The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Clinical Education at UT Law

Real Cases. Real Experience.

Environmental Clinic

Overview

Photo of student volunteers
Environmental Clinic trip to Corpus Valero Refinery, Fall 2012

The Environmental Clinic focuses on cases and projects that will improve public health and environmental quality for low-income communities.  Past projects have included: helping communities obtain quality water and wastewater systems, preparing a Clean Air Act citizen suit against a Houston petrochemical plant, assisting Texas Hill Country counties in drafting proposed legislation to increase county authority to regulate development, and representing an environmental justice community in a challenge to an air permit for a new power plant.

Students perform a variety of tasks, such as:
(1) consulting with and counseling clients; (2) researching and preparing letters, legal memoranda, discovery responses, written testimony and other documents; (3) meeting with public and private officials; (4) organizing, participating in, and/or attending public meetings; and (5) assisting in contested, trial-type permit proceedings.  Clinic students work closely with the professor and local and national attorneys, community leaders, government officials, and elected officials to provide needed legal services.

What Our Clients Say

“The students at the Environmental Clinic did a first-rate job of researching, assimilating and analyzing a vast amount of information relating to Clean Air Act compliance at a major industrial facility on the Gulf Coast.  Their thorough and professional work has been of invaluable assistance in our efforts to improve air quality for Texas resid ents.”
—Josh Kratka, Senior Attorney, National Environmental Law Center

“The Clinic helped us with a fairly complex air permit case for a biomass power plant. The students helped with all aspects of the case including preparing for discovery, depositions, the hearing on the merits and briefing. It was great working with them. I think we all learn a lot along the way.”
—Enrique Valdivia, Attorney, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

“The UT Environmental Clinics students were invaluable in preparing the way for the passage of state legislation requiring the manufacturers of televisions to provide free and convenient recycling for old TVs. They were very thorough in contacting various stakeholders, gathering the input and developing sample language for introduction. It was very helpful to have keen minds focus on the details in advance of the session so that our organization could better focus its resources on passage of a bill once the session began. That legislation was one of the few high environmental bills that passed in 2009.”
—Robin Schneider, Texas Campaign for the Environment