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    Preparing tomorrow’s advocates to defend our natural heritage

    Earthrise Law Center maximizes its impact through the work of talented and committed law students. While Earthrise’s staff attorneys retain ultimate responsibility for case prosecution, students play a vital role at Earthrise by participating in all phases of the clinic’s work. Students draft pleadings and motions, formulate arguments and strategy, and participate in client contacts.

    In addition to receiving invaluable hands-on experience, students earn law school credit for their work with Earthrise. The environmental clinic class supplements student casework by providing additional instruction on the practice of environmental law. The class meets once per week. Class topics include informal discussions about current projects, lectures on aspects of environmental practice, and contact with local practitioners.

    The environmental community reaps benefits from increasing the pool of law school graduates with substantial real-world experience and training. Earthrise students and externs are tomorrow’s advocates for our natural heritage. Many Earthrise alums now lead the charge in working to preserve and protect the environment as attorneys in public interest, government, and private practice.

The Earthrise Student Experience

Earthrise Law Center provides two opportunities for rising 2L, 3L and LLM Lewis & Clark Law students: the academic year clinic and the summer clerkship.

The Earthrise Clinic

In addition to 2 hours of class time, students enrolled in the clinic during the school year work 10-12 hours per week on actual environmental cases under the supervision of the clinical professors of Earthrise Law Center. Students are assigned to work on a variety of cases across a broad spectrum of environmental issues utilizing statutes such as the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act. They delve into the details of a case, present the facts to the class and collaboratively devise winning strategies. Unlike an externship, enrolling in the clinic fulfills a student’s “highly specialized” requirement and professional responsibility credits and does not count toward the cap on ungraded credits. 

The clinic represents regional and national environmental organizations seeking to prevent or reduce pollution and protect wildlife, habitat, and ecosystems. The matters on the docket provide students with the opportunity to work on litigation on in depth, complex, and environmentally important lawsuits. Students will interact directly with clients and make connections that will benefit their future careers.

The close one-on-one and small group relationships fostered by our 1:3 faculty-to-student ratio encourages strong student development in fundamental lawyering skills, including:

  • Problem Solving
  • Legal Analysis and Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Legal Research
  • Factual Investigation
  • Organization and Management of Legal Work

The deadline for applications for fall of 2017 is now March 24, 2017. 

Learn how to apply to the clinic. 

Read below for stories involving student experiences.


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