The Clinic provides meaningful and diverse opportunities for students to work on ground-breaking environmental and energy issues ranging from defending the role of science in decision-making, protecting National Monuments and the Arctic from fossil fuel development, enabling and supporting citizen enforcement of environmental laws, fighting for energy justice, and advising municipalities about options for resiliency in the face of climate change, among others.

Students hone lawyering skills and expand their substantive knowledge by developing innovative legal and policy responses to these cutting edge challenges.  They get to operate as “first chairs” on all projects, provide strategic advice, develop theories of litigation, and present their work to clients, courts, and/or government officials.  Students typically work on small teams under the supervision of our three full-time practitioners.  We also offer a variety of off-site placements at federal, state, and local agencies, and NGOs.  The clinical seminar offered in conjunction with the Clinic offers students additional practical training in key skills for environmental law practice.


“The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic was an absolutely foundational part of my law school experience. I especially enjoyed having an in-house placement supervised by clinical faculty. Everyone was invested in providing a high-quality learning experience, developing meaningful and manageable projects, and working with students’ schedules. During my two semesters, I learned so much about the logistics of lawyering, from writing memos to keeping track of new developments. I also developed a better understanding of how lawyers, clients, and natural systems interact at a higher level. For many of these lessons, the Clinic was my first and only exposure to them in law school. As I prepare to head out into the world of environmental law, what I’ve learned will have an impact on both the type of work I pursue and the skills I bring to the table.”

– Samuel Yang, JD’22


Former students talk about the Clinic:


Testimonials from Students and Alumni:

A Humbling Experience in the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic (Sebastian Miller, JD’24)

Student Testimonial: Nathan Lobel, JD’22 (originally published in the Clinic’s 2021 Annual Report)

From Student to Lawyer: My Time in the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic (Heather Romero, JD’19)

Experiential and Essential – Clinical Education at HLS: Four Experiences – Supporting Citizen Scientists Across the Country (Erik Federman, JD’18)

Expanding my Horizons Through the Environmental Law Clinic (Cade Carmichael, JD’17)

Two Win 2015 Exemplary Clinical Student Award (Seth Hoedl, JD’15)

T.A. Barron Fellows Reflect On Their Work with the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic (Cecilia Segal, JD’15; Seth Hoedl, JD’15; Sean Lyness, JD’15; and Samantha Caravello, JD’15)

Meet the Students: Some “Environmental Impact Statements”… (Margaret Holden, JD’14; Genevieve Parshalle, JD’15; Matthew Littleton, JD’10; Rachel Heron, JD’12)

HLS Grad Praises Clinical Experience (Nick McDaniel, JD’11)


Former Clinic student and Fellow Leah Cohen speaks about her experiences in the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic:


“I’ve learned more at the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic about how to be a lawyer than anywhere else at HLS in large part because the mentorship students receive at the clinic is unparalleled. The guidance and encouragement that my clinic supervisor provided throughout my clinical experience was invaluable. My supervisor provided me with detailed substantive and constructive feedback that dramatically improved my skills as a writer and researcher. I emerged from the Clinic a better law student and more imaginative about how to incorporate environmental law in my career. And for this I am grateful.” 

– Victoria Li, JD’23 

“I had a great experience in the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic. I learned to apply my legal training to an important real-world question and developed new research, formal writing, and client communication skills. Critically, I learned what it looks like to be a lawyer doing administrative law. My supervisors helped me to present a useful work product and to develop my lawyering skills along the way.”

– Rachel Neuburger, JD’23

 “My participation in the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, which included assisting with a rulemaking petition and comment letter, provided a great introduction to policy-focused work and an opportunity to explore environmental law topics in depth. Additionally, clear guidance and detailed feedback from clinic supervisors made my semester at the Clinic a truly invaluable learning experience, allowing me to strengthen my skills in researching and writing about complex technical and legal issues.”

– Hannah Fox, JD’23

“Working in the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic was one of the highlights of my law school career. I received invaluable training on drafting and filing briefs, as well as researching and deciphering complex agency regulations. I was fortunate to have Shaun as my supervisor both times I took the Clinic and my legal research and writing skills have improved significantly because of his guidance. Although I did not have a background in environmental or administrative law prior to working with him, Shaun was always available to answer any questions I had and made me feel more confident in my ability to practice environmental law in the future.”

– Natalie Sowinski, JD’22

“Participating in the Environmental Law Clinic has given me my most valuable experiences in law school. No other class has taught me as much about how to be a lawyer in the real world. I feel confident that I am prepared to start my legal career because of the skills I learned in the Clinic and am excited to continue working on issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

– Heather Romero, JD’19

“Since I started, I have dealt with wonderful projects that I never would have expected…These [ ] projects have entailed duties ranging from direct client interaction, to more high-level regulatory research, which is precisely what has made my time with the clinic so enjoyable: every project is a unique experience. In turn, I’ve not only improved my skills in areas that might be expected, such as writing memos, but I’ve also had a chance to explore completely new areas such as writing portions of a suggested regulatory amendment and digesting a flurry of ideas coming from a room full of motivated clients.”

– Cade Carmichael, JD’17

“The Environmental Law & Policy Clinic has accorded me some of my most rewarding experiences at Harvard Law School.  All of my supervisors took a vested interest in my development as a future lawyer, providing detailed feedback as to how I could improve both as a law student and as an attorney.”

-Alexander Leone, JD’16

“I loved my experience with the Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.  Through on-site projects and an externship, the Clinic exposed me to a wide range of exciting important work—from advising state government officials on new policies, to working on briefs in litigation before the D.C. Circuit, to participating in conference calls with some of the most prominent environmental lawyers in the country.  These experiences have not only taught me the skills I’ll take with me in my career, but they’ve also helped solidify which direction I want to go with my career.”

– Christi Zaleski, JD’16

“The Clinic’s dedication to developing students’ legal skills is unparalleled.  I learned, among other things, how to write like a lawyer, analyze government policies, read and comprehend government regulatory schemes, collaborate with a legal team, and give presentations to clients and government agencies.  Most importantly, the Clinic reminded me that the law is an extraordinary tool for making a positive impact on the community.”

– Maria Parra-Orlandoni, JD’15

“My experiences at the clinic—including drafting a D.C. Circuit brief, assisting with criminal prosecutions, and representing clients at an administrative hearing—were not just personally rewarding, but greatly helped prepare me for a career in environmental law.  I cannot recommend the clinic highly enough.”

– Zachary Kearns, JD’14

“Delivering oral argument before the state electricians’ board on behalf of a solar energy installer was the highlight of my clinical work at HLS. For the hours the argument lasted, it was up to me to explain why, legally, our client and other solar energy installers should be able to continue their work in the state without penalty. That was an incredible feeling to experience so early in a legal career.”

– Rachel Heron, JD’12



The Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities. Students requesting accessibility resources or accommodations in any of HLS’s Clinical and Pro Bono Programs may work with Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office. If you are a student with a documented disability and you are requesting accommodations, please contact HLS Accessibility Services to discuss and register for accommodations.