Learning Outcomes

The following is the A.B.A. Standard 301 Statement Regarding Learning Outcomes for the Environmental and Sustainability Certificate.

Knowledge and understanding of substantive law

  • Understand the theoretical justifications for environmental law
  • Understand the theory and concept of sustainability, including its applicability to many disciplines and its many definitions
  • Explore the tools and questions necessary to identify, analyze, and apply the theory of sustainability to real world legal situations
  • Understand the fundamentals concerning the relevant laws and policies applicable at the international, national, and subnational levels
  • Delve deeply into the law’s role in pressing environmental and sustainability issues, such as climate change
  • Understand the complex relationship between environmental and sustainability law and other areas of law
  • Explore the dynamic relationship between law, behaviors, and environmental degradation

Knowledge and understanding of procedural law

  • Understand the administrative process involved with environmental law.
  • Understand available policy options, such as developing policy through litigation and command and control regulation
  • Understand basic standing requirements necessary to file an environmental action
  • Understand the basics of international law and treaties, including customary international law
  • Understand the effect subnational decisions can have on the environment and how those decisions are made
  • Understand the concept of sovereignty at many levels, including international, national, and subnational

Legal analysis and reasoning

  • Be able to analyze the impacts law can have on society
  • Be able to create fact-based arguments concerning how and why one environmental policy is more effective than another
  • Draw connections between the law and behaviors
  • Evaluate whether a given condition or law is sustainable.
  • Draft and present on new legislation to enhance the environment and sustainability

Legal research

  • Be familiar with the fundamental documents and cases concerning environmental law in the US and international treaties can cases
  • Be familiar with the international documents relevant to sustainability
  • Explore subnational policies concerning the environment and sustainability, including local planning actions and state climate plans
  • Be familiar with the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability and the availability of documents outside of traditional legal research
  • Be able to ask the questions necessary to identify and apply sustainability
  • Be able to draft local legislation and policy concerning sustainability


  • Be able to assess whether a law is leading to sustainable or unsustainable conditions
  • Be able to draft a law that enhances sustainability
  • Make fact-based arguments concerning the application of environmental laws
  • Be able to make cogent arguments for or against environmental laws
  • Be able to foresee and plan for arguments hostile to policies that enhance sustainability
  • Be able to understand the basic science behind climate change

Written communication in the legal context

  • Be able to write a simple motion and a complaint in an environmental lawsuit
  • Be able to draft legislation enhancing sustainability
  • Be able to draft a client advice letter regarding the applicability of environmental regulations

Oral communication in the legal context

  • Be able to effectively communicate with key stakeholders
  • Be able to present local legislation before local policymakers in a public forum
  • Be able to meet and discuss with community leaders the importance of sustainability

Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities

  • Understand and show commitment to representing the client zealously
  • Understand environmental justice and climate justice
  • Understand your ethical responsibility when your client is harming the environment in a dangerous manner

Other professional skills needed of a competent and ethical practitioner

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Law School News
May 23, 2018
Drake Law School placed third in the nationwide ABA Competitions Championship, which awarded team achievements and participation in the ABA Law Student Division’s four practical skills competitions.