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Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies

The Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Richmond School of Law engages in research, instruction, and public outreach on energy and environmental issues in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The center hosts conferences, symposia, and speakers on pressing environmental issues, generating dialogue for policy solutions.

Drawing on the resources of the law school and the University, the center prepares students to tackle the complex challenges of careers in environmental law.

The center honors the work of the late U.S. District Court Judge Robert R. Merhige, Jr., whose creativity in settling the Kepone litigation of the 1970s made the center's activities possible.

Environmental Law at the University of Richmond

Environmental law is a fast-growing field that addresses complex questions, including:

  • How should law regulate private economic activity to protect the environment?
  • How should law allocate scarce resources?
  • How should law weigh the interests of future generations?

Environmental Law Courses
The University of Richmond School of Law has a distinguished 30-year tradition of teaching and scholarship in environmental law. Our students study the full range of modern environmental law issues, including air pollution, hazardous waste, energy law, climate change, endangered species, environmental treaties, water pollution, brownfields redevelopment, land use planning, and litigation and enforcement. Plan your Career in Environmental Law.

Environmental Law Faculty
Faculty members are accomplished lawyers and scholars who are dedicated to classroom teaching. The school has broad course offerings, numerous upper-level seminars, a student-led Environmental Law Society, and the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies. Students can pursue externships with high-profile environmental groups and a wide range of government agencies in Virginia. The University also has a faculty with expertise in fields such as biology, chemistry, business, economics, and international relations.

Practical Environmental Law Experience - Internships and Placements
Through the clinical and externship placement program, environmental law students at the University of Richmond have the opportunity to get practice experience in the environmental field. Richmond Law students experience semester-long internships with organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Students have also had a chance to work on environmental issues at Newmarket or Southern States, and the Virginia State Corporation Commission placements have involved some work on utilities and energy matters. For more information on externship opportunities in environmental law, please contact Margaret Bacigal.

Alumni of the University of Richmond School of Law
Graduates of the environmental law program are prepared to meet the challenges of this dynamic field and have had distinguished careers in law firms, federal, state, and local government agencies, and with environmental advocacy groups. Alumni profiles and career opportunities.

Contact Us

Professor Noah Sachs is the director of the center. Contact him at or (804) 289-8555.