Turner Environmental Law Clinic
The Turner Environmental Law Clinic provides important pro bono legal representation to individuals, community groups, and nonprofit 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.
An Integral Legal Resource and an Important Experience for Students
Protecting the Environment: Each year, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic provides over 4,000 hours of pro bono legal representation. The key matters occupying our current docket—fighting for clean and sustainable energy; promoting sustainable agriculture and urban farming; and protecting our water, natural resources, and coastal communities—are among the most critical issues for our state, region, and nation, especially in light of climate change’s effects.
Building our Legal Community: The Clinic strives to instill a cooperative and efficient mode of interaction among the public interest environmental law community through sponsoring meetings for Georgia’s Public Interest Environmental Law Coalition, making presentations across the country, and welcoming incredible speakers to Emory.
Educating our Students: The Clinic’s students benefit from immersion in real world, complex environmental matters. Not only are they emerging with newfound expertise and confidence, but they understand from firsthand experience the importance of providing public interest environmental representations.
The Turner Environmental Law Clinic focuses on fighting for clean and sustainable energy; promoting sustainable agriculture and urban farming; and protecting our water, natural resources, and coastal communities.
In this work, we represent and partner with many incredible environmental organizations.
We are pleased that our work has garnered national attention, appearing in hundreds of news stories through print media, broadcast news, and the Internet. We hope to continue to bring attention to the many critical environmental issues facing our state, region, and nation.
In an effort to promote clean and sustainable energy, on behalf of over 35 environmental organizations, the Clinic has successfully challenged decisions regarding the safety and environmental risks posed by nuclear power generation and the resultant nuclear waste.
As a result of our work and the work of our co-counsel:
- The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's regulation regarding nuclear waste, forcing the agency to reconsider the environmental impacts of long-term or indefinite storage of this waste at reactor sites across the country.
- Florida Power and Light is investigating the environmental impacts of injecting wastewater into aquifers under the Turkey Point nuclear site in Homestead, Florida.
- The Southern Nuclear Operating Company abandoned its ill-advised plan to dredge over 100 miles of the Savannah River to ship nuclear reactor components to the Plant Vogtle nuclear site in Waynesboro, Georgia.
- The Department of Energy released thousands of pages of documents regarding the $8.3 billion loan guarantees for Plant Vogtle, giving Congress, the media, and members of the public the information they need to assess the terms and conditions of the loans.
In addition to its nuclear work, the Clinic has tackled many other issues related to sustainable energy production. For example:
- In an effort to support the reduction of carbon emissions throughout the Southeast, the Clinic published a comprehensive report on Clean Power Plan compliance. The report, titled Mass-Based Clean Power Plan Compliance: State Law Impacts on Allowance Trading Programs in Eight Southeastern States, can be found here.
- The Clinic has also investigated issues ranging from solar power generation to natural gas fracking.
In cities, local food production increases food access, revitalizes underserved communities, creates green space, and increases property values. Across the country, sustainable agriculture practices also protect our land, water, animals, and farmers. The Clinic has promoted sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, and local food production through a wide range of activities:
- Published a sixteen-city survey of urban agriculture practices across the country.
- Together with Georgia Organics and the Atlanta Local Food Initiative, assisted the City of Atlanta in passing a zoning amendment that makes Atlanta one of the most permissive cities of urban agriculture practices in the country. Atlanta is now poised to be a leader in local food production.
- Partnered with Atlanta Farm-to-School, Captain Planet Foundation, and Georgia Organics to develop a comprehensive farm-to-school proposal for Atlanta Public Schools.
- On behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, prepared comments that convinced the Food and Drug Administration to issue a regulation governing the growing and harvesting of produce that protects public health, while also protecting small farmers and the environment.
- Partnered with Friends of the Earth in encouraging the federal regulation of neonicotinoids, a bee-toxic pesticide. The Clinic also worked closely with Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives to ban neonics from Emory's campus.
- Represented Global Growers and Common Market Georgia in developing an incubator farm and food hub.
- On behalf of Food Well Alliance, assessed legal barriers to small-scale, large-scale, and commercial composting in Georgia.
- Answered farmers' legal questions on numerous issues, including stormwater management, zoning, leasing, food safety, and soil testing.
In an effort to protect our water, natural resources, and coastal communities, the Clinic has tackled a wide-range of matters.
- Together with Southern Environmental Law Center and on behalf of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Savannah Riverkeeper, filed comments on permits to withdraw water from the imperiled Savannah River and discharge polluted water back into the river.
- On behalf of several riverkeepers, prepared an amicus curiae brief highlighting important conservation issues, which may be filed before the Special Master in Florida v. Georgia, a case of original jurisdiction in the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Partnered with local watershed protection organizations to monitor new reservoir proposals in Georgia.
- Partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to prepare a report for Congress that highlights the incredible outcomes the National Environmental Policy Act has helped achieve and the disasters it has helped avoid.
