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 who want to learn more about the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic may contact Professor Templeton for more information.
The Clinic is directed by Professor Mark N. Templeton. Previously, Templeton was a Trustee and Executive Director of the Office of Independent Trustees for the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust. He served as the cabinet-level Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, leading the state’s efforts in energy, environmental protection, state parks, and water resources.
The clinic’s work broadly falls into six different categories: traditional Clean Water Act litigation, Clean Water Act-related rule makings and comments, water quantity litigation, drinking water advocacy, climate and energy litigation and policy, and land and mining litigation and policy.
It is a fairly significant test of the ability of states attorney generals to hold corporations accountable for their actions related to climate, with far-reaching consequences for the United States and global energy system.
Students learn substantive environmental and energy law while working in the Clinic, develop research and presentation skills, and how to root their advocacy in the areas in which they have a comparative advantage.