- To train effective and ethical lawyers by guiding law students through actual client representation;
- To expand access to the legal system, especially for those who could not otherwise afford competent legal help on environmental issues; and
- To bolster community members’ capacity to participate effectively in decisions about environmental issues.
Each school year, approximately 26 law students join the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic to hone their professionalism, strategic thinking, and litigation skills. Clinic participants engage in a focused and intensive refinement of their research, writing, counseling, negotiating, and oral argument abilities. Serving as "student attorneys," they take responsibility for representing actual clients before courts and administrative agencies.
Private foundations and contributors provide funding for the Clinic to offer the high quality legal assistance its clients need, supplementing Tulane Law School’s contribution to the Clinic’s budget. Because the Clinic’s 26 student attorneys-- who receive credit but no compensation--do most of the Clinic’s legal work, the Clinic produces tremendous results with only a few paid staff members. The Clinic contributes to the Louisiana legal community both by training strong, ethical litigators and by helping the Bar meet its obligation, under the legal profession’s rules, to ensure that access to justice is not “denied to people who are unable to afford legal services, or whose cause is controversial or the subject of popular disapproval.”
Since its inception, the Clinic has provided free legal representation and community outreach to community organizations, lower-income individuals, and local governments throughout Louisiana. By representing clients who have historically been left out of governmental processes, the Clinic has become a powerful force for environmental reform.