The Energy & Environmental Law Practice Clinic (LAW7607) assigns students to matters during the first scheduled class and from time-to-time thereafter. The clinic groups two to four students together to match the size of the group with the complexity and the amount of work required for each matter. In addition to these assigned matters, weekly seminars are conducted on the Law School campus. The seminar sessions feature legal and technical experts from government and the private sector. Each session explores various energy and environmental law practice elements including: federal and state causes of action, pleadings and proof of facts; adjudications before the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Siting Council; regulatory compliance issues under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, RCRA, TSCA and other state and federal legislation and regulatory programs; investigation and remediation strategies for the cleanup of environmentally impaired property; and insights into the transactional elements associated with the purchase, sale, financing and leasing of so-called “Brownfields” property.
Depending on the needs of the clients in a given semester, students are likely to: (1) evaluate potential client matters and review possible conflicts of interest; (2) interview and interact with clients; (3) address ethical, tactical, legal and business issues that emerge in the course of representation; and (4) draft documents such as legal memoranda, client letters and pleadings in administrative and judicial proceedings.
The Clinic makes an effort to schedule one to three field trips each semester to give students an opportunity to view pollution control facilities, resource recovery facilities and co-generation facilities central to the types of matters they will encounter in the practice of energy and environmental law.
The Clinic has developed a relationship with the Environmental Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) whereby selected students are given the opportunity to attend the Section’s monthly meetings in order to report on new cases of interest to the environmental bar. Interaction with the CBA Environmental Law Section provides valuable networking opportunities with practicing attorneys and reinforces the real work experience that only the Energy and Environmental Law Practice Clinic provides.
Professor Alan Kosloff has enjoyed the practice of environmental law for more than 38 years in both the public and private sectors. Since 1981, Professor Kosloff has been engaged in the private practice of law, focusing on environmental regulatory matters, environmental litigation, site remediation and the purchase, sale and finance of environmentally impaired real estate.
“The Energy & Environmental Law Practice Clinic was one of those courses that provided directly transferrable skills to 'real world' practice. From developing federal and state environmental regulatory compliance strategies for clients to investigating and drafting Department of Energy and Environmental Protection compliant remediation strategies for environmentally impaired properties for municipalities, this clinic is a must for anyone wanting to get substantive legal practice. You will learn by meeting with real clients, researching and analyzing relevant statutory guidance, and providing solutions and options to the client. This will be by far one of the most involved and relevant courses you will take in law school.”
“The Energy and Environmental Law Practice Clinic was the most valuable experience I had at UConn Law School. This clinic enhanced my research and writing skills and taught to me to think critically. I attended hearings and interviewed actual clients. This experience provided me with skills that are crucial to succeed in the real world. We had many guest speakers, including siting council members, environmental justice staff, adjudicators, [Connecticut] Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) staff and engineers, who afforded much insight on the current state of environmental and energy law. This practice clinic also led me to a job at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. I would highly recommend Professor [Alan] Kosloff’s course.”
“While participating in the clinic, my primary client was the City of Waterbury which sought legal advice in preparation to plan and construct an urban greenway. I worked closely with Professor [Alan] Kosloff drafting easement language, legislative amendments, and investigating blighted properties along the proposed greenway route. We visited brownfields, discussed community outreach, lobbying and policymaking tactics to help make the greenway a success. I attended meetings at City Hall and awareness conventions for the Naugatuck River Valley Remediation Project. We had the opportunity to meet with stakeholders, engineers from across the country, former Mayor [Michael] Jarjura, the city’s corporation counsel and many other city employees. The Clinic gave me the opportunity to write, read, speak, and think like a lawyer. I recommend this Clinic to anyone who has an interest in environmental, energy, municipal, land use, administrative or real estate law. It is one of the single best investments of my time I made while at UConn Law.”
“This clinic is one of the most practical experiences available at UConn Law. Even the lectures are geared toward the nuts-and-bolts aspects of practicing environmental law in Connecticut. The hours are flexible and the projects are varied and interesting. I would recommend this clinic to any motivated student looking for experiential learning in environmental law.”
“The Energy and Environmental Law Practice Clinic was an outstanding learning experience. The cases were diverse, worthwhile, interesting, challenging and rewarding. The weekly seminars were interesting as well, and featured a variety of guest speakers that were experts in everything from environmental justice to wastewater permitting. All in all, this clinic was a wonderful experience that I recommend for anyone that wants to do some real-world lawyering in a supportive, team-oriented environment.”
“The Energy and Environmental Law Practice Clinic was a great experience. Under the guidance of a very knowledgeable professor, we were able to use the skills we learned in school to assist individuals in need. We were also able to hear from different well-respected practitioners in the environmental law world that made the experience very enriching. The Clinic was a great learning environment all around.”
Students in the Energy and Environmental Law Practice Clinic work on real world cases under the supervision of practicing attorneys. Current matters include:
- City of Bristol (CT) – The Clinic represents the City of Bristol in connection with certain Brownfields redevelopment projects; it also assists Corporation Counsel’s office with environmental litigation matters.
- Quinnipiac River Fund – The Clinic assists the Fund with projects that identify sources of pollution to the River.
- Mayflower Laundry & Drycleaning, Co. and Hartford County Laundry & Drycleaners Association – The Clinic represents these clients in their effort to get the State to account for moneys taken by the General Assembly from the State’s Dry Cleaning Remediation Fund. These funds were raised through a gross sales tax on dry cleaning revenues and are supposed to be available to help Connecticut dry cleaners with the cost of site remediation attributable to perchloroethylene releases to the environment by the dry cleaners.
- UConn School of Business – The Clinic is assisting the Business School with the development of a regulatory climate in Connecticut that will stimulate the aquacultural production of seaweed as an agricultural soil amendment and for human consumption.
- Home Owners – The Clinic represents homeowners whose home was impacted by a release of home heating oil. The matter is currently in litigation.
- Solid Waste Facility Permit Applicant – The Clinic represents a client seeking a solid waste permit from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for the operation of a volume reduction facility; the representation extends to defense of that client in a permit revocation proceeding before the DEEP Office of Adjudication.