Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program
Emory's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program provides students a comprehensive educational experience in which to study a wide array of environmental law issues.

Building on Emory’s strong faculty and its location in the dynamic business and governmental center of Atlanta, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program offers students extensive classroom, skills-training, and extracurricular opportunities, making it one of the nation’s strongest programs in environmental law. The program boasts more than a dozen course offerings, two full-time faculty members, outstanding adjunct professors from law firms and federal agencies, sixteen externships, and the Turner Environmental Law Clinic.

Students can apply the knowledge and skills gained through the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program across many practice settings, as evidenced by our alumni, who work in prominent law firms, state and federal agencies, and public interest environmental organizations across the country. We are proud to provide a thorough and first-rate education in environmental law that prepares students for a wide variety of careers.

Environmental Law Externships

  • Attorney General of Georgia (Environmental and Natural Resources Section)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • GE Energy Services
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources (Environmental Protection Division)
  • Georgia Governor's Intern
  • Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings
  • GreenLaw
  • Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Southern Company
  • The Coca-Cola Company (Sustainability)
  • The Home Depot (Sustainability)
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Students may take a limited number of environmental classes in other departments of Emory University.

Students particularly interested in the intersection of environmental law and public health may earn joint juris doctor of law (JD) and master of health (MPH) degrees. 

The Office of Sustainability

 Environmental Courses Available in the Rollins School of Public Health

  • Advanced Seminar in Climate Change & Health
  • Air Quality in the Urban Environment
  • Approaches to Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Research
  • Biomarkers & Environmental Public Health
  • Built Environment & Public Health
  • Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease
  • Environmental Epidemiology
  • Environmental Hazards I & II
  • Environmental Health Sciences Seminar
  • Environmental Microbiology: Control of Food and Waterborne Disease
  • Environmental & Occupational Health Practice
  • Environmental & Occupational Health Policy
  • Global Climate Change: Health Impacts & Response
  • Human Toxicology
  • Issues in Toxicology
  • Methods in Environmental Epidemiology
  • Methods in Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology
  • Perspectives in Environmental Health
  • Public Health Consequences of Disasters
  • Radiation Health & Safety
  • Spatial Analysis of Disease Ecology

 Environmental Courses Available in Emory College Department of Environmental Studies

  • American Environmental History
  • Climatology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Ecology
  • Ecology & Evolution of Disease
  • Ecological Economics
  • Energy & Climate Change
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Thought: Ethics, Philosophy & Issues
  • Environmental Studies: Mineralogy & Petrology
  • Environmental Studies: Global Change Sciences
  • Environmental Studies: Ecology of Tibet
  • Foundations of Sustainability
  • Geology & Human Health
  • Human & Natural Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • International Environmental Policy
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Seminar on Environmental Issues
  • Service Learning Course in ENVS: Local Foods & Georgia Seafood
  • Sustainable Water Resources
  • Water
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Urban Ecology & Development

Environmental Law Curriculum

Core Courses

Administrative Law: Most areas of contemporary legal practice require lawyers to work with administrative agencies and a large body of law concerning such agencies. This course is a study of how agencies are empowered, the procedures and modes through which agencies carry out their tasks, and legal constraints on these agencies. Topics include constitutional limits on Congress' power to delegate legislative and judicial power to agencies; procedures imposed upon agency adjudication and lawmaking by the Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and other statutes; the scope of judicial review of agency decisions, including the methods by which courts restrict and control agency discretion, and the limitations on the availability of federal judicial review of federal agency actions. Additionally, the course will explore several recent "regulatory reform" initiatives.

Energy Law: The course examines state, federal and international regulation of energy markets and the development, production and distribution of energy. The course will emphasize the interrelation of energy policy with other legal and economic policy areas.

Environmental Advocacy: The Environmental Advocacy Workshop includes reading assignments, written exercises, seminar-like discussion, and simulations with an emphasis on legal practice. The course will develop students' abilities to function as successful environmental advocates in the context of client interviews, administrative  proceedings, negotiations, and litigation. Other issues covered include advocating environmental protection.

Environmental Law: This course focuses on legal strategies to regulate and remedy environmental harms. The course is designed to prepare transactional lawyers, regulatory lawyers, government counsel and litigators, as well as students interested in specializing in environmental law. A major goal of the course is to introduce students to the analytical skills necessary to understand and work in this and many other predominantly statutory and regulatory fields. The course will focus on various federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Natural Resources
Water Law

Supplemental Courses

Animal Law

Commercial Real Estate

Complex Litigation: A study of the metamorphosis of litigation from the simple two-party model to multi-party, multi-claim litigation increasingly prevalent today, including the causes of this change and ability of the legal system to resolve such disputes. The course centers on a detailed study of the class action device, including jurisdictional and due process implications. Also included is the study of the problem of duplicative state and federal litigation, judicial control of complex cases, including multi-district litigation procedures and the case management movement, discovery, and problems relating to preclusion in complex cases.

Federal Courts: This course deals with the allocation of judicial business between the state and federal courts, as well as the jurisdictional tensions that arise from a dual judicial system. In addition, the course considers the relationship between the federal judiciary and Congress, particularly as it implicates legislature's power to structure and limit the federal courts' subject matter jurisdiction. This practical course implicates important theoretical issues about decision-making institutions under our federal system of government.

