Practice, Policy, and Pedagogy in a Mandatory Environmental Law Course
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All students at the University of Richmond School of Law are required to complete a first-year course in Environmental Law, as an introduction to the strategies and technicalities of statutory and regulatory regimes. This requirement poses special pedagogical challenges for the instructors. How, for example, is the class to address pollution questions regarding diverse media? Which of the many federal and nonfederal statutory provisions deserve the most (and least attention)? How does the instructor hold the attention of, and gain the most effective work product from, students whose major interests lie outside the area of Environmental Law? What is the proper mix of statutory, regulatory, and judge-made (pre- and post-regulatory) law?
Our solution has been to craft a unique combination of traditional lectures and readings regarding specific statutes, regulations, and case law; weekly discussion questions that immerse the students in the intricacies of statutory and regulatory provisions; a series of small-group simulations designed to highlight substantive legal points and to place the students in a wide range of legal and extralegal settings (client interviews, appellate argument, advocacy before administrative bodies, negotiation, lobbying public officials, legislative drafting); and periodic written assignments that focus the students' attention on technical legal and public policy issues.
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