Wendy B. Jacobs

Clinical Professor of Law

Director, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic

Biography

Wendy B. Jacobs, Esq. is the Emmett Clinical Professor of Environmental Law 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 a variety of complex, client-driven, environmental and energy law and policy projects, with a focus on renewable energy, climate change mitigation and resiliency, sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, microgrids and district energy, hydraulic fracturing, carbon capture and sequestration, improved oversight and management of offshore drilling, protection of the Arctic, energy justice and redistribution, and citizen science.  Among the Clinic's clients are a wide variety of government entities and NGOs.

In spring 2017, Ms. Jacobs will be teaching a new cross-campus course.  In this Climate Solutions Living Lab, students from multiple disciplines will collaborate in designing practical solutions to help low-income, under-served populations improve their living conditions with power generated by renewable sources of fuel while also helping universities and other enterprises to reduce their own climate impacts.  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.

She has written white papers and model legislation focused on carbon capture and sequestration; she has written chapters on the subject for inclusion in two books, one of which is Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, published by the American Bar Association in 2014 (SSRN Abstract ID: 2379600). The other, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization of the U.S., is forthcoming.  Ms. Jacobs also participated in and chaired a session at the Sixth International Energy Agency Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Regulatory Network Meeting in Paris, has presented at several insurance industry seminars on risks related to hydraulic fracturing, and co-hosted a conference on Climate Change Displacement: Finding Solutions to an Emerging Crisis in October 2016.  

