The law faculties at the University of Windsor and Detroit’s Wayne State University are teaming up to offer students on both sides of the border North America’s first program in transnational environmental law.
A joint announcement from both law schools Tuesday said students will be working in the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit to gain practical legal experience in cross-border environmental law.
Bruce Elman, dean of the University of Windsor law faculty, said the students will be taking on a wide variety of regional and bilateral environmental legal issues such as Great Lakes water quality, invasive species, air quality, renewable energy and environmental justice.
“It will help students learn the principles of dealing professionally with clients and advocacy groups,” said Elman. “They could be helping with interventions in environmental cases in court, helping prepare briefs for presentation at the legislature or city hall or doing environmental impact assessments.”
The first steps to the partnership are under way, with the formal approval of the University of Windsor law course expected by the beginning of the next school year in September. Those students accepted will be working under the supervision of professors from both universities.
“It will be open to a limited number of students, to start with,” said Elman. “But it should grow. There has already been interest.”
He added that students from both universities will be working together on some issues.
“Environmental issues don’t necessarily fall neatly into jurisdictions,” he said. “Air pollution, water issues, invasive species don’t respect international borders.”
Nick Schroeck, director of the Wayne Law Environmental Law Clinic and Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, said the programs there will be expanded to accommodate the Windsor students. “We are thrilled to partner with Windsor Law on the first U.S.-Canada environmental law clinic of its kind.”
Windsor law professor Marcia Valiante, who helped spearhead the collaboration, said students from both schools “will be able to learn about another nation’s legal system” and receive hands-on experience in affecting environmental policy.
via Joint environmental law program a first.