ENVIRONMENTAL LAW EXTERNSHIP SEMINAR (769)
MONDAYS, 9AM TO 10:50AM
PROFESSOR WILLIAM SNAPE, ROOM 349A (Office)
SPRING 2011 SYLLABUS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW
Welcome! This class is an exciting opportunity to combine practical legal experience with public interest
environmental advocacy. For more important information on WCL’s externship program in general, see
www.wcl.american.edu/externship/ This course has not only placed law students in exciting
environmental and natural resource job opportunities, but it has also facilitated many environmental
careers following graduation.
Anderson and Hirsch, Environmental Law Practice: Problems and Exercises for Skills Development (3rd
ed., 2010). There will also be handouts throughout the semester distributed usually by e-mail.
Class and Field Time:
Although the purpose of this course is to place you in a productive environmental law work setting, class
time is nonetheless crucial. Attendance on Monday mornings, of course, is mandatory. Each student
will also meet regularly with the professor one-on-one, or in small groups, to go over work-related
issues. Precise externship hours are established between the student and the field supervisor; hours are
then entered into a log sheet that is signed and turned in at the end of the semester.
The field work is pass/fail. Class work is graded as follows:
20%: class participation
10%: meeting preparation
25%: journal entries
25%: final written assignment(s)
20% class presentation
Reading is assigned for most classes and is listed below.
Journal entries are due weekly at class on topics assigned by professor.
The final written assignment, or assignments, is twenty pages worth of “legal” writing you did at
your externship and can consist of, for example, a complaint, memo, brief, motion, report,
analysis, discovery document, or other approved paper. This assignment is due Friday May 13
There is no final exam in this course.
The class presentation is about fifteen minutes long at the end of the semester, on a topic
approved between student and professor.
The course reading is meant to inform class discussion and supplement your work in your externship.
Class participation, journal writing and presentations will depend, in part, upon your reading, which
should also help your externship itself. Reading assignments are frequently supplemented with current
handouts or cases of note.
Monday January 10: No Reading. Class introductions and logistics.
Monday January 17: No class but reading and journal entries will be assigned.
Monday January 24: pp. 3-53 in text
Monday January 31: Ethical Issues in Externships, pp. 53-66, from Ogilvy et al., Learning From
Practice (hand out)
Monday February 7: pp. 54-98 in text
Monday February 14: Guest Lecturer: Stephanie Young, Esq., from Partnership Project on National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); Learning from Observation, pp. 215-38, from
Ogilvy et al., Learning From Practice (hand out)
Monday February 21: Guest Speaker ***
Monday February 28: pp. 99-141 in text
Monday March 7: SPRING BREAK
Monday March 14: pp. 142-73 in text
Monday March 21: pp. 175-256 in text
Monday March 28: pp. 256-318 in text
Monday April 4: Reading TBA
Monday April 11: Externships and Career Planning, pp. 401-436, from Ogilvy et al., Learning From
Monday April 18: Class Presentations. No reading.
Monday April 25: Class Presentations. No reading. Last class.
As in the “real world,” communication is key, with both your supervisor and your professor. When in
doubt, communicate. I am available by cell (202-536-9351) and email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org at almost any time, and if you leave a message, I will get back to you
relatively quickly. Although I do not expect law students to necessarily share (yet!) the passion about
environmental law and policy as does a twenty year veteran (or war horse), it is expected that you will
be prompt, conscientious and forthright. Problems or challenges tend not to go away when you ignore
them, but to fester and grow. Join the proud group of WCL environmental law program graduates who
are going to change the world! It will be a great semester.