Wendy B. Jacobs
Emmett Clinical Professor of Environmental Law
Director, Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Wendy B. Jacobs, Esq. was the Emmett Clinical Professor of Environmental Law and Director of the Harvard Law School Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic. She was a Special Advisor to the HLS Dean on Learning and Practice, was a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and was on the board of the Clean Air Task Force. 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 private sector clients (including solid waste management entities, energy producers, product manufacturers, and real estate developers). Her work 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 provided her students a variety of complex, client-driven, environmental and energy law and policy projects, with a focus on renewable energy, microgrids and district energy systems, climate change mitigation and resiliency, citizen science, carbon capture and sequestration, sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, hydraulic fracturing, improved oversight and management of offshore drilling, protection of the Arctic and national monuments, and environmental and energy justice. Among the Clinic’s clients are a wide variety of government entities and NGOs.
She developed and taught an innovative course entitled the Climate Solutions Living Lab, in which advanced students from graduate schools across Harvard University (law, business, engineering, design, public health, public policy) collaboratively designed projects to help universities and other enterprises reduce their own climate impacts via off-campus actions and investments. Each project had to achieve quantifiable greenhouse gas emissions reductions, quantifiable public health and other co-benefits and, in addition, be scalable, replicable, fundable, permittable, and otherwise feasible to implement.
She wrote white papers, model legislation, and book chapters focused on carbon capture and sequestration. Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, published by the American Bar Association in 2014 (SSRN Abstract ID: 2379600); Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization of the U.S., published by the Environmental Law Institute Press in March 2019 (SSRN Abstract ID: 3401895). Jacobs also wrote articles for medical journals on the intersection of public health and climate change law. She chaired a session at the Sixth International Energy Agency Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulatory Network Meeting in Paris, presented at several insurance industry seminars on risks related to hydraulic fracturing, co-hosted a conference on Climate Change Displacement: Finding Solutions to an Emerging Crisis in October 2016, presented on the Legal Aspects of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage at the Gordon Research Conference on CCUS in June 2017, and participated in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Forum, Conflicts Over Science and Policy at the EPA: Where Are We Headed? in October 2018.
For more information on Jacobs’ past work, please visit the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic website at https://clinics.law.harvard.edu/environment/.
Areas of Interest
Jacobs founded the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic which 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 Deputy Director and Senior Clinical Instructor Shaun Goho, and Clinical Instructor Aladdine Joroff. Current clinic projects focus on citizen science, dam removal, science and the law, national monuments, climate change adaptation, Hurricane Harvey response, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, and energy justice.
For more information on the Clinic's work, please visit the Clinic website at http://environment.law.harvard.edu/emmett-clinic/.