Environmental Law

Mangrove Swamp

The Ideal Setting to Pursue Environmental Law 

The urgency of climate change, rising sea levels, and pollution have placed the role of law and lawyers front and center in the struggle to protect our planet. As an environmental lawyer, you can work on legislating for environmental protection to representing cases relating to contaminated spaces and endangered species protection to reconciling the challenges between land development and water use and conservation.

Miami Law offers an extensive environmental law curriculum, an Environmental Law Program, and an Environmental Law Concentration next to the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America. Our interdisciplinary offerings with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy bridge the gap between science and the law. Whether your goal is to work in a law firm, as in-house counsel, in a government setting, or at a non-profit organization, nationally or globally, Miami Law will prepare you to be a leader in environmental law.

Some Facts about Miami and Miami Law:

  • South Florida is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, has the 3rd largest U.S. national park, and the largest mangrove ecosystem in Western Hemisphere - the Florida Everglades National Park, about 30 minutes from campus. 
  • South Florida has the only living tropical reef in the continental U.S.
  • Access to the expertise of UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, a 65-acre marine research and education park that is a world-leader in oceanic and atmospheric research and teaching.

Read news stories about environmental law at Miami Law

Kelly Cox“Environmental law seeps into every area of practice and [externship at] the Department of Transportation [gave] me an opportunity to work on numerous issues of land use...Learning about how land use, property and environmental issues all intersect [was] fascinating and broadened the range of issues to consider in my pursuit of environmental justice.” 

Kelly Cox, J.D./M.P.S. ‘16 in Marine Affairs 
Director of Everglades Policy, National Audubon Society
Tavernier (Florida Keys), FL

Courses*

  • Administrative Law
  • Admiralty Law
  • Affordable Housing
  • Animal Law
  • Business and Human Rights
  • China Water Policy
  • Climate Change
  • Climate Change and Human Rights
  • Climate Change Law and Policy
  • Climate Finance
  • Coastal Law 
  • Community Equity Innovation and Resource Lab
  • Companion Animals and the Law
  • Conservation, Tourism, and Development
  • Construction Law
  • Crimes at Sea
  • Cross-Cultural Collaboration
  • Cross-Cultural Mediation
  • Emerging Forms of Philanthropy and the Role of Private Foundations in Effecting Social Change
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Litigation and Policy
  • Environmental Planning and the Environmental Impact Statement 
  • Environmental Regulation of Real Property
  • Evolution of Product Liability
  • Florida Tort Law
  • Human Rights and Environment 
  • International Climate Negotiations
  • International Law
  • Large Scale Litigation
  • Law of Green Buildings
  • Law of International Treaties
  • Law of the Sea
  • Legal Environment of the Cruise Industry
  • Legal Protection of the Ocean and Its Biodiversity
  • Legislation
  • Marine Ecology and the Law 
  • Marine and Coastal Legal and Policy
  • Issues in Miami
  • Natural Resources
  • Non-Profit Organizations and Social Enterprises
  • Planning and Zoning
  • Power and Influence
  • Pro Bono / Public Interest Law Ethics
  • Protection of Living Marine Resources
  • Public Interest Law Seminar
  • Public Interest Litigation in Private Practice
  • Real Property and Government
  • Regulatory Compliance, Corporate Governance, and Sustainability/li>
  • Researching the Administrative State
  • Scientific Evidence
  • Social Justice Engagement
  • Social Justice Lawyering
  • Space Law
  • State and Local Government
  • Statistics for Lawyers
  • Submarine Cables and International Law
  • The Freedom of Information Act
  • Toxic Torts
  • Toxic Torts and Regulation
  • Treaty Interpretation
  • UN Negotiations
  • Urbanism, Capitalism, and Development
  • Water Resources Policy
  • Wetlands Regulation and Real Property

*Course list is not exhaustive and does not set out a path of study.

Raleigh Watson"I came to UM specifically to pursue the joint degree program...I wanted to figure out a way to further my career, but also stay involved in ocean issues."

Raleigh Watson, J.D./M.A. '11 in Marine Affairs & Policy
Vice President and General Counsel, Skips Wastewater Services
Wellington, CT

Joint Degrees

International Opportunities

Natalie Cavellier“Attending [The United Nations] COP25 was by far the most memorable experience I’ve had in law school,” she says. “Being there made me see the different places a law degree can take you, especially in international law. I saw how diverse the field is, and how even someone who is practicing basic land use or Constitutional law in the U.S. can make a decent amount of difference at the international level.”

