What is TELC?
The Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (TELC) is a cross between a law school class and a law firm. Its purpose is to train law students in the practical aspects of representing clients in highly regulated fields. This type of practice requires strategic thinking, thorough investigation and research, and persuasive communication. TELC student attorneys are responsible for advancing client interests in a wide range of environmental disputes. Our docket generally includes lawsuits, administrative proceedings, and negotiations about air and water quality, wetlands protection, landfills, environmental justice, citizen participation, and community preservation. We emphasize service, legal ethics, and professionalism.
What do students do in TELC?
Student attorneys typically counsel clients, research, draft and file pleadings and administrative comments, negotiate settlements, and appear at hearings under the guidance of clinical instructors. Student-practice rules allow third-year students to argue and present evidence in state and federal courts and before state agencies. Student attorneys attend weekly, clinic-wide meetings and also receive individual instruction at case-specific meetings with clinical instructors.
TELC provides an opportunity to develop advanced legal skills and earn law school credits while helping people. Student attorneys practice public-interest law in a region with a large unmet demand for legal services on environmental issues. Students receive 3 credits for each semester of participation.
Who is eligible?
TELC is open to the following TLS degree candidates: 1) third-year students, 2) second-year students during the spring semester and, 3) space permitting, LLM students who have earned JD degrees from U.S. law schools. We expect (but do not require) JD students who receive a "B" or above during their first semester to continue their practice with TELC for a second semester. LLM students' participation is limited to one semester.
In the event that TELC does not fill up with eligible students who have participated in TELC for less than two semesters, 3L students who participated for two semesters (e.g., during the spring of their 2L year and the fall of their 3L year) may apply to participate in TELC for an additional semester and visiting students may apply to participate.
What should a student do to prepare for enrollment in TELC?
Legal Profession (three credits) is a pre-requisite for third-year students and a co-requisite for second-year students. There are no other pre- or co- requisites (i.e., Trial Advocacy is not required) but we recommend that students interested in TELC consider taking Administrative Law.
Are there additional restrictions?
Students may not simultaneously participate in TELC and work for a judge, EPA, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the District Attorney's Office for Orleans Parish or Jefferson Parish, or a public defenders office whether as a law clerk, in an externship, or as pro bono work. In general, students who wish to simultaneously participate in the Environmental Law Clinic and a 3L externship must receive prior approval from the clinic director. Students may not simultaneously participate in TELC and another clinic. In rare cases, a conflict with another current employer may preclude participation in TELC. Students may not take TELC on a Pass/Fail or Pass/D/Fail basis.
How does an interested student register for TELC?
Each spring, TELC accepts applications from candidates for the fall semester. After this process, students may enroll or add their names to a waiting list on Tulane's electronic registration system. Registration for the spring semester is exclusively through the electronic registration system.
How does TELC select student attorneys?
TELC normally employs a strong “first come/first serve” preference. Students who apply early in the application process and select TELC as their first choice, therefore, have the best chance of admission. TELC’s director reserves the right, however, to consider additional factors in making selection decisions, including students’ academic records and our desire to preserve a balance of 2L and 3L students in the spring semester (so that all of our experienced student attorneys do not graduate at once). When a student receives notice that he or she has been selected for TELC, that admission decision is subject to resolving any “conflict of interest” issues (which are rare). When it is not possible to accommodate all eligible students who apply, students who are not initially selected are welcome to sign up on a waiting list, in case slots open up.
Where can I learn more about TELC?
TELC’s webpage is here
An article discussing TELC's history and accomplishments is available here.
TELC's 2015-16 Annual Report is here.
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