Best Environmental Law Schools

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: April 8, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

Find your perfect college degree

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

There’s a growing need for specialized professionals in environmental law. That’s particularly true with the increasing demand for stricter environmental regulations – something 53% of Americans say they favor.

But, searching for the best environmental law schools can be daunting, especially given the evolving nature of environmental issues and the specific skills required.

That’s why we’re here to offer you a list of the top environmental law programs in the country to help you narrow your search.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Environmental Law Schools

Whether you aspire to fight for environmental justice, craft policies for sustainable development, or advocate for the preservation of our natural resources, these schools can nurture your ambition and serve as a launchpad for your eco-empowered career.

A statue of Lady Justice holding a scale

Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School stands as a beacon in the realm of law education, boasting a robust program that has been the leader since its inception in 1978. 

VLS’s dedication to the environment is evident not just in its curriculum, but in the multitude of degrees, research centers, and faculty expertise that are all focused on environmental law. 

Alumni from VLS form a well-connected network that has catalyzed change on a global scale, shaping policy and practice across the planet. Over the last two decades, 75% of Vermont Law graduates have landed jobs requiring JDs or the equivalent within just three months of graduation.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

University of Oregon School of Law

Situated in the heart of the eco-friendly Pacific Northwest, the University of Oregon School of Law is a pioneer in environmental and natural resource law. 

Its Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center focuses on public interest environmental law and champions innovation in legal education.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

A cluster of wind turbines standing tall on a hill

Pace Law School 

Since 1978, Pace Law School has been weaving its name into the tapestry of environmental law. Their commitment is translated into a program that encourages practical experience, fieldwork, and international perspectives, capitalizing on their unique position in close proximity to New York City.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

NYU School of Law

The NYU School of Law’s environmental and energy law program leads among other top US law schools. 

Its faculty is home to exceptional academic researchers dedicated to environmental, energy, and land use law issues. These top issues include climate change, air pollution, and urban environmental law.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

Three books neatly arranged on a table, accompanied by a pen and notebook

University of Colorado Law School 

Nestled in Boulder, the University of Colorado Law School offers a picturesque environment for students deeply engaged in law. 

With a robust intellectual community, students have the opportunity to learn and contribute to the discourse on environmental protection and sustainable management of our Earth’s limited resources.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

University of Montana Law School

The University of Montana Law School offers a unique blend of law education meshed with the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. 

Emphasizing practical experience and community engagement, UM Law School’s program prepares students to confront the environmental challenges that face our world, not just in courtrooms, in boardrooms, community centers, and the outdoors.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

A man in a suit and tie standing confidently on a staircase

University at Buffalo Law School 

At the University at Buffalo Law School, the spirit of environmental law is ingrained in every fiber of the program. With a vibrant mix of foundational courses and immersive experiences, Buffalo equips its students with the tools to tackle complex environmental issues head-on. 

The school’s pioneering Environmental Law Program is designed to nurture a comprehensive understanding of legal principles in environmental protection.

Program Highlights

Unique Features


UCLA Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment stands as a beacon for those seeking a dynamic and influential educational environment in environmental law. 

Through top-tier professors and a comprehensive curriculum, UCLA fosters leaders who push the boundaries of environmental policy and law.

Program Highlights

Unique Features

Plastic bottles, bags, and debris floating in an ocean

Key Factors Influencing Your Decision

In selecting the best environmental law schools, here are some key features you should look out for as well:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Major to Become an Environmental Lawyer?

While there isn’t a specific major required to become an environmental lawyer, a background in environmental studies, science, policy, or law can be advantageous. However, pursuing a program that aligns with your passion and career goals is the most important aspect.

Is Environmental Studies a Good Major for Law School?

Environmental studies can provide a solid foundation for law school, particularly for those interested in law. It offers a broad understanding of the natural world and the policy and regulatory frameworks that govern it.

Is Environmental Law Difficult?

Environmental law is often complex, with issues that can span different legal disciplines and require a deep understanding of science and policy. However, dedicated educational programs and a passion for the subject can make it both manageable and rewarding for aspiring lawyers.


By choosing to study at one of these institutions, you’ll receive a first-class legal education and join a community dedicated to fostering sustainable change. 

Are you ready to change the world? Then, it’s time to consider studying at one of the best environmental law schools.