Environmental Law

April 30, 2007

M.H., 2L

As I near the end of my second year, I’m coming to realize that the number of environmental courses offered at Yale hasn’t been as big of a problem as I feared it would be. I have been able to take as many environmentally related classes here as I would have at a law school with a larger focus on environmental law. So far, in the three semesters that I’ve been able to choose classes, I’ve been able to take four classes specifically devoted to environmental law, including an environmental clinic. In addition to the classes offered in the law school, the structure of the law school’s academic program gives me the opportunity to take classes offered by the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I plan to take advantage of these offerings next year. I have also written my Supervised Analytic Writing (SAW) on an environmental law topic with an environmental law professor. In addition, both of my summer internships have been in environmental practice groups.

When I was choosing among law schools, I felt pretty certain that I wanted to practice environmental law. Although I was excited about the opportunities that I knew awaited me at Yale, I was unsure whether I would benefit from going to a different law school with a stronger focus on the environmental law specialty area. I looked at Yale’s course offerings, and I saw that there appeared to be a limited offering of environmental law courses. Other programs, especially at larger schools, boasted a much broader range of courses in environmental law. I tried to weigh the benefits of attending a highly regarded school like Yale with the benefits of attending a school that seemed to have a greater focus on my chosen field of study. In the end, I chose to come to Yale in spite of what I perceived at the time as a possible weakness in my desired practice area.

With the variety of other law classes that I have taken to give myself a broader background in the law and classes that I have taken outside of environmental law that have interested me, I realize that I would not have been able to take any more environmental law classes, no matter how many more classes were offered. I have no doubt that the other opportunities that Yale offers (including numerous clinical experiences, contact with faculty, and an amazing group of peers, among many others) more than outweigh the benefits of going to a school with a greater course offering in my chosen practice area.