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March 17, 2020

#1 in Environmental Law - Again

U.S. News ranks Lewis & Clark Law’s environmental law program number one in the nation for 2021, as well as 2020 rankings. Plus we have nationally recognized programs in Animal Law, Criminal Law, Intellectual Property, Business Law and Public Interest Law.

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 Lewis & Clark Law environmental law program has been in the first or second spot in the US News rankings for some 25 years.

The law school’s Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Program 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. These include 12 teaching faculty and 10 to 20 adjunct teaching faculty, dozens of courses, three clinics/institutes, numerous legal practica and externship options, 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, plus a joint JD/LLM degree.

The environmental law program is celebrating its 50th year in 2020. It was founded in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day and the launch of major federal environmental legislation. In addition, the first environmental law review journal, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, a premier legal forum for environmental and natural resources law scholarship, was established by Lewis & Clark in 1969.

“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 has bolstered its offerings recently with the addition of an online distance-learning option for its popular environmental law LLM degree, making the post-JD degree available to professionals regardless of their location. In its first year, the online LLM has been a resounding success, with students, faculty and employers.

Last year, the school 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 began teaching last fall and has added energy, climate change, and environmental justice courses to the school’s curriculum.

“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 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.”

Joining us in the #1 spot for environmental law is UC Berkeley for the first time. In other specialty rankings, U.S. News ranks Lewis & Clark’s Part-Time Law at #16; Legal Writing at #18; and Intellectual Property at #55.


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 500 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