Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment

CEN_EMM_For Students 20181120

For Students – Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

A central mission of the Emmett Institute is to attract, train, and support tomorrow's environmental leaders. We provide students with opportunities to work at the forefront of climate and environmental advocacy and to learn from leaders in the field.

Environmental Law Specialization

The Environmental Law Specialization formalizes a robust program of study and training for J.D. students and is integrated into the Emmett Institute. In addition to an array of doctrinal environmental law courses, students in the specialization can represent nonprofit advocacy groups and government agencies in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, enroll in several practical and simulation courses, and serve as externs with leading nonprofits and government agencies. Students in the specialization benefit from robust faculty advising, with each student developing an individualized curriculum package.

Students completing the specialization create a demonstrated record of study and experience in environmental law and prepare for careers with public-interest organizations, government agencies, and private law firms. Upon successful completion of the required courses, students are awarded a diploma notation at graduation.

Environmental Law Society

UCLA's Environmental Law Society arranges speaking events to facilitate open discussion of important and often controversial issues, coordinates UCLA participation in inter-school environmental moot court and negotiations competitions, organizes environmentally-focused activities for students and works to green the law school.

UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy

The UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy is one of the nation’s top environmental law journals, and has a staff of nearly 50 students. The Journal publishes twice a year and accepts articles from leading environmental law scholars and practitioners, as well as UCLA student-written comments and book reviews.


Second- and third-year law students interested in environmental law and policy can select from many exciting courses offered by Emmett Institute faculty and adjunct professors. Visit the UCLA School of Law Curriculum Guide for a list of current environmental courses.

Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic

Through the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, students take on important environmental cases and projects while representing non-profit groups and other public interest clients. Students have successfully challenged the grant of a permit for coal mining on Native American lands in Arizona on behalf of Hopi tribal members; drafted petitions and comment letters urging changes in federal law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Center for Biological Diversity; and worked through the United Nations on behalf of small island developing states fighting for aggressive international climate change action.

Career Placement

The Emmett Institute prides itself on the phenomenal success that UCLA Law alumni have had in obtaining environmental law and policy jobs. Our graduates have obtained jobs at the EPA and other government agencies, at non-profit environmental legal organizations, and at firms specializing in environmental issues, and have been appointed to highly competitive clerkships and fellowships. Our faculty members are happy to discuss employment opportunities and career tracks with students.

UCLA Law’s Office of Career Services is another great resource for students to find jobs and careers in environmental law.


Second- and third-year students may gain valuable real-world experience by choosing to participate in UCLA Law’s externship program. UCLA’s environmental law externships include opportunities with government agencies like the California Attorney General's office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and with non-profits including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Los Angeles Waterkeeper.

Students can choose from full-time and part-time externships. Full-time externs spend an entire semester working for the agency or organization and receive full law school credit, while part-time externs can split their time between classes and their externship work and receive credit for each. Externships are a phenomenal way to work with practicing environmental lawyers, develop skills and gain insight into future job opportunities.

Scholarships and Funding

The Emmett Institute offers incoming tuition scholarships, including the Will Scholarship in Environmental Law, the Shirley Shapiro Scholarship in Environmental Law, and the Emmett Scholarship in Environmental Law, to promising applicants looking to devote their careers to climate and environmental law issues.

We also regularly support public interest summer placements in environmental and climate law. We have provided financial support for students working at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Attorney General's office, among others. In addition, students can receive summer funding for summer environmental work through the Public Interest Law Fund.