Food and Drug Law: Food and drug law involves the statuory and regulatory framework governing the development and marketing of food, drugs, medical devices, biological products, and cosmetics. This introductory course serves as a starting point for understanding how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration attempts both to protect the public health and foster our national desire and need for innovation in science, medicine, and the safety of our food supply. The course will study how the FDA and the courts have enforced and interpreted the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to implement a regulatory system for a wide range of products that affect our daily lives. Dialogue and questions on how food and drug law have confronted and adapted to scientific and technological progress, public health challenges, constitutional controversies, and policy-based perspectives will be encouraged. Additionally, the course covers such contemporary issues as food safety; balancing the benefits and risks of certain drugs, devices and biological products and how best to communicate that information to healthcare professionals and consumers; expediting approval of drugs designed for life-threatening diseases; clinical trials for experimental products; and regulation of biotechnology such as tissue engineering and gene therapy. Other specific topics include: regulation of food labeling and sanitation; regulation of dietary supplements; administrative rulemaking; advertising and promotion controls; preemption of state laws; and strategies for handling government investigations and enforcement actions.

Legislation and Regulation: This course introduces students to the central role of legislatures and administrative agencies in the practice of law today, addressing how statutes and regulations are generated, changed, and interpreted. This course is a primary building block for Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Legislation, and numerous specialized upper-level courses such as Employment Law, Environmental Law, Intellectual Property, International Trade Law, and Securities Law.

Property: An introduction to alternative theories of property rights, the division of property rights over time (common law estates, landlord-tenant law); concurrent ownership; private land-use controls (easements, covenants); and public land-use controls (eminent domain, zoning).

State and Local Government: An explanation of the essential legal structure of state and local governments. Topics include state constitutional law; the constitutional and statutory powers of counties and municipalities; legislation; the balance of state law against local government law; the tensions between urban and rural governments; the overall scope of the police powers; and revenue authority. The course also considers special-purpose local government entities such as school districts and development authorities. 

Capstone Course:

Turner Environmental Law Clinic: The Turner Environmental Law Clinic provides important pro bono representatino to individuals, community groups, and non-profit organizations that seek to protect and restore the natural environment for the benefit of the public. Through its work, the Clinic offers students an intense, hands-on introduction to environmental law and trains the next generation of environmental attorneys.

Environmental Student Organizations

 Environmental Law and Conservation Society

 The Environmental Law and Conservation Society (ELCS) works to foster the role of environmental law as a comprehensive practice area for careers ranging from government employment and public interest work to industry representation. While career development is integral to the ELCS programming, the society also emphasizes educational enrichment and hands-on experience in environmental conservation.  Society members network with practitioners, learn about current environmental legal issues, volunteer in the Atlanta community (sometimes with practitioners), and enjoy outings in the beautiful Georgia outdoors with other law students and alumni.

Emory Public Interest Committee

The Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) is committed to making public interest jobs accessible to Emory Law students and providing summer grants for students who accept volunteer positions or clerkships in public interest organizations.  Grant recipients have chosen to work in the environmental field have volunteered at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Turner Environmental Law Clinic.

Emory University Office of Sustainability

Mindy Goldstein
Mindy Goldstein
Director, Turner Environmental Law Clinic

Mindy Goldstein joined the Turner Environmental Law Clinic in 2008. She supervises students on litigation, transactional, and policy matters related to sustainable energy and climate change, access to information, urban agriculture and farming, water quality, land use, and endangered species protection. Goldstein also serves as co-chair of the Georgia Public Interest Environmental Law Coalition and as a member of PATH Foundation’s special events and public relations committee.

Before joining the clinic, Goldstein was an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.  While there, she represented clients in real estate and land use transactions. Goldstein graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she received a concentration in environmental law and worked in the environmental law clinic.

Richard Horder
Richard A. Horder
Adjunct Professor of Practice, Turner Environmental Law Clinic
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Advocacy

Rick Horder, partner in the Atlanta environmental law firm of Kazmarek Geiger & Laseter, serves as the Turner Environmental Law Clinic adjunct professor of practice. He also serves as an Emory Law adjunct professor, teaching Environmental Advocacy. Horder received his BA and JD from the University of Florida, an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MBA from Georgia State University.

He served as an assistant US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in its civil division from 1974-1977, where he represented the US Environmental Protection Agency, among other federal agencies. He joined Georgia Pacific as regional counsel when it moved to Atlanta in 1978. He later served as associate general counsel, responsible for environmental compliance and environmental and toxic tort litigation corporate-wide and supervised the corporate and business matters of the chemical division.

In 1989, he joined Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Atlanta as a partner, where he was chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group for 20 years. He joined Kazmarek Geiger & Laseter in 2010. Horder is former chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which is based at Zoo Atlanta.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
Professor of Law

Jonathan Nash specializes in environmental law, property law, civil procedure, and the study of courts and judges. Before coming to Emory Law, Professor Nash served as the Robert C. Cudd Professor of Environmental Law at Tulane University. He teaches courses in environmental law, international environmental law, property, land use, civil procedure, and law and economics. Most recently, Professor Nash was a visiting professor at University of Chicago Law School, and he has served as a visiting professor at Hofstra University School of Law and a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School. Professor Nash is a prolific scholar who publishes in many top-ranked law journals.

Prior to teaching, Professor Nash was a law clerk to the Honorable Donald Stuart Russell of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and to the Honorable Nina Gershon, then Chief Magistrate Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Professor Nash also worked as an attorney in New York.

Adjunct Faculty

Peter Crofton

Richard Horder

William Kitchens

David Moore

Bill Sapp

Andy Thompson