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Learning Outcomes

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