The Environmental Law Journal (ELJ) is one of ten student-run publications at New York University School of Law. Together with the other journals, the ELJ participates in the annual Writing Competition to select staff editors. Students who have completed their first year at the law school are eligible to participate in the Writing Competition, which is distributed immediately following the last final exam of the spring semester. Students must register in advance to participate in the competition. Participants have approximately two weeks to complete the competition, which consists of a closed-universe (no additional research allowed) case comment and submission of personal statement to ELJ.


The NYU Environmental Law Journal (ELJ) was founded in 1991 by students and alumni interested in furthering scholarship in the evolving field of environmental law. Since its inception, ELJ has become one of the leading environmental law journals in the nation. Environmental law exists at the intersection of society, nature and science, and the field has served as a catalyst for policy innovation and experimentation. ELJ publishes pieces that reveal and analyze the expanding links between environmental and land use policy as well as administrative, corporate, constitutional, criminal, energy, insurance, international, property, tax, and tort law. The Journal offers the historical, sociological, ethical, institutional, and scientific insights necessary for scholars and practitioners to better understand the foundations of environmental law. ELJ prides itself on its innovative structure and democratic mission. ELJ is committed to developing its staff members as both environmental thinkers and strong student editors, and the Journal works with its members to prepare student notes for publication.



The Journal’s events bring cutting edge topics to light, drawing top environmental law thinkers to NYU as speakers and audience members. This year’s symposium, Defining The Boundaries of American Gas Exports, brought together leading academics and practitioners to discuss the United States’ transition to exporting liquefied natural gas. The symposium examined the Department of Energy’s export permit approval criteria, financing and international competition concerns, and the opportunities and constraints posed by international trade agreements. Events planned for the upcoming year include a panel on automated vehicles and a debate on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed methane regulations. In addition to its annual symposium, ELJ members are encouraged to participate in community events pertaining to environmental law. Our members also have the opportunity to form long-lasting relationships with other members, ELJ’s second-to-none faculty advisory committee (Vicki Been*, Richard Revesz, Richard Stewart, and Katrina Wyman), and alumni.


ELJ’s Structure and the Role of Staff Editors

In the 2016-2017 academic year, ELJ is seeking approximately 30 2L staff editors. ELJ’s board is composed of senior editors elected each spring by the 2L Staff Editors and the 3L Editorial Board. Staff Editors are involved in all aspects of the production of the journal. In addition to editing, proofreading, and article evaluation, Staff Editors serve on one of several planning committees. These committees review submissions and student notes, plan the symposium, and manage the production process. Staff Editors also maintain two office hours per week, during which they usually work on discrete assignments not directly related to their primary editorial assignments.


Staff Editors are also encouraged to fulfill a writing requirement that may be met by:

(1) producing a student article of publishable quality on an environmental issue,

(2) writing a scholarly comment of publishable quality on a case, legislation, executive order, etc. concerning an environmental topic,

(3) writing a book review of publishable quality about a work in the environmental field,

(4) writing a response paper of publishable quality to ELJ’s colloquium, or

(5) writing a non-environmental student article of publishable quality and taking a class related to environmental or land use law.


In most cases, fulfilling the Law School’s Substantial Writing Requirement, along with taking an environmental law class, satisfies ELJ’s writing requirement. ELJ has a rich tradition and a serious ongoing commitment to publishing student writing. ELJ has an extensive process to assist students in writing works of publishable quality. The Journal’s Notes Editors work closely with each Staff Editor throughout the process to frame an original and relevant note topic and develop it into a polished piece. Works that complete the process enjoy a presumption of publishability.


Selection Criteria

The ELJ selection committee relies on the writing competition to provide an indication of a student’s ability to handle the rigors of editing and writing for a scholarly journal. ELJ’s members will evaluate each writing competition essay according to the following criteria:


(1) substance and organization of the argument,

(2) grammar and writing style, and

(3) the relevance and technical accuracy of endnotes.


Of these criteria, ELJ believes that relevance and technical accuracy of endnotes is the most objective and important indicator of the level of student commitment to journal membership, and weighs it accordingly. In addition, ELJ requires that each student submit a personal statement, with a maximum length of 500 words. Many of the qualities we seek in our members can best be expressed through this statement. ELJ evaluates personal statements for:


(1) quality and care of presentation,

(2) demonstration of a genuine interest in environmental issues,

(3) diversity of background and life experience, and

(4) participation and leadership in student groups or other extracurricular activities.


Although experience with