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Environmental and Natural Resources Law

Quick Facts

Our students often tell us that the LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law program at Lewis & Clark is a challenging, exhilarating, life-changing experience.   Courses taught by some of the nation’s leading scholars, a faculty open-door policy, warmly supportive staff, an energized and engaged student body, and a beautiful setting in one of America’s most culturally sophisticated and environmentally progressive cities combine to make Lewis & Clark’s LL.M. program  a uniquely rewarding adventure.

Area of Specialization: Lewis & Clark offers education in all aspects of environmental and natural resources law, including the laws of the U.S., international law, and related areas such as environmental justice and animal law. Since Lewis & Clark’s LL.M. is entirely dedicated to excellent instruction in the area of environmental and natural resources law, it is not suitable for those seeking a more general education in U.S. law.

Number of LL.M. Students: We keep this program deliberately small, between 12 and 20 students in any given year, so that LL.M. students have the opportunity to work closely with our environmental faculty and staff.

Time requirements: The LL.M. program requires students from the U.S. and common law countries to complete 26 semester hours of credit.  U.S. students attending full-time can generally complete the LL.M. program in one academic year (two semesters), but those going part-time may take up to two and a half years to finish all requirements.

International students complete at least 28 credit hours.  International LLM students are evaluated on a “Credit” or “No Credit” basis only. Those without previous background in the common law are required to take the additional two-credit International LL.M. Seminar: Introduction to U.S. Environmental Law and Legal Study in August prior to the start of classes in the fall.  Although it is possible for international students to complete the program in the fall and spring semester following the International LL.M. Seminar that begins in August, we strongly recommend that international students budget for three academic semesters (fall, spring and summer or fall, spring and fall) due to the intensity of study required.  U.S. student visa requirements impose a time limit of 18 months for international students to complete the degree in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. Visa requirements and length of study in the U.S. should be discussed well in advance with our International Students and Scholars Office.  To ensure compliance with Homeland Security regulations, international students must remain in contact with ISSO throughout their stay in the U.S.

Course requirements: All students must take a two-credit Graduate Environmental Seminar (one credit in each of two semesters).  This seminar is for LL.M. students only and allows each student to complete a paper of publishable quality on an environmental or natural resources topic of his or her choice. 

Students from the U.S. are required to take Administrative Law and a survey Environmental Law class if they have not already taken these in their J.D. or LL.B. programs.  International students from non-common-law countries are required to take the International LL.M. Seminar and a survey Environmental Law class; we recommend Administrative Law, but do not require it, for international students.

For the remaining credits required for the degree, students may choose from Lewis & Clark’s vast array of curriculum choices, including up to 8 credits of non-environmental classes.  Check with the LL.M. program director and What’s What for details.

Thesis option: Exceptional students may have the option of completing a major written thesis for six credits. This option is not open to all LL.M. students and must only be undertaken after consultation with and permission of the program director and faculty thesis supervisor.  Note that another opportunity in which to produce a publishable paper is the required LL.M. seminar.  

Fall and spring entrance: U.S. students can apply to begin their LL.M. studies in the fall semester, which begins in late August, or in the spring semester, which begins in mid-January.  They may also opt to begin their program with our Environmental Summer School that runs from late May through July.  International students begin in early August with the International LL.M. Seminar designed to introduce them to the U.S. legal system and law studies in the U.S.

Tuition, fees and living expenses:  Please visit our Law School Admissions Office for the most current information about tuition, fees and living expenses. The figures provided there are averages.  Your cost would be more if you buy a car and drive to school, and if you rent your own condo or apartment instead of sharing a multi-bedroom unit with others.  For an idea of how much a wide range of housing might cost in the Portland area, check out Craigslist.com and look for listings in the areas of Lewis & Clark, OHSU, PCC-Sylvania, downtown Lake Oswego and Mountain Park.

Environmental and Natural Resources Law

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