UB School of Law announces Environmental LL.M.

The University at Buffalo School of Law has announced the opening of a new environmental law LL.M. program to address the increased need for lawyers in addressing pressing environmental and resource issues.

“Whether advocating the position of a public interest group, a corporate client, a government agency or a private citizen, almost every area of legal practice today touches upon some aspect of environmental law,” said professor Jessica Owley. “At a global level, critically important issues such as climate change, sustainability and transnational pollution require an understanding of environmental law and policy.”

The program includes a seminar and research project requirements designed to teach students how to analyze complex environmental law issues. Students must also participate in a clinic, practicum or externship that is directly related to a real environmental dispute. Coursework includes pollution control, land use, climate change law, historic preservation law and international environmental law.

Benjamin E. Wisniewski, an associate at the Buffalo law firm of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, was the recipient of the first Environmental Law LL.M. to be conferred by the school.  He practices in the area of environmental and energy law, and is a member of his firm’s government investigations and enforcement actions practice team.

"Buffalo is the perfect setting for the Environmental Law LL.M. program,” Wisniewski says. “From nature's majesty in Niagara Falls, to the cautionary tale of Love Canal, I cannot think of a better setting to educate new environmental lawyers. Beyond its location, I am confident the curriculum developed by the law school provides an ideal blend of practical instruction and academic exploration.”

Prior to the launch of the Environmental Law LL.M., UB School of Law provided programming in the area of environmental law. Students pursuing a J.D. at the law school can choose a concentration in environmental law, participate in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, or submit articles to the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal.  

The law school faculty includes specialists in wetlands law and policy, international environmental law, the transnational governance of forests, animals and biodiversity, local environmental law and conservation.

The University of Buffalo has been a leader in addressing environmental issues, focusing on finding solutions to global challenges through research, education, and sustainability practices, according to a press release. As a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the university has pledged to minimize its adverse impact on the environment and achieve “climate neutrality” by 2030.

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