Environmental & Energy Practice

Environmental Law focuses on laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act that protect human health and the environment. Energy Law involves a variety of laws—ranging from federal energy policy statutes to local land use regulations—that govern energy production, distribution, and use.  Attorneys practicing environmental or energy law engage in a variety of tasks, including litigating cases, advising clients, managing complex permit requests or enforcing regulations for local, regional or national government agencies. Environmental and Energy lawyers are often charged with managing complex and multifaceted projects, such as construction of a renewable energy project on property contaminated from a previous industrial use. Attorneys regularly collaborate with professionals beyond the legal field, partnering with colleagues in finance, ecology and engineering to find creative and innovative solutions to complex issues.

Villanova’s program offers students a distinctive problem-based format and practice-based focus to learning Environmental and Energy Law that allows students to explore and gain a better understanding of the field, while preparing them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in practice. Students in the introductory Environmental Law course and Energy Law course learn the material through a series of problems similar to those an attorney would encounter in practice. Environmental Lawyering is a simulation-based course in which students follow a hypothetical case through the entire semester as the professor injects various obstacles and legal situations often encountered in practice.

Students interested in Environmental Law are encouraged to pursue an externship in the field. A hallmark of Villanova’s educational experience, our externship program offers placements in a variety of practice settings, including in government, at law firms and with non-profit organizations (see below for a list of recent placements). Externships are supervised by both an on-site field instructor and a full-time faculty member who works closely with each student to monitor progress and to ensure overall professional development.

The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are fundamentally associated with this practice area. These courses are recommended, but not required for those interested in the field.

  • Administrative Law
  • Administrative Rulemaking: The Regulatory Process
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Lawyering
  • International Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources Law

The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are related, but not necessarily essential to this practice area. Students interested in this field may consider enrolling in these courses to supplement their studies. 

  • Corporate Compliance Risk Management
  • Land Use Planning
  • Clean Air Council
  • Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Lieberman & Blecher
  • French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

Villanova Environmental
Law Journal

The Villanova Environmental Law Journal is a national legal publication dedicated to the scholarly review of environmentally related topics.  Read more about the journal here

VLS Environmental Law Journal