March 12, 2019

#1 in the Nation for Environmental Law

US News announced its 2020 rankings of law schools, and named Lewis & Clark Environmental Law program as number one in the nation.

Lewis & Clark Law School’s Environmental Law specialty program is number one in the country according to U.S. News and World Report rankings released today.

The law school’s Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law is the first and leading program of its kind in the nation. It is renowned for its faculty, and the depth and breadth of its offerings, with 12 full time teaching faculty and 10-20 Adjunct teaching faculty, dozens of courses, three clinics/institutes, numerous legal practica, two environmental nonprofits on campus that work with students, two certificate programs and three degrees (a JD, LLM and MSL, for professionals who are not pursuing a JD).

The environmental law center at Lewis & Clark Law School was founded in 1970, a time which marked the first Earth Day and the launch of major federal environmental legislation.  In addition, the law school founded the first environmental law review journal, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, a premier legal forum for environmental and natural resources law scholarship. The environmental law program has been in the top 2 (alternating between the top and second spots) in US News rankings for some 25 years.

“We focus on offering our students outstanding learning opportunities, in the classroom and in our clinics and the community, along with exposure to the most important environmental issues facing our planet,” said Associate Dean Janice Weis, who leads the Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law program. Weis also chairs Lewis & Clark’s institution-wide Sustainability Council.

Never content with past accomplishments, Lewis & Clark Law is bolstering its offerings:

  • the school recently announced the appointment to the full-time faculty roster of Lisa Benjamin, a globally recognized expert and scholar on the intersection of energy, climate change, and corporate law. Benjamin will begin teaching in the fall of 2019;
  • the law school is also adding an online distance-learning option for its popular environmental law LLM degree, making the post-JD degree available to professionals regardless of their location.

The legal practica opportunities, clinics such as Earthrise Law Center, Green Energy Institute, and International Environmental Law Project, numerous active student groups, and extensive visiting lecture programs at Lewis & Clark complement course offerings that train students to understand, and be prepared to represent, all aspects of legal and regulatory issues regarding environmental law.

“We are proud of our outstanding environmental law specialty, and are gratified to see US News and our peers in legal education acknowledge its excellence and our dedication to providing such an in-depth program for students,” said Law School Dean Jennifer Johnson.

The law school’s environmental and climate-related strengths are part of Lewis & Clark’s overall sustainability leadership.

“When national politics are aggressively undermining U.S. commitments to fight climate change, it is up to local jurisdictions and institutions like ours to lead,” Lewis & Clark College President Wim Wiewel said. “We are privileged to have a unique and important opportunity to educate our future leaders on climate issues while they are on our campus.”


About Lewis & Clark Law School

For over 100  years, Lewis & Clark Law School has trained advocates for professional careers in the law.  The only law school located in Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark is recognized for its expertise in many specialty areas of law as well as its scholarship and practical experiences. The school enrolls approximately 600 students in its part-time and full-time programs, and its LLM degrees attract many international students.  The law school is part of the institution of Lewis & Clark College that includes the undergraduate campus and a Graduate School of Education and Counseling. The law school was founded in Portland in 1884 as Oregon’s first law school, privatized in 1915 as Northwestern College of Law, and merged with the Lewis & Clark College in 1965.  For more information, visit