The world is paying closer attention today than ever before to environmental issues and policies that affect us all. As an institution guided by Catholic teaching, stewardship of our world’s resources is a natural application of our core values. The law school is committed to providing tomorrow’s practitioners in this vibrant practice area with the skills, knowledge, and foundational understanding to contribute and make a positive difference.
As with so many other areas of legal practice, our advantageous location in Washington, D.C. affords our students access to externships, a rich and diverse alumni network, and post-graduate employment opportunities that are unavailable elsewhere.
In addition to these focused environmental law courses, students may pursue broader exposure to a variety of regulatory issues through courses such as Administrative Law, Legislation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Land Use and Planning, Health Law, and Food and Drug Law.
Many students interested in environment and energy law also participate in the law school’s signature Law and Public Policy Program (LPP) and take the Law and Public Policy course.
Students interested in environmental or energy law can earn course credits during the fall, spring, and summer by working in nonprofit organizations; federal, state, and local government agencies; congress; and for judges, law firms, trade associations and corporations in the D.C. area.
Representative externships for students include: Defenders of Wildlife; Nature Conservancy; Natural Resources Defense Council; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (various offices); U.S. Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division; National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (various offices); White House Office of Domestic Policy Counsel; and the Center for International Environmental Law.
Extracurricular and Service Opportunities
Environmental and Energy Issue Panels
CUA Law regularly hosts guest speakers and panels on key environmental and energy issues. Recent panels have featured energy policy experts from Portugal, the United States, and the European Union; while another focused on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the workings of the Presidential Commission.
Environmental Law Society
The Environmental Law Society (ELS) provides a forum for students interested in current environmental issues and career opportunities in environmental law. ELS sponsors issue seminars, round table discussions, professional panels, as well as community outreach programs and field trips. As student-led organization, ELS offers many leadership opportunities for interested students.
National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
CUA’s selected team prepares a brief and argues at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y., the preeminent environmental law moot in the nation.
Future Career Paths
The Columbus School of Law has prepared many distinguished graduates into successful careers in environmental and/or energy law. A sample of the places where our alumni are found:
• Private firms, including: Barnes & Thornburg; Alston & Bird; Bergeson & Campbell;
Patton Boggs; Venable; and Crowell and Moring
• Government, including: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Defense;
and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection
• Private sector, including: Chevron Corporation; Clorox Corporation; and Constellation Energy, and
Booz Allen Hamilton
“My time at CUA Law prepared me on graduation to enter private environmental practice. I later moved on to nonprofit work, then academia, and now back to the nonprofit sector. CUA alumni are everywhere in the environmental field and are always ready to guide and advise students.”
—Alexandra Dapolito Dunn (’94), Lecturer; Advisor, Environmental Law Society