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Environmental Law Guide: Overview


According to Black's Law Dictionary, environmental law "[d]eals with maintenance and protection of the environment, including preventive measures such as the requirements of preparing environmental-impact statements, as well as measures to assign liability and provide cleanup for incidents that harm the environment." (11th Ed. 2019). 

The study of environmental law requires a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach –– involving science, law, technology and politics. 

This Guide focuses on providing general information and environmental law resources for legal scholars and students. 

Research Strategy

Legal research requires thought and organization. The initial stage of an effective search strategy involves brainstorming search terms. Create a list and make sure you think of alternative terms (cancer and oncology). Maintain a record of your research.

One recommended search process with legal materials is to start with secondary sources. Use these to obtain background information, put your issue into context, help reframe your thesis, and discover cites to primary sources. 

Be sure to see Scholarly Legal Research and Topic Selection and Pre-emption for further assistance.

Secondary Sources

In addition to books and the resources on Westlaw and Lexis, other secondary sources are helpful. Among the databases most frequently used for environmental law research are: Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Law Reporter; and the Energy & Environment news sources which include E & E NewsClimateWire, EnergyWire, and GreenWire. These and additional resources are listed in the Databases section of this Guide.

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