Opportunities for students
All environmental law courses are offered at least once every two years, so that all students have a chance to take them during their second or third year.
Topics for the advanced seminar change each semester. Recent topics include toxic torts, environmental justice, and Superfund.
Other related courses
Conservation Law Clinic
The Conservation Law Clinic allows second- and third-year students to work with staff attorneys of the Conservation Law Center, Inc. to provide legal services to non-profit organizations and other clients in support of natural resource conservation. Students gain specific knowledge of laws relating to the work they do on particular conservation issues. The clinic presents opportunities for general skills development in research, advocacy, legislative drafting, and administrative practice. Students also gain experience in the broader application of non-legal disciplines by working with experts in the biological sciences, ecology, agriculture, and forestry.
Internships, Faculty-Supervised Research, and Conferences
Faculty-supervised internships and independent research offer students opportunities with environmental lawyers, state or federal agencies, and NGOs. In recent years, students have received academic credit for work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Washington Public Interest Program, a semester-long externship in Washington, DC, offers students credit for their work in non-profit and government agency internships. It also helps students establish a network of Washington attorneys in their field.
Student activities and organizations
The law school regularly hosts interdisciplinary policy workshops on important problems that cross the boundary between science and law. Students have the opportunity to participate in the workshops through advanced seminars that are taught during the semester in which the workshop occurs. Students help organize the workshop and study the subject so that they can participate in round table discussions with the invited academics and policymakers.
Students seeking more depth in environmental science or policy analysis can pursue a joint degree with SPEA. This four-year degree program leads to a JD and either a Master of Science in Environmental Science or a Master of Public Affairs degree. Indiana Law’s environmental law faculty strongly encourage students with an interest in environmental law to consider the joint degree, as it will provide them with a foundation for the interdisciplinary practice that increasingly dominates environmental law.
Many Indiana Law graduates will practice environmental law in familiar ways, such as advising clients, negotiating agreements, and defending and prosecuting administrative and judicial actions. They find jobs all over the country, practicing in law firms; on their own; or in the legal departments of governments, business, or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
An increasing number of our graduates do not practice law in these familiar ways. Some, especially alumni of the joint degree program in environmental law, are administrators responsible for environmental regulatory programs in the public sector or for regulatory compliance in the private sector. Others are consultants who are hired for their scientific or technical expertise in addition to their legal knowledge; advocates who urge legislatures or agencies to approach environmental issues in particular ways; or environmental mediators whose work spans the range of environmental concerns from global warming to endangered species, pollution control and the cleanup of hazardous waste.
The Environmental Law Society advocates for students and for the environment, working to enhance the academic experience, clinical opportunities, and career options for students interested in environmental law. In cooperation with SPEA’s Environmental Management Society, the ELS has twice hosted the annual conference of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies and continues to sponsor programs that attract students, faculty, and the public. The society has fielded several successful teams in the national environmental moot court competition.
Indiana Law's faculty are experts in all environmental law disciplines. In addition, up to six hours of course work in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs can be counted toward a JD degree. Here is a list of the environmental law faculty at Indiana Law:
- Jeffrey Hyman
- Vicky Meretsky
- Kenneth Richards
- Jackie Simmons
Bloomington: An environmentally engaged eommunity
The natural beauty of the IU campus and the hilly forests of Southern Indiana are conducive to environmental law study. Along with the Law School and SPEA, the university hosts many departments that actively examine environmental issues. With the Hoosier National Forest just a bike ride away, many students find the perfect balance of work and play.