Wendy B. Jacobs

Clinical Professor of Law

Director, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic


Wendy B. Jacobs, Esq. is a Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School and Director of the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She is also on the Faculty of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Health and the Global Environment and she is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.  Ms. Jacobs received her J.D. with honors in 1981 from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. After law school, Ms. Jacobs first worked as an appellate lawyer and special litigator for the U.S. Department of Justice in its Environment Division in Washington, D.C. She then did a brief stint with a law firm in Seattle working on First Amendment and commercial litigation, followed by 18 years as a partner in the Boston law firm Foley Hoag LLP, where she worked almost exclusively on environmental matters, involving myriad environmental laws, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and a host of interesting private sector clients. Her work has covered the gamut of compliance counseling, handling of complex permit applications and their related hearings and appeals, preparation of comments on federal and state rulemakings, drafting of legislation, regulations and ordinances, administrative trials and appeals, litigation, negotiation and drafting of contracts, environmental due diligence and audits, and development of corporate risk management and environmental protection policies and manuals.

She came to Harvard in 2007 to create its Environmental Law & Policy Clinic. As Clinic Director, she provides her students opportunities for innovative, real-time experience on a variety of complex environmental law and policy projects, including projects and litigation focusing on renewable energy, climate change adaptation and resiliency, sustainable aquaculture, microgrids and district energy, hydraulic fracturing, carbon capture and sequestration, strategies to shift public perception and response to climate change, mountaintop removal mining, improved oversight and management of offshore drilling, and protection of the Arctic.

In addition to designing and supervising clinic projects, Ms. Jacobs also teaches a course designed to expose students to the practical skills they will need and the controversies they will face practicing environmental law. For two years, she taught and developed case studies for the Harvard Law School Problem Solving Workshop – an innovative class required of all first-year law students to expose them to lawyering skills. Ms. Jacobs has also written white papers and model legislation focused on carbon capture and sequestration; she wrote a chapter on the subject for inclusion in the book Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, which was published by the American Bar Association in 2014 (SSRN Abstract ID: 2379600). Ms. Jacobs also participated in and chaired a session at the Sixth International Energy Agency Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Regulatory Network Meeting, and presented at several insurance industry seminars on risks related to hydraulic fracturing.  

For more information on Ms. Jacobs' work, please visit the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic website.

Areas of Interest