Joint Partnership with CIEL

A Unique Partnership with the Center for International Environmental Law

In 1990, as a response to the legal challenges posed by the planet's ecological limitations, WCL and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) established the Joint Research Program in International Environmental Law. The program was created to provide a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment for training future leaders in environmental law.

The joint program conducts environmental workshops and symposia, sponsors research on various environmental issues, and assists WCL in developing the international environmental law curriculum. The result is a cooperative effort that provides students with a dynamic learning environment, scholars with a stimulating atmosphere for conducting practical research, and young lawyers with exciting opportunities for beginning their environmental law careers. Additionally, CIEL has provided opportunities for WCL students to work there as externs or interns.

(Pictures are of WCL students and staff with staff from CIEL at COP-17 in Durban where they worked together. Picture below is WCL students and staff with a CIEL staff attorney at COP-16 in Cancun.)

For more information about CIEL, visit their website at

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a not-for-profit environmental law firm founded in 1989, by Durwood Zaelke, to bring the energy and experience of the U.S. public interest environmental movement to the critical task of strengthening and developing international and comparative environmental law, policy, and management throughout the world. CIEL's goals are to incorporate fundamental principles of ecology and democracy into international law and institutions, to strengthen national environmental law systems and public interest movements around the world, to educate and train public interest- spirited environmental lawyers, and to improve the effectiveness of law in solving environmental problems.

ClEL's attorneys in Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland provide a full range of environmental legal assistance, including policy research and publishing, advice and advocacy, legal education and training, and capacity building. CIEL works throughout the world in partnerships with other nongovernmental organizations, international institutions, and states, especially developing nations and those with economies in transition. Many of the individuals CIEL works with are foreign lawyers who have completed their master of law degree in the WCL International Legal Studies Program. A number of the joint programs students have gone on to start their own environmental law groups in other countries. For example graduates Romina Picolotti '99 founded the Center for Human Rights and the Environment in Argentina and Nuno Lacasta '97 founded Euronatura in Portugal.

CIEL has four main program areas, including the Climate & Energy Program; Environmental Health Program; Human Rights & Environment Program; and People, Land & Resources Program. Additionally, they have numerous publications.


Interested in being an intern/extern at CIEL? Click here for information on how to apply!

WCL alumni and professors, including current CIEL President Carroll Muffett, at CIEL.