Environmental & Natural Resources Systems Clinic

The Environmental & Natural Resources Systems Clinic enables students to blend their substantive doctrinal training in various natural resource-related legal areas with the development of practical skills and professional identity. Clinic students represent and work with various entities to address local, state, and federal concerns related to the use, conservation, management, and protection of land, water, air, the environment, habitats, species, and other natural resources. Past clients have included Trinity River Authority, Texas Target Communities, Texas Water Foundation, and Tarrant Regional Water District.

Modeled on a typical law firm or consulting practice, students are required to work individually and in teams, endeavor to understand client needs and demands, confront decision-making challenges, and manage workload. A chief objective of the clinic is to better prepare students to begin practicing law upon graduation. Students also gain valuable experience and contacts, which enhance their qualifications for long-term career opportunities.

Students in the Environmental & Natural Resources Systems Clinic will typically work in teams to interview and work with clients, experts, and other professionals, organize presentations, and prepare reports, position papers, and other legal and quasi-legal material. They will have the opportunity to build on the following skills: professional communications, attorney-client relationship building, interviewing, legal research and writing, policy development, fact-finding, and teamwork.

Course Information

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
In order to enroll in a Fall or Spring clinic, you must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Professional Responsibility. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic. There are limited waivers of this requirement, but only if a student worked full-time in a law firm or other position requiring the handling of confidential information for one year or more before attending law school.

Recommended Courses:
When there are more applications than slots available,preference is given to students who have also completed or enrolled in Administrative Law as well as Environmental Law, Energy Law, or Water Law.    

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school in a JD program
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
Three (3) hours credit.
Counts towards oral skills requirement.

Terms available:
Spring

Evaluation:
​Graded

Faculty:
Professors Gabriel Eckstein and Sara Thornton

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Application

Students are advised to review the Clinic Application & Registration Information Packet before submitting an application.

Student applications for the Community Development Clinic are available online:

There is no Howdy registration for clinics. Instead, applications are reviewed and students are accepted during registration period on a rolling basis. Priority is given to applications we receive by the priority deadline -- please refer to the Course Schedule for the current priority deadline. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in order to secure a seat in the clinic of their choice for the semester they would like. Once a seat has been secured, registration is handled on your behalf by a faculty member or administrator in the Clinical Program Office. Questions about the clinics or the application process can be answered by emailing experiential@law.tamu.edu.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.