susan Crawford, John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    • Camila Bustos, Assistant Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
    • Dr. Omar Al Khataibeh, Environmental and Climate Change Lawyer, Amman, Jordan

12:30 - 1:15 pm: Lunch (Box Lunches Available)

1:15 - 1:30 pm: Presentation of Grodsky Prize

1:30 - 3 pm: Strategic Litigation to Promote Human Rights and Environmental Protection

  • Moderator: Jarryd Page, Esq., Staff Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
  • Panelists:
    • Amelia Burnette, Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer in Law, GW Law
    • Samantha Derksen, Esq., Associate, Hausfeld
    • Leonardo Crippa, Esq., Senior Attorney, Indian Law Resource Center
    • Paul Rink, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

3 - 3:30 pm: Coffee and Networking Break

3:30 - 5 pm: Environmental Justice and Public Health

  • Moderator: Christine Appah-Gyamfi, Professorial Lecturer in Law, GW Law
  • Panelists:
    • Rebecca Bratspies, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law
    • Carlton Waterhouse, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law
    • Arielle King, Environmental Justice Educator and Strategist
    • Brittany Shaar, Esq., Associate Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center



Background on Environmental Justice
Strategic Litigation and Climate Justice
Climate Migration
  • Chhaya Bhardqaj, Climate Change Cross-Border Migration and the Biden Administration: What the Future Holds? 16 Env't Justice 254 (2023)
  • Camila Bustos, A Human Rights Approach to Climate Displacement: Examples from Central America and Colombia, 31 Mich. St. Int'l L. Rev. 403 (2023) (with Juliana Vélez-Echeverri)
  • Omar Khataibeh, Guarantees the Protection of the Rights of Syrian Refugees in Jordan, 7 J. Pol. & L. 10 (2014)
Other Resources

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Previous Symposium

2023 Symposium

Conserving Our Nation’s Biodiversity: Progress, Obstacles, and Solutions for America’s 30 by 30 Initiatives