Environmental Law

Thank you for your interest in Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. I understand you have an interest in environmental law. I’m writing to encourage you to consider the J.D./Master of Science in Environmental Management (J.D./M.S.E.M.) joint-degree offered at the law school. Each and every environmental career revolves around interpreting, applying and complying with environmental regulations. Those laws are very complex, and having a background in both the law and science involved in this area is extremely helpful. The J.D./M.S.E.M. is offered with the Department of Biology in Samford University’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences. As a recent graduate, I can tell you that pursuing this joint-degree was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This gave me a strong foundation in environmental law and the scientific concepts that support it.

By far one of the main benefits of pursuing the joint-degree is that students are able to obtain, at the same time, both a J.D. and a Master of Science in Environmental Management. During the first year of law school, interested students apply for admission to the M.S.E.M. program. Once accepted, they begin taking M.S.E.M. classes along with their J.D. classes. The M.S.E.M. program is in the evening and is designed to educate working professionals to evaluate environmental regulatory compliance. Taught by legal scholars, scientists and engineers, the M.S.E.M. program courses offer a broad range of topics in environmental ethics and values, risk analysis, management of hazardous materials and ecotoxicology, to name a few. For a complete list of courses and descriptions, go to the M.S.E.M. website at www.samford.edu/msem/

Since graduating from the joint-degree program, I had the opportunity to work with an environmental litigation practice group. The firm represented clients in all areas of environmental law, with particular emphasis on administrative actions, citizens’ suits, private litigation and regulatory compliance. Each day, whether I was interpreting sampling results, reading case law, or talking with an environmental consultant, I was required to understand both the scientific and legal concepts involved in these issues. Often times my clients were very knowledgeable about the science of their business, but were unsure whether they were in compliance with environmental regulations. As an environmentally trained attorney, I understood my client’s business and I was able to ensure they complied with the appropriate environmental laws.  

Whether you are considering practicing law or pursuing another environmental career, having the joint-degree is invaluable and I hope you will consider Cumberland School of Law and its J.D./M.S.E.M. program. 


Shannon Connor '05
J.D./M.S.E.M. Graduate

Page last updated: Mon, 06/17/2013 - 14:47