Environmental Law & Natural Resources

Environmental Law and Natural Resources

Since the inception of modern environmental and natural resources law in the late 1960s and 1970s, the field has become increasingly important, both in its own right and as a result of its interactions with more traditional fields of practice, such as real estate, insurance and corporate law. KU Law offers a rich range of opportunities to students interested in the practice of environmental and natural resources law.

Because of the breadth of faculty expertise in this area, the school is able to provide an extensive array of course offerings, ranging from introductory survey courses to advanced seminars. The students are also actively involved in environmental law issues, principally through an Environmental Law Society and participation in nationally sponsored environmental law moot court competitions.


  • Biodiversity Law
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law Seminar
  • Independent Research
  • Native American Natural Resources
  • Public Lands and Natural Resources
  • Oil and Gas
  • Water Law
Course descriptions

Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate exposes students to the basics of this constantly changing area of practice so they can address environmental and natural resources law issues in whatever contexts they arise. Students must take a core group of courses that includes Environmental Law Survey, Public Lands and Natural Resources, and Administrative Law. They also must take a minimum of nine additional hours from an array of courses relevant to this area of the law, and they must complete a writing/experiential requirement.

Field Placements & Simulations

Although the School of Law does not have a clinical program devoted specifically to environmental and natural resources law, students enrolled in the Legislative Field Placement Program or the Public Policy Practicum may be able to arrange to study topics in this area of the law.

The school has an Environmental and Natural Resources Certificate. One of the requirements for receipt of the certificate is participation in an experiential or writing program with an environmental or natural resources law emphasis. This requirement may be satisfied by enrolling in the Legislative Field Placement Program or the Public Policy Practicum, or by serving in a field placement with the Kansas City regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency or a local environmental or natural resources law public interest group.

Other Opportunities

Each year, interested students compete for the chance to participate in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at the Pace University law school in New York. Winners of the internal competition prepare written briefs and prepare for oral arguments (with the assistance of the faculty) at Pace in February. In past years, the KU team has won the prize for the best brief and has frequently reached the late rounds of the competition. Several environmental law essay contests, such as the Hogan/Smoger Access To Justice Essay Contest, are also open to KU Law students. The winners receive prize money and their essays may be published.

The Environmental Law Society sponsors a variety of activities at the law school, including monthly meetings often attended by the KU environmental law faculty or by federal, state and regional practitioners with environmental expertise. In past years, the ELS has organized recycling programs at the law school and engaged in other activities related to local environmental issues.



Uma Outka
Associate Professor of Law

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
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  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance