Lawyering as if Tomorrow Matters

21 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2017 Last revised: 18 Jun 2018

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Date Written: November 10, 2017


This Article argues that all lawyers, not just environmental lawyers, have a unique and important role to play in protecting life on earth, and suggests that we all need to consider doing more than we have already been doing. It briefly explains the challenge and opportunity of climate change, and the approach sustainable development would take in broadening and deepening the approaches that we have been employing to address climate change. It also briefly outlines the challenge to environmental law, and particularly the use of environmental law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that is being mounted by the Trump Administration. It then describes seven different approaches that lawyers can consider to respond constructively to climate change. These suggestions are intended to provoke discussion and reflection about the necessary role of lawyers at an exceptionally important moment in human history.

Keywords: Law, Legal Profession, Trump, Clean Power Plan, Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Legal Ethics, Sustainability, Environmental Law

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K32, K49

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Lawyering as if Tomorrow Matters (November 10, 2017). 86 University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review 759, Widener Law Commonwealth Research Paper No. 17-12, Available at SSRN: or

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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