Environmental and energy law is an interdisciplinary field at the nexus of science, business, public policy, human rights, and international relations. Many areas of the law—including corporate, property, real estate, intellectual property, tax, criminal, and contracts—play a role in how governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations address threats to the planet and humanity.
How can lawyers aid the fight against climate change and shape the local, national, and global response to environmental threats?
Students engage with leading scholars and practitioners who have spent decades working in environmental litigation and advocacy to safeguard Earth. Columbia is also home to groundbreaking centers, clinics, and institutes that are finding new ways to preserve and protect the environment.
Why Columbia Law?
Research and write amicus briefs for court cases related to climate change.
Benefit from the Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, which develops legal techniques to combat climate change, trains students and lawyers in their use, and provides up-to-date resources on key topics in climate change law and regulation.
Provide pro bono representation to community groups and residents who support renewable energy developments, such as wind turbines and solar arrays, but face local opposition.
Investigate mitigation solutions to protect vulnerable populations from humanitarian crises brought on by rising sea levels, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and other disasters that threaten basic needs like food and water.
Collaborate on projects with the renowned Earth Institute at Columbia University, where more than 850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and students work across disciplines to find solutions for problems in public health, poverty, energy, ecosystems, climate, natural hazards, and urbanization.
Gain hands-on training in the Environmental Law Clinic by representing organizations on a broad array of issues including clean air and water, wetlands preservation, endangered species, and environmental justice.
Delve into the economic and geopolitical issues of the global energy industry by taking classes cross-listed with Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs.
Engage in programs offered by Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, a partnership between the Law School and Earth Institute.
Law Facts: Shortly after the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts, Columbia Law School introduced a seminar on environmental law and legislation in the late 1960s taught by Professor Frank P. Grad ’49 LL.B., who wrote the first environmental law book produced at a major law school.