Natalie Cavellier, J.D./LL.M. '21 in Real Property Development
Attorney, Rural Property Rights
Braun and Gresham, PLCC
Austin, TX

Extracurricular Opportunities

  • Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board - Students argue in various moot competitions like the Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition which Miami Law won in 2021.
  • Environmental Justice Network
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Human Rights Society
  • International Law Society
  • Maritime Law Society
  • Public Interest Leadership Board
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Trial Team

Externships and Internships**

  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
  • Audubon Florida
  • Billfish Foundation
  • Centurion Law Group, Oil and Gas Divsion (Malabo, Equatorial New Guinea)
  • City of Miami Beach, City Attorney’s Office
  • Community, Engagement, Environmental Justice, & Health Laboratory, University of Maryland School of Public Health (College Park, MD)
  • EarthJustice 
  • Economic and Environmental Crimes Unit, United States Attorney’s Office
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Enforcement Division (Washington, DC) 
  • Environmental Protection Agency’s Region IV Office (Atlanta, GA)
  • Everglades Law Center 
  • Florida Sea Grant 
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (Washington, DC) 
  • Humane Society of the United States (New York NY)
  • Louisiana Sea Grant Law and Policy Program
  • Marine Highway Program
  • Miami Waterkeeper
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration-NASA
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-NOAA 
  • National Parks Conservation Association  Núñez Muñoz Abogados - Mining Environmental law division (Santiago, Chile)
  • Oceana 
  • Smith, Currie & Hancock, Environmental Law Practice
  • U.S. Coast Guard (Seattle, WA)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section (Washington, DC) 
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section (Washington, DC) 
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resource Division (Washington, DC)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (Washington, DC) 
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-EPA (Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Washington, DC) 

**List is not exhaustive and is intended to provide examples of past externships and internships.

Kenya Rothstein“Opportunities through Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center made it possible for me to work at the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region IV Office where I gained invaluable environmental law and regulatory enforcement experience that I use in my current role. I went to law school to pursue a career at the intersection of environmental, business, and sustainable law. I’m proud to start my career by contributing to rulemaking at this intersection both nationally and internationally.”

Kenya Rothstein, J.D. '21
Associate, Aqua Terra Aeris
Oakland, CA

Faculty

  • Tony Alfieri is an expert in poverty, the environment and environmental equity and justice and incubated the law school’s Environmental Justice Project.
  • Caroline Bradley is an expert in European community law, British and European financial law, and U.S. security regulations and teaches a course on Climate Finance.
  • Xavier Cortada is a lawyer and artist who focuses on art and the law and climate migration.
  • Tamar Ezer is Faculty Director of the Human Rights Program and works on climate change impacts on indigenous women.
  • Abigail Leigh Fleming is the Fredman Foundation Environmental Justice Clinic, Practitioner-in-Residence and Lecturer in Law.
  • Erin Okuno's research and scholarship focus on environmental law, particularly wetlands, biodiversity, endangered species, de-extinction, and international environmental law. 

Jessica Owley“Environmental law is of vital interest to our students and the community. UM President Frenk and Provost Duerk have identified climate change, resilience, and environmental issues as priorities for the institution. Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and Miami is on the front line.”

Jessica Owley
Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Law Program

  • Jessica Owley is an internationally recognized expert scholar in environmental law, Professor Owley directed the Environmental Law Program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. She has served as an OECD Fellow while a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Pontificia – Comillas (ICADE) in Madrid, Spain. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law, Property, and Society, is one of the founding members and the current President of the Environmental Law Collaborative, and is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and the World Commission of Protected Areas.
  • Bernard Oxman is one of the world's top experts on the laws of the sea and currently sits on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
    Ileana Porras is Senior Lecturer and teaches Public International Law, Climate Change Law & Policy, and Property Law.
  • Daniel Suman's research focuses on coastal management in Latin America, planning and enforcement in Marine Protected Areas, and public participation in environmental planning.
  • Marcia Narine Weldon is an expert in corporate governance, sustainability, employment law, regulatory compliance, corporate social responsibility, and the intersection of business and human rights.

Brittany Thomas“The Environmental Justice Clinic just changed my life, it showed me how I could advocate for my communities.” 

Brittany Thomas, J.D. ‘18 
Bertha Justice Fellow, Center for Constitutional Rights 
New York, NY