The Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) at the College of William & Mary Law School provides science-based legal and policy analysis of ecological issues affecting the state's coastal resources, providing education and advice to a host of Virginia’s decision-makers, from government officials and legal scholars to non-profit and business leaders.
With two nationally prominent science partners – the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, one of the largest marine research and education centers in the United States, and Virginia Sea Grant, a nationally recognized broker of scientific information – VCPC works with scientists, local and state political figures, community leaders, the military, and others to integrate the latest science with legal and policy analysis to solve coastal resource management issues. VCPC activities are inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on scientific, economic, public policy, sociological, and other expertise from within the College and across the country. With access to internationally recognized scientists at VIMS, to Sea Grant’s national network of legal and science scholars, and to elected and appointed officials across the nation, VCPC engages in a host of information exchanges and collaborative partnerships.
VCPC grounds its pedagogical goals in the law school's philosophy of the citizen lawyer. VCPC students’ highly diverse interactions beyond the borders of the legal community provide the framework for their efforts in solving the complex coastal resource management issues that currently face Virginia and the nation. Whether it is working to understand the underlying realities of local zoning policies or attempting to identify and reconcile the concerns of multiple stakeholders, VCPC students experience the breadth of environmental lawyering while gaining skills that will serve them well regardless of the legal career they pursue upon graduation.
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