LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law

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  • Course description
    Our students often tell us that the LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law program at Lewis & Clark is a challenging, exhilarating, life-changing experience.   Courses taught by some of the nation's leading scholars, a faculty open-door policy, warmly supportive staff, an energized and engaged student body, and a beautiful setting in one of America's most culturally sophisticated and environmentally progressive cities combine to make Lewis & Clark's LL.M. program  a uniquely rewarding adventure.

    Area of Specialization
    : Lewis & Clark offers education in all aspects of environmental and natural resources law, including the laws of the U.S., international law, and related areas such as environmental justice and animal law. Since Lewis & Clark's LL.M. is entirely dedicated to excellent instruction in the area of environmental and natural resources law, it is not suitable for those seeking a more general education in U.S. law.

    Number of LL.M. Students: We keep this program deliberately small, between 12 and 20 students in any given year, so that LL.M. students have the opportunity to work closely with our environmental faculty and staff.

    Time requirements: The LL.M. program requires students from the U.S. and common law countries to complete 26 semester hours of credit.  U.S. students attending full-time can generally complete the LL.M. program in one academic year (two semesters), but those going part-time may take up to two and a half years to finish all requirements.

    International students complete at least 26 credit hours.  Those without previous background in the common law are required in addition to take the two-credit International LL.M. Seminar: Introduction to U.S. Environmental Law and Legal Study.  This additional course brings their required credits to 28.  Although it is also possible for international students to complete the program in the fall and spring semester following the International LL.M. Seminar that begins in August, we strongly recommend that international students budget for three academic semesters (fall, spring and summer or fall, spring and fall) due to the intensity of study required.  U.S. student visa requirements impose a time limit of 18 months for international students to complete the degree in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. Visa requirements and length of study in the U.S. should be discussed well in advance with our International Students and Scholars Office.  To ensure compliance with Homeland Security regulations, international students must remain in contact with ISSO throughout their stay in the U.S.

    Course requirements: All students must take a two-credit Graduate Environmental Seminar (one credit in the fall, one in the spring).  In the fall, students participate in discussions with faculty about cutting-edge environmental law topics.  In the spring, students produce a legal research paper and accompanying presentation on their chosen environmental topic under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

    Students from the U.S. are required to take Administrative Law and a survey Environmental Law class if they have not already taken these in their J.D. or LL.B. programs.  International students from non-common-law countries are required to take the International LL.M. Seminar and a survey Environmental Law class; we recommend Administrative Law, but do not require it, for international students.

    For the remaining credits required for the degree, students may choose from Lewis & Clark's vast array of curriculum choices, including up to 8 credits of non-environmental classes.  Check with your director and What's What for details.

    Thesis option: Exceptional students may have the option of completing a major written thesis for six credits. This option is not open to all LL.M. students and must only be undertaken after consultation with and permission of the program director and faculty thesis supervisor.  If your goal in writing a thesis is to produce a publishable paper, it can be met by your LL.M. graduate seminar paper; which is supervised by a faculty member.  LL.M. students have successfully published their papers in law journals across the United States.

    Fall and spring entrance: U.S. students can apply to begin their LL.M. studies in the fall semester, which begins in late August, or in the spring semester, which begins in mid-January.  They may also opt to begin their program with our Environmental Summer School that runs from late May through July.  International students begin in early August with the International LL.M. Seminar designed to introduce them to the U.S. legal system and law studies in the U.S.

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