Environmental Law

mangroves in the Florida evergladesThe Ideal Setting to Pursue Environmental Law  

Concern about climate change, rising waters and pollution have raised acute awareness of the role lawyers can play on the developing stage of the environment nationally and globally. As an environmental lawyer, you can work on legislating for environmental protection to representing cases relating to contaminated spaces and endangered species protection to reconciling the challenges between land development and water use and conservation. Miami’s unique and advantageous surroundings will prepare you for this dynamic and exciting field whether you want to practice with law firms, inhouse positions, all levels of governments, or non-profit organizations. If your desire is to focus on local, national or global environmental law issues, Miami Law will prepare you to help clients solve the full range of environmental challenges. 

Kelly Cox“Environmental law seeps into every area of practice and [my law school externship at] the Department of Transportation [gave] me an opportunity to work on numerous issues of land use...Learning about how land use, property and environmental issues all intersect [was] fascinating and broadened the range of issues to consider in my pursuit of environmental justice.”  
Kelly Cox, J.D. ‘16  
General Counsel, Miami Waterkeeper  
Miami, FL  

Some statistics:

-One of the most unique ecosystems in the world, the 3rd largest U.S. national park, the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America, and the largest mangrove ecosystem in Western Hemisphere, the Florida Everglades National Park is only about 30 minutes from campus.  

-South Florida has the only living tropical reef in the continental U.S. 

-Access to the expertise of UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, a 65-acre marine research and education park that is a world-leader in oceanic and atmospheric research and teaching.   

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Professor Owley and Students in MadridEnvironmental Justice Clinic - Participate in the Environmental Justice Clinic, a civil rights project that works at the intersection of poverty law, public health, and environmental protection to help redress the environmental problems – pollution, contamination – that afflict communities. 

United Nations Climate Change Conferences - (Pictured: Law students and their law professor, Jessica Owley, attending the United Nations COP25 climate change conference in Madrid in December 2019. Read about their experience.)

The Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (NELMCC) - NELMCC is the largest interschool moot court competition of any kind under one roof, regularly attracting 200 competitors from law schools from all over the nation. 

International Opportunities

Water Resources Law and Policy Program in China and Vietnam - Students can travel to Vietnam and China in the summer to study a broad spectrum of water issues including: Drinking water, Wastewater, Groundwater, Wetlands, Dams, International rivers, Vietnam/China

Joint Degrees / Concentrations

Environmental Law Area of Focus

Business Compliance and Sustainability Concentration or Area of Focus

J.D./M.P.S. in Marine Affairs - Miami Law also offers this joint degree with the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science -- ranked as one of the top five Geoscience institutions in the United States.

J.D./Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy (ECS) from the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy

J.D./LL.M. in Real Property Development - ideal for students who want to focus on land use law.

J.D./LL.M. in Maritime Law - ideal for students who want to focus on environmental law through the study of maritime law.

UM Graduate Schools

Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy - The goal of this center is to create innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives that bridge the gap between science and environmental policy. The interdisciplinary courses taught through the Abess Center all focus on the same goal: to prepare the next generation of environmental scientists by giving them a broad foundation in the natural sciences, social sciences, and public policy. 

Rosentstiel School

University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) - The law school draws upon the expertise of RSMAS graduate school by offering a joint degree program in Marine Affairs and the ability to take courses at RSMAS when studying Maritime Law.

As one of the leading academic oceanographic and atmospheric research institutions in the world, the School's basic and applied research interests encompass virtually all marine-related sciences. 


Administrative Law 
Biodiversity Law 
Climate Change Law and Policy
Climate Change and Human Rights
Coastal Law  
Coastal Zone Management*  
Conservation, Tourism and Development  
Environmental Law 
Environmental Litigation and Policies  
Environmental Planning and the Environmental Impact Statement  
Environmental Regulation of Real Property 
EU Climate Protection and Emission Trading Rights  
Everglades/Ecosystem Restoration Seminar  
Human Rights and Environment  
International Environmental Law 
Land Use Law  
Legal Environment and Business Planning in Aquaculture*  
Maritime and Coastal Legal and Policy Issues in Miami  
Marine Ecology and the Law  
Maritime Pollution  
Natural Resources and Energy Law  
Ocean & Coastal Law 
Protection of Living Marine Resources   
Regulatory Compliance, Corporate Governance, and Sustainability    
The Law of Green Buildings
Topics in Environmental Law: Biodiversity Law  
Toxic Torts and Toxic Regulation
*Offered at RSMAS.
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Extracurricular Opportunities 

Environmental Law Society 


Jessica OwleyProfessor Jessica Owley is the Director of the Environmental Law Program at Miami Law. An internationally recognized expert scholar in environmental law, Professor Owley directed the Environmental Law Program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. She has served as an OECD Fellow while a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Pontificia – Comillas (ICADE) in Madrid, Spain. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law, Property, and Society, is one of the founding members and the current President of the Environmental Law Collaborative, and is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and the World Commission of Protected Areas.

In addition, the faculty includes some of the leading experts on Environmental Law issues with experience working on top level environmental policy initiatives.

Professor Bernard Oxman is one of the world's top experts on the laws of the sea and currently sits on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
Abigail Leigh Fleming is the Fredman Foundation Environmental Justice Clinic, Practitioner-in-Residence and Lecturer in Law
Ileana Porras is Senior Lecturer and teaches Public International Law, Climate Change Law & Policy, and Property Law.
Adjunct Professor Daniel Suman's research focuses on coastal management in Latin America, planning and enforcement in Marine Protected Areas, and public participation in environmental planning.
Professor Tony Alfieri incubated the law school’s Environmental Justice Project.
Visiting Professor Daniel Magraw is an expert in international law and policy, particularly relating to environmental protection.

Brittany ThomasThe Environmental Justice Clinic just changed my life, it showed me how I could advocate for my communities.”  
Brittany Thomas, J.D. ‘18  
Bertha Justice Fellow, Center for Constitutional Rights  
New York, NY  


Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program
HOPE Fellows Program  

Sampling of Past Internships / Externships  

Audubon Florida
Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Enforcement Division (Washington, DC)  
Everglades Law Center  
Florida Sea Grant  
House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (Washington, DC)  
Marine Highway Program  
Miami Waterkeeper  
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  
National Parks Conservation Association  
The Billfish Foundation
U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section (Washington, DC)  
U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section (Washington, DC)  
U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resource Division (Washington, DC)  
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-EPA (Washington, DC)  
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Washington, DC)  

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*Lists courses currently or recently offered in this area, but this list is not exhaustive nor does it set out a path of study.