Getches-Green Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic

Mission and Clients

Founded in 1978, the Getches-Green Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic is one of the country's first environmental law clinics.  Originally, Clinic  students worked under the supervision of staff attorneys at the National Wildlife Federation.  In 2010, the Clinic moved in house to the Law School, where the Clinic continues its mission of training future attorneys through the representation of clients in environmental cases. 

Scope

The Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic is a graded one-semester course; the workload may exceed that of a typical 4-credit course.  Students in the Clinic engage in litigation and related advocacy efforts, most commonly on behalf of national or local environmental groups.  Clinic students draft pleadings and briefs, counsel their clients, develop case theories and legal strategies, participate in settlement negotiations, and, occasionally, present oral arguments in federal court. 

Students' casework is complemented by a classroom seminar, which focuses on the practical aspects of environmental litigation, including administrative decision-making, client representation, legal drafting, and ethical issues.  Many of these topics are explored using court filings from the Otero Mesa litigation, which involved a proposed energy development in New Mexico.

Types of Legal Assistance

In recent years, student attorneys have worked on matters such as:

  • A lawsuit in federal district court involving off-road vehicle (ORV) use on roadless areas within a Colorado national forest;
  • An appeal before the Interior Board of Land Appeals involving natural gas development on sensitive wildlife habitat in Wyoming;
  • A federal district court case involving a proposed coal mine in Wyoming;  
  • Comments on a proposed coal lease in western Colorado;
  • Protests of oil and gas leases issued by the Bureau of Land Management; and
  • A petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking to list a species under the Endangered Species Act.