PreLaw - Back to School 2010 - 10
The Greenest Law Schools
Environmental law and green practices have exploded nationwide. But Vermont Law School and three other schools are at the top of the class.
BY KAREN DYBIS lthough environmental law has been taught at the nation’s law schools for decades, it has enjoyed new growth, respect and student interest in recent years. The result is a plethora of impressive and interesting programs. That also means today’s law students are challenged to find the right school among the many law schools “going green.” To help, preLaw has created an Honor Roll to highlight the best and brightest. The editors collected information about law schools’ curriculum, campus environment and building trends. Additional weight was given to those schools with a strong green focus in their classes, faculty and other academic offerings, such as externships, legal journals and summer programs. Four schools received the magazine’s Summa Cum Laude ranking as the best of the best. In alphabetical order they are: 10
American University Washington College of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School, University of Colorado Law School and Vermont Law School. Surprised? Here’s why.
Located in Washington D.C., American University is best described as “a studentorientated law school in a great city for studying environmental law,” said David Hunter, an AU law professor and director of the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law. Students also benefit from the unique and long-running Joint Research Program with the independent Center for International Environmental Law. This past academic year, these projects have included participating in the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings. The law school also has an intensive three-week summer program, which brings in experts from the nearby political center as teachers, mentors and resources, Hunter said. Another important aspect of AU’s program is its commitment to externships and other experiences that will help its alumnae in the near term, Hunter said. “[It] not only gives students exposure to practical skills and practicing lawyers but gives them a network to find jobs in the process,” Hunter said. On the campus side, AU created an Office of Sustainability, and Hunter participates in campus-wide task-forces working on sustainability issues. AU has committed to a Zero Waste Policy and has created a committee to develop a plan to eliminate