Climate Change is Focus of 12th Law & Society Symposium

Jan. 31, 2020  – The General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense will kick off a conference this Friday, February 7, on the legal and ethical issues of seemingly inevitable climate change.

The conference at the Charleston Music Hall will include public and private sector attorneys, government officials, law professors, and a scientist who will share their expertise in environmental law to discuss the fast-approaching legal implications of a new climate. The Charleston Law Review and The Riley Institute at Furman University are hosting the symposium.

Don Gordon, executive director of The Riley Institute, explained, “Climate change is having a massive impact in South Carolina, especially along the coast where sea level rise, flooding, more frequent hurricanes, and the loss of homes and businesses threaten society and the economy. This conference on the nexus of the law and more threatening environmental change is extremely important and timely.”

Charleston School of Law President Ed Bell added, “The impact we have put on our Earth in the name of economic development needs to be balanced with the world we want to leave our children. The reality of climate change makes it imperative upon us in the legal community to work together on the regulatory framework of the future. We must instill a sense of urgency to prevent irreversible damage to the world we call home.”

The Honorable Paul Ney of the U.S. Department of Defense will present an 8:45 a.m. keynote address after a welcome from Charleston School of Law Dean Andy Abrams at 8:30 a.m.

The symposium also will feature three panel discussions from expert attorneys:

9:30 a.m. Panel One: “Sea Level Rise:  Preparing for a New Reality”

Charleston School of Law Professor Allyson Haynes-Stuart will moderate a panel consisting of Harry Kelso, Deputy General Counsel for Environment, Energy and Installations for the U.S. Department of Defense; Tom Mullikin, Professor of Environmental Law for Charleston School of Law; and Dr. Astrid Caldas, Senior Climate Scientist.

10:45 a.m. Panel Two: “Offshore Drilling:  Can Judicial Influence Effect Change?”

Charleston School of Law Professor Bill Merkel will moderate a panel that consists of Keith B. Hall, Director of the Mineral Law Institute; Catherine Wannamaker, Senior Attorney for Southern Environmental Law Center; and Patrick Parenteau, Senior Counsel for Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

12:00 p.m. Panel Three: “Water Quality:  Merging Policy and Pragmatism.

Charleston School of Law Professor Miller Shealy will moderate a panel consisting of Amy Armstrong, Executive Director and General Counsel for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project; Karen Colmie, Associate General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense; and Robert Glicksman, Professor of Environmental Law at the George Washington University Law School.

Conference details  

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Space is limited. To register, go to this link.

Attorneys who attend can receive continuing legal education credit at no cost. The symposium qualifies for three hours of CLE credit in South Carolina. Registration for the CLE (course number 202350) starts at 8:00 a.m. The CLE concludes at 1:00 p.m.


About the Charleston Law Review

The Charleston Law Review is the flagship journal of the Charleston School of Law. In its past issues, the Charleston Law Review has published significant public figures ranging across the political spectrum from then-President Barack Obama to John Yoo, former presidential legal advisor to President George W. Bush. More information is here.

About The Riley Institute at Furman

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. More information is here.

About the Charleston School of Law

The Charleston School of Law offers students the unique opportunity to study the time-honored practice of law amid the beauty and grace of one of the South’s most historic cities. Students at the Charleston School of Law study law as a profession and find a faculty focused on using the law as a calling in the public interest.  More information is here.

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