Energy, Innovation, and Sustainability Law

A transition to renewable energy is one of the leading goals of climate change action. Those with a deep understanding of the energy law field and how energy laws impact our government policies, business and communities have unique insights to apply as leaders in energy transition.

The JD Certificate in Energy, Innovation and Sustainability Law provides an important blend of both environmental and business law courses to reflect the expected competencies of a future energy law practitioner. The certificate also allows students to develop a deep understanding of the energy law field, as well as important practical and professional skills, by including a practical skills component.

Additional degrees with an Energy Law component are the LLM in Environmental Law and the Master of Studies in Environmental Law

Certificate Requirements

1.     Required Courses

Students must take all three of the following core courses (9 credits total):

  • Administrative Law
  • Energy Law: Electricity Regulation *OR Energy Resources Law and Policy*, and
  • Business Associations I.

2.     Additional Courses

In addition to the three required courses listed above, students must take at least two courses from each of the following two lists (i.e., at least two energy/environmental courses and at least two business courses), for a total of at least 4 additional courses and 8 additional credits:

Energy/Environmental Law Courses (students must take at least 2 courses from this list)

Business Law Courses (students must take at least 2 courses from this list)

Clean Air Act

Climate Change: U.S. Law and Policy

Climate Change: International Law

Environmental Law

Law of the Columbia River

Legal Research:  Environmental Law (would apply to the certificate when students pursue energy related topics)

Northwest Energy Law

Public Lands and Resources Law

Renewable Energy Law

Renewable Energy Development & Finance

Energy Law: Electricity Regulation or Energy Resources: Law & Policy (whichever not taken as a required class).

*Sustainability in Law & Business (*will count as an environmental class only if student opts to focus the coursework/writings on environmental issues; consult with professors in advance of registering to determine feasibility of this focus in any given semester. Course cannot be used for an environmental course and a business law course; counts only in one of the two categories)

Summer energy classes (vary from summer to summer)


Advanced Contracts: Commercial Transactions

Advanced Contracts: Sales & Leases



Business Associations II

Entrepreneurship & Business Principles

Contract Drafting

Income Tax I

Income Tax II

Corporate Tax

Partnership Tax

Intellectual Property Survey course

International Business Transactions

International Dispute Resolution

International Investment Law

Patent Law and Policy

Property Transactions

Secured Transactions

Securities Regulation

Small Business Legal Clinic

*Sustainability in Law & Business (*will count as a business class only if student opts to focus the coursework/writings on business-related issues; consult with professors in advance of registering to determine feasibility of this focus in any given semesterCourse cannot be used for an environmental course and a business law course; counts only in one of the two categories)

Technology Transfer and Licensing

Trademark Law


Students should check this list yearly, as new classes may be added, some may not be offered every year, and class titles may change. Classes not on the lists may be deemed to count toward the non-core course requirements in the discretion of the Certificate Administrator. Students should seek approval in advance of registering for any course not on the list to ensure the course qualifies for the certificate.

Ungraded Credits:  Up to 4 ungraded credits may be applied to the certificate (this applies to the practical skills component of the certificate, noted below.)  

Transfer Credits:  One class of up to 3 credits taken at another school may be applied to the certificate with advance approval of the Certificate Administrator.  Be sure to check with Administrator in advance of registering for any such class.

3.         Writing and Practical Skills Requirements

Writing requirement:  Students must also complete one paper on a topic that relates to energy law, or on a topic that combines energy law and business law concepts (done as part of coursework or as an independent study).  The paper may also count as the student’s Writing Intensive Experience (WIE) or Capstone paper, if the paper meets those requirements and if the student desires but the paper is not required to be either a WIE or a capstone. The paper must be “substantial” meaning it counts for at least half of the grade in a course and several writings in a course could cumulatively count for this requirement. Students must obtain the approval of the Certificate Administrator to ensure the paper meets the writing requirement.

Practical skills requirement: Students are also required to gain practical skills in energy law through one of more of the following: (a) taking a practical skills course with an energy focus (externship, legal practicum, or clinical work) for at least 3 credits; (b) through paid employment in the energy law field; or (c) through service learning or pro bono work on a project involving energy law.  Students must complete at least 130 hours (the equivalent of a 3-credit externship) in their chosen practical skills option.  Students can fulfill this requirement by doing more than one paid or unpaid job or project that cumulatively meet the hours requirement.

Students must obtain the prior approval of the Certificate Administrator to ensure the experience fulfills the practical skills requirement.  

4.     Grade Point Requirement

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of B- (2.70) or better in classes taken and selected as qualifying for the Certificate. No credits transferred from another law school and accepted for use toward a Certificate, or credits for a class taken on a credit/no credit basis and approved by the Certificate Administrator, will be used in computing the grade point average.

5.    Certificate Administrator

The Associate Dean of the Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law program, Janice Weis, will serve as the administrator for the Certificate in Energy, Innovation, and Sustainability Law. Any questions may be directed to her at: or 503-768-6649.

Pursuing Other Certificates

Students are not prohibited from seeking another certificate along with the energy certificate.  However, pursuing more than one certificate is generally not advisable except in certain circumstances and students are strongly advised to work with the directors of the certificate programs in advance to determine the feasibility of obtaining more than one certificate in addition to meeting all graduation requirements.  Note that Administrative Law and Business Associations I are the only courses that may be applied to the energy certificate and another certificate (if those courses are applicable to another certificate). No other classes may be counted towards another certificate and the energy certificate.  Papers used for any other certificate, including the environmental and natural resources certificate, may not be applied towards the energy certificate and the paper required for the energy law certificate may not be used as one of the two papers needed for the environmental law certificate. Also please note that a student who wishes to obtain both the energy law and environmental law certificates cannot double count any classes towards both certificates other than Administrative Law, which is required for both. No other classes taken may be counted towards both the environmental certificate and energy certificate. 

Students should also check the requirements for any other certificate they may wish to pursue to see if there are any other restrictions on obtaining two certificates as each certificate’s requirements vary.