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Core Courses

Administrative Law
When agencies with limited political accountability make important regulatory decisions, they can gain judicial, legislative, and executive power as a result. This course explores the constitutional and rule-of-law difficulties created by this allocation of power, and examines how administrative agencies make law, the kind of law they produce, and the scope of judicial review of agency decision making.

Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy
This course focuses on the law of the administrative state. Its three major themes are: (1) the existence of politcal pressures that the law seeks, yet often fails, to regulate effectively; (2) the impact of agencies' substantive work on their performance; and (3) the importance of lawyers' differing roles as litigators, lobbyists, institutional designers, and political actors in the administrative state.

Energy Law and Policy
This course surveys U.S. law and policy concerning energy. Half the course addresses electricity, and the remainder focuses on coal, oil, natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, and alternative fuels as ways to produce electricity, as well as the continuing physical and financial restructuring of electrical transmission and distribution systems.

Environmental Clinic
The Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford offers students an opportunity to provide legal and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations on a variety of environmental issues, focusing primarily on natural resource conservation and protection. The clinic focuses on helping students develop sound professional judgment and strong advocacy skills, with a particular emphasis on the use of scientific information in the legal and policy-making arenas.

Environmental Law: Pollution
Making extensive use of case studies, this introductory course focuses on domestic issues of pollution control and prevention, solid waste disposal, and regulation of toxic substances, and looks at the roles of legislation, administrative decision making, the common law, and voter initiatives in addressing environmental problems.

International Environmental Law
This course examines the effective legal and political resolution of transnational environmental issues, including acid rain, global atmospheric and ionospheric concerns such as global warming and the protection of the ozone layer, tropical deforestation, and oceanic and international river basin pollution.

Land Use Law
Using simulations, case studies, lectures, and class discussions, this course focuses on the pragmatic aspects of contemporary land use law. Questions examined include whether or not the legal system should rely on comprehensive planning or the market to accommodate conflicts over land use, which issues should be controlled by government or private owners, and how these decisions affect environmental quality.

Law and Science of California Coastal Policy
This interdisciplinary course integrates the legal, science, and policy dimensions of characterizing and managing our coastal resources in California. The course focuses on the land-sea interface and explores contemporary coastal land use and marine resource decision-making.

Natural Resources Law and Policy
Using case studies and primary policy materials, this course looks at how our society regulates the use of natural resources, including public ownership and preservation of natural resources through other federal and state public lands. The course also examines major federal environmental statutes designed to protect natural resources, including the Endangered Species Act.

Water Law and Policy
This course examines how the law allocates water among competing consumptive and in-stream uses (including recreational use and preservation) and protects water quality under state and federal law. Because water is regulated differently than land and other natural resources, water law provides an opportunity to reexamine and critique many commonly held assumptions about property, such as the asserted advantages of exclusive property rights.