The environmental clinic continues to provide valuable services to the community and hands-on-learning opportunities for students. Supervised by Clinical Associate Professor Jamie Pleune, the Utah Environmental Law Clinic is designed to introduce students to a variety of methods and styles of environmental protection and to engage them on legal and ethical questions that arise in the practice of environmental law. The course develops and hones the students’ practice skills through direct supervision, extensive feedback, and opportunities to perform meaningful work while helping represent a live client. Finally, the structure of the course helps students begin developing a framework of reflective practices to use for processing information and experiences about law, society, and environmental issues.
This year, in collaboration with partnering attorneys, the students are working on a variety of issues that relate to land use. The clinic partnered with Utah State University and the Swaner Nature Preserve to address conservation easement related issues at the Swaner Nature Preserve. On the litigation front, the clinic is working with the Utah Stream Access Coalition on two cases that seek to restore the public’s ability to access and recreate on rivers and streams in Utah. Finally, the clinic students are working on an important urban environmental issue: the homeless situation downtown. In collaboration with the Environmental Dispute Resolution Center, the students will help conduct a Situation Assessment of Homeless Issues in Downtown Salt Lake City as a strategic and comprehensive effort to develop a collaborative long-term approach to addressing this significant issue and ensuring that downtown is a welcoming place for all. These partnerships demonstrate the clinic’s commitment to serving the community while providing a range of opportunities in which the students can develop practical lawyering skills that are critical to effective environmental advocacy.