AOI: Environmental Law
Forty years after its introduction, what is now known as the Environmental Law and Sustainability Clinic continues to provide invaluable hands-on learning experience for students, using litigation and other means of advocacy to advance environmental priorities in the Great Lakes region and beyond.
Russell Smith’s clients are slimy. Really. They number in the billions, don’t communicate, and move constantly. He willingly allows many to get the death penalty. Smith, ’86, is deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Joseph Sax, a pioneer of environmental law, died March 9, 2014, at the age of 78. He was a professor of law at Michigan from 1966 to 1986. Although he later joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, he said of Michigan, “It is the place where I grew and prospered professionally, and it shall always be my intellectual home.”
It was only as he sat in Paris at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties that Jesse Medlong realized he might be an environmental lawyer.
In Practice Winter 2022
Ted Kill, ’07, covered a lot of ground between Michigan Law and his arrival in Antarctica, when he travelled to the continent as part of an interagency federal government inspection team. His journey to the bottom of the earth started with a clerkship at the International Court of Justice that he secured through Michigan Law, which served as a bridge to joining the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.
@UMICHLAW Winter 2022
“One out of three Americans [have felt the effects of climate change] in the last couple of months, between the wildfires and hurricanes and flooding, and the storms and droughts and heatwaves. We’re in a new era when we can see it and taste it and feel it for ourselves.”
@UMICHLAW Fall 2020
John Petoskey, ’20, appointed to Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice | Professor Ellen Katz receives 2020 L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching | Professor of Law Evan Caminker co-counsels successful appellate case | and more...
From Texas Roadhouse to Massachusetts dairy, we profile alumni working across the food industry's varied legal landscape. This includes a food lawyer who, “has participated in the development of virtually every law and regulation affecting the food industry in the last four decades,” an environmental lawyer advocating for sustainable meat production, a food writer, and a fast-food franchise owner.
“The first thing the professor told us was that he wasn’t trying to ban fossil fuels and he wasn’t trying to set goals for the next decade. He said that he just wanted to make sure we have policies in place now so that in 100 years, we’re much better off than we otherwise would be. And I said, ‘Well, with that line of thinking, we can actually work together.’”
When Mike Hardy, ’72, and Jim Spaanstra, ’77, began practicing environmental law, the laws, the issues facing their clients, and the environment itself were different than they are now. Hardy became an environmental lawyer because his firm needed a young associate to figure out this burgeoning practice area; for Spaanstra—who considered former Michigan Law Professor and environmental law pioneer Joe Sax a mentor—it was the reason he came to law school.