Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

Clinical Teachers

Mark Templeton

Project Description

The Abrams Environmental Law clinic attempts to solve some of the most pressing environmental problems throughout Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the Great Lakes region. On behalf of clients, the clinic challenges those who pollute illegally, fights for stricter permits, advocates for changes to regulations and laws, holds environmental agencies accountable, and develops innovative approaches for improving the environment. Through clinic participation, students learn substantive environmental law and procedures for addressing concerns through the courts or administrative tribunals. Students develop a number of core advocacy competencies, such as counseling clients, spotting issues, conducting factual investigations, performing practical legal research, advocating through written and oral communications, planning cases, managing time, and addressing ethical issues and dilemmas. In addition, students develop an appreciation for the range of strategic and tactical approaches that effective advocates use. Some matters will be best resolved in front of a judge, others in an adversarial hearing, others through face-to-face meetings with government officials, and others by putting public pressure on a polluter or administrative agency. Any given matter may require the use of one or more of these approaches simultaneously or sequentially, although in general, the clinic will deploy adversarial approaches to help achieve its clients’ objectives. Students need to take a substantive environmental law at some point when they are in the clinic. They are not precluded from taking the class if they have not yet taken environmental law when they enroll in the clinic and are not able to do so their first quarter due to when courses are offered. Nonetheless, students do need to take an environmental law class (any of the main stand-up class, climate change, or international environmental law) at some point when they are in the clinic.

Contact: (773) 702-9611