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The Essential and Growing Role of Legal Education in Achieving Sustainability

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - School of Law

September 9, 2009

Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-20

This article suggests that law schools need to play a leading role in the national and global effort to achieve sustainability, including the effort to address climate change. The article first describes the various drivers for sustainability in law schools. Clients are increasingly demanding that their lawyers 'walk the talk,' as many businesses and corporations already are. The universities that provide an institutional home for most law schools are also adopting sustainability policies and practices that influence their law schools. Within the legal profession, the American Bar Association, as well as many state and local bar associations, have adopted a number of sustainability policies and practices, and a growing number of law firms and other law organizations are doing the same. The article then describes a broad and growing range of sustainability activities - especially in curriculum and scholarship, but also in buildings and operations; outreach and service; student life; institutional mission, policy, and planning; and external stakeholders.The article also raises - and tentatively suggests some partial answers to answers to - a set of normative questions about precisely what law schools should be doing.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: sustainable development, sustainability, legal education, law school, environmental law, climate change, biodiversity, Agenda for a Sustainable America, sustainable development-United States, nongovernmental organizations, law, governance, legal profession, lawyer, attorney

JEL Classification: K32, K49, Q01, Q28, Q38, Q48, Q58

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Date posted: September 10, 2009 ; Last revised: December 13, 2012

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., The Essential and Growing Role of Legal Education in Achieving Sustainability (September 9, 2009). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-20. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1471344 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1471344

Contact Information

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)
Widener University - School of Law ( email )
3800 Vartan Way
P.O. Box 69382
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9382
United States
717-541-1933 (Phone)
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