- Answered various questions related to conservation easements for The Nature Conservancy.
The Turner Environmental Law Clinic works with and represents numerous individuals, community groups, and nonprofit organizations. We’re proud of the relationships we’ve built, and we’re excited to work together to protect the environment. Some of our clients, co-counsel, and partners include:
- Alabama Rivers Alliance
- Alliance to Halt Fermi 3
- Apalachicola Riverkeeper
- Atlanta Farm to School
- Atlanta Local Food Initiative
- Atlanta Public Schools
- Beyond Nuclear
- Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
- Captain Planet Foundation
- Center for a Sustainable Coast
- Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
- Citizens Allied for Safe Energy
- Citizens Environmental Coalition
- Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2
- City of Atlanta
- Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes
- Common Market Georgia
- Don’t Waste Michigan
- Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives
- Everglades Law Center
- Flint Riverkeeper
- Food Well Alliance
- Friends of the Coast
- Friends of the Earth
- Georgia Conservancy
- Georgia Organics
- Global Growers
- Green States Solutions
- Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
- Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
- Love is Love Farm
- Missouri Coalition for the Environment
- National Parks Conservation Association
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- NC WARN
- Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force
- New England Coalition
- Northwest Environmental Advocates
- Nuclear Energy Information Service
- Nuclear Information and Resource Service
- Nuclear Watch South
- Physicians for Social Responsibility
- Public Health and Sustainable Energy
- San Clemente Green
- San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
- San Onofre Safety
- Savannah Riverkeeper
- SEED Coalition
- Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign
- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
- Southern Environmental Law Center
- Taxpayers for Common Sense
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Turner Foundation
- Truly Living Well
- Union of Concerned Scientists
The Clinic's Advisory Board includes prominent environmental lawyers, engineers, and scholars.
Ashten Bailey 11L, Environmental Attorney, Federal Government
William Buzbee, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School
Juliet Cohen, General Counsel, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Sam DeSimone, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, EarthLink
Jewell Harper, Professor, Spelman College
James Henderson, Founder and Managing Director, truGround Environmental
Richard A. Horder, Partner, Kazmarek, Geiger & Laseter LLP
Ciannat Howett, Director of Sustainability Initiatives, Emory University
Kelly Jordan, Founder and President, Point Center Corporation
Mandy Mahoney 06L, President, Southeastern Energy Efficiency Alliance
Jonathan Nash, Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Janette Pratt, Retired Administrative Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Kristen Ritter Rivera, Senior Geologist, EarthCon Consultants
Gil Rogers, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
Rutherford Seydel, Partner, Davis, Pickren, Seydel & Sneed LLP
Andrew M. Thompson 97L, Partner, Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP
Mindy Goldstein, Director
Director, Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Interim Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Richard A. Horder
Adjunct Professor of Practice, Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Adjunct Professor, Environmental Advocacy
Fellow, Turner Environmental Law Clinic
Kate Lee joins the Turner Environmental Law Clinic for the 2014-2015 academic year. Originally from eastern North Carolina, Kate graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in environmental sciences and a minor in marine sciences. In May 2014, she graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was an active participant in the school’s environmental community. During her third year of law school, Kate participated in Georgetown’s policy clinic, the Harrison Institute for Public Law, where she worked with the Georgetown Climate Center to develop policy in the areas of climate adaptation and water infrastructure. While in law school, Kate also interned with several other environmental organizations, including EPA’s Office of General Counsel, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. In her spare time, Kate enjoys UNC basketball, vegetarian cooking, and spending time with her dog and cat.
The Turner Environmental Law Clinic offers intellectually stimulating, professionally challenging, and personally rewarding instruction by granting Emory Law School students practical training in the practice of environmental law. Students enrolled in the Clinic:
- Take part in all aspects of complex civil litigation – drafting legal memoranda, briefs, and pleadings, and participating in client meetings, expert interviews, discovery, negotiations, and the development of case strategy.
- Present arguments at administrative hearings.
- Prepare transactional documents.
- Work on legislative and policy issues at the local, state, and national levels.
Throughout the course of this work, students interact with clients, community groups, government personnel, experts, co-counsel, and opposing counsel.
Enrollment and Credits
The Clinic enrolls up to ten second-year and third-year students each semester. Student-attorneys work a minimum of 150 hours in the Clinic and receive three credit hours towards graduation. Students may work in the Clinic for two semesters.
Prerequisites or Co-requisites
Admission into the Clinic is competitive. To apply, students must have taken or be currently enrolled in the two-credit Environmental Advocacy course offered every fall. Preference is given to students who also have taken or are currently enrolled in Environmental Law, Administrative Law, and other environmental or regulatory courses.
The Application ProcessEnrollment for the Fall 2016 semester has been completed. The Clinic is not currently accepting applications.
For any questions, please contact Mindy Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org.