School of Law: Leading on Social & Environmental Issues

Golden Gate University: On the Forefront of Social and Environmental Issues

On the Forefront of Social and Environmental Issues


The Environmental Law and Justice Clinic (ELJC) was established at GGU Law in 1994 to blend environmental law and policy with social justice lawyering. The ELJC focuses on training highly effective and ethical lawyers by training participating students to improve environmental conditions for communities of color and low-income people who are disparately impacted by environmental pollution.

Students who participate in the ELJC are considered "student clinicians" and become certified under State Bar of California rules to perform many of the tasks reserved for an attorney. Student clinicians have the opportunity to interview and counsel clients, develop legal strategies, draft legal documents, appear at hearings, and negotiate with opposing parties, all with close supervision and mentorship from our supportive faculty.

Matters that the ELJC normally handles include: enforcement of federal and state  laws, participation in permit proceedings, and challenges to environmental rule making or siting of hazardous facilities. The clinic also advises clients on options to solve problems in their communities without bringing a lawsuit.


Golden Gate University School of Law is proud to have hosted of the 11th Annual California Water Law Symposium this past January. The Symposium's theme was "Wasted Water: Reasonable Use Law in 21st Century California." This year's Symposium featured Felicia Marcus as the keynote speaker, who addressed current and future water issues in California, particularly the opportunities for collaboration in water management, and exploring possible resolutions to issues that will shape the future of our state.

The program tackled a variety of issues through the lens of managing water efficiently and sustainably under the Reasonable Use Doctrine. Panels covered a range of topics, including efficiency in urban water use, pricing and incentives as a means of limiting use, sustainable groundwater management, and the role of Reasonable Use in agricultural sector.


The Symposium is a collaborative, student-led effort between Golden Gate University School of Law; UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall); UC Davis School of Law (King Hall); UC Hastings College of the Law; University of San Francisco School of Law; and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Every year, the Symposium brings together academics, practitioners, policymakers, scientists, community members, and students to hear from leading professionals on pressing water issues.

According to Professor Frank, "In a relatively short period of time, the Water Law Symposium has emerged as California's premier water law and policy event. Not surprisingly, the Symposium's resounding success has received national notice and acclaim: a few years ago, the American Bar Association bestowed on the Symposium its award for the best law-student organized event in the entire United States. Anyone interested in California water law and policy should make plans to attend the 12th annual Water Law Symposium in early 2016. In the meantime, kudos to the dedicated law students of Northern California, whose collaborative efforts have produced a yearly event of sustained excellence."