It was just over a year ago that Wayne Law, in partnership with Windsor Law and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, announced the launch of the first transnational environmental law clinic in North America. The Transnational Environmental Law Clinic has two complementary goals: (1) preparing law students with the practical skills and strategic thinking needed for the modern practice of environmental law; and (2) filling an unmet need for legal resources to protect the Great Lakes region from threats such as invasive species on both sides of the border. A year later, it’s clear that these goals are being met.
As one measure of success in preparing law students for a career in environmental law, check out the recent story on the placement of several Transnational Environmental Law Clinic students in public sector internships for the summer: Robert Johns (Michigan Attorney General's Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division); Katie Okonowski (EPA Region 4 Office of General Counsel), and Nick Ranke (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality). The Transnational Environmental Law Clinic often works closely with (and sometime against) these agencies, so the agencies know first hand of the quality of students’ work.
Thanks in large part to the excellent work of clinic students, the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic has become a valuable resource for citizens, local governments, and community organizations addressing transboundary environmental problems. One example, reported in Greenwire, is the clinic’s work on behalf of Canadian environmental organizations in the ongoing legal fights over Asian carp in the Great Lakes. The Greenwire article highlights the excellent work of Professors Nick Schroeck (Wayne Law) and Marcia Valiante (Windsor Law), superb teachers that bring tremendous policy and advocacy experience to the classroom. Their work is a great example of the cross-border cooperation needed to solve many environmental problems in the Great Lakes region.
Update: For more coverage of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, see Professor Nick Schroeck's "Asked and Answered" interview with the Detroit Legal News.