To protect the quality of water in Orange County, law students and a non-profit environmental organization are now working together. Orange County Coastkeeper and Whittier Law School have joined forces to create the Coastkeeper Environmental Water Law Clinic at Whittier Law School.
Through the Coastkeeper Environmental Water Law Clinic, students will assist Coastkeeper to prepare for litigation using the federal Clean Water Act against polluters affecting water quality in Orange County and the Inland Empire. Whittier Law students will also help protect public access to waterways under the Coastal Act, taking an active role in following, monitoring and commenting on development projects that may affect regional waterways and public access.
The Clinic is being taught by Coastkeeper staff attorney and Whittier Law School alumnus Colin Kelly. Students work with Kelly for 13 hours per week each on Coastkeeper’s legal cases and advocacy issues. The Clinic will take place both on the Whittier Law School campus and at the Coastkeeper office in Costa Mesa.
Whittier Law School also offers an Environmental Law Concentration, allowing students to specialize their law degrees. According to Peter Reich, a professor at Whittier Law School who teaches many environmental law courses, “The Clinic also helps position our students for employment after graduation. California Lawyer magazine has listed the environmental law field as one of the top five specialties for placement, and we want to help our students gain hands-on experience to enter that field.”