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

Areas of Interest

Wendy B. Jacobs & Aladdine D. Joroff, Proposed Indicators to Measure the Environmental Responsibility of Oil and Gas Companies and Regulatory Reforms to Improve Access to Information about Offshore Drilling, 5 Wash. J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 15 (2015).
Categories:
Environmental Law
Sub-Categories:
Energy & Utilities Law
,
Natural Resources Law
,
Oil, Gas, & Mineral Law
Type: Article
Wendy B. Jacobs, Carbon Capture and Sequestration, in Global Climate Change and U.S. Law 581 (Michael Gerrard & Jody Freeman eds., 2d ed. 2014).
Categories:
Environmental Law
Sub-Categories:
Climate Change
,
Energy & Utilities Law
Type: Book
Wendy Jacobs & Shaun Goho, The Case of the Commissioner’s Choice (Harv. L. Sch. Case Stud. 2013).
Categories:
Environmental Law
,
Government & Politics
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Energy & Utilities Law
,
Administrative Law & Agencies
,
Congress & Legislation
,
Elections & Voting
,
Politics & Political Theory
,
State & Local Government
,
Legal Education
Type: Other
Abstract
This case is based on a real regulatory dilemma between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation. In the case, the hypothetical Fremont Department of Health and Environment must decide whether to approve new power plant permits from Good Coal Electric Power (GCEP), an established company and reliable employer in the area. The coal-powered project would have potentially unprecedented CO2 emissions, but no legal regulation exists with respect to CO2. DHE Commissioner Carrie Conscientious has her own opinion, namely that CO2 emissions are linked to climate change, but the denial of this permit could have detrimental repercussions for her administration’s political party in the upcoming election. The case materials begin with the background to Commissioner Conscientious’ choice (Part 1), move to pertinent law and administrative records between the DHE and GCEP (Parts 2 and 3), update the dilemma by recounting the three years following the Commissioner’s choice (Part 4), and introduce students to the actual legal basis for the case (Part 5). Primarily, the case focuses on the ambiguous legal authority of Commissioner Conscientious amidst legal precedent, stakeholder concerns, and contested scientific principles. The Commissioner asks her General Counsel and Chief of Staff: “Do I have the legal authority to deny GCEP’s permit application? If I do deny it, what will the ramifications of my decision be?” Students will adopt the advisory roles of the General Counsel and Chief of Staff, drafting memoranda and presenting advice to the Commissioner.
Doug Hastings, Chase Romney, Sophie Tease & Wendy B. Jacobs, Recommendations for Improved Oversight of Offshore Drilling Based on a Review of 40 Regulatory Regimes (Harv. L. Sch. Emmett Envt'l L. & Pol'y Clinic, June 2012).
Categories:
Environmental Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Oil, Gas, & Mineral Law
,
Energy & Utilities Law
,
Natural Resources Law
,
Administrative Law & Agencies
Type: Other
Wendy Jacobs & David Abrams, The Case of the Anti-Bacterial Toys (Harv. L. Sch. Case Stud. 2012).
Categories:
Legal Profession
,
Corporate Law & Securities
,
Environmental Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Corporate Law
,
Administrative Law & Agencies
,
Legal Education
Type: Other
Abstract
In 1997 toy maker Hasbro, Inc. ran afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over how to label the new line of anti-bacterial toys sold by its subsidiary, PlaySkool®. The case asks students to play the role of the General Counsel for Hasbro, determine what questions to ask their client, draft a press release to communicate to the public and respond to the EPA's actions, and draft language to re-label the toys. The problem fits in the general category of avoiding trouble or distributing losses that have already occurred.
Wendy B. Jacobs & Debra L. Stump, Proposed Liability Framework for Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide (Harv. L. Sch., Emmett Envtl. L. & Pol'y Clinic, Oct. 2010).
Categories:
Environmental Law
Sub-Categories:
Climate Change
,
Energy & Utilities Law
Type: Other
Wendy Jacobs, Leah Cohen, Leah Kostakidis-Lianos & Sara Rundell, Proposed Roadmap For Overcoming Legal and Financial Obstacles to Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (Discussion paper 2009-04, Mar. 2009).
Categories:
Environmental Law
Sub-Categories:
Climate Change
,
Energy & Utilities Law
Type: Other
Abstract
Many existing proposals either lack sufficient concreteness to make carbon capture and geological sequestration (CCGS) operational or fail to focus on a comprehensive, long term framework for its regulation, thus failing to account adequately for the urgency of the issue, the need to develop immediate experience with large scale demonstration projects, or the financial and other incentives required to launch early demonstration projects.  We aim to help fill this void by proposing a roadmap to commercial deployment of CCGS in the United States. This roadmap focuses on the legal and financial incentives necessary for rapid demonstration of geological sequestration in the absence of national restrictions on CO2 emissions. It weaves together existing federal programs and financing opportunities into a set of recommendations for achieving commercial viability of geological sequestration.
Wendy B. Jacobs et al., Brownfields: Developing Dirty Property: Credits, Grants, Loans, and Protection from Future Liability (MCLE 1998).
Categories:
Environmental Law
Sub-Categories:
Land Use
Type: Book
Wendy B. Jacobs & Anne D. Berlin, The Challenge of Designing a Successful Air Emission Trading Program in Massachusetts, 37 Bos. B.J., July/Aug. 1993, at 27.
Categories:
Environmental Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Energy & Utilities Law
,
State & Local Government
Type: Article

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Clinic Work

The Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic offers students an opportunity to do real-life and real-time legal and policy work.  Clinic offerings include local, national and international projects covering the spectrum of environmental issues.  Depending on the project, students may undertake litigation and advocacy work by drafting briefs, preparing testimony, conducting research, developing strategy, and reviewing proposed legislation.  Students present their work to clients, stakeholders, and decision-makers, including federal, state, and local officials.

Some students work off-campus with government agencies and nonprofit organizations, while others work on-campus on cutting-edge projects and case work under the supervision of Clinical Professor Wendy Jacobs, Senior Clinical Instructor Shaun Goho, and Clinical Instructor Aladdine Joroff. Current clinic projects focus on climate displacement, lead in drinking water, rural climate change adaptation, Farm Bill recommendations, municipal ordinances, analysis of the markets for renewable energy credits, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, energy justice, and citizen science.

For more information on the Clinic's work, please visit the Clinic website at http://environment.law.harvard.edu/emmett-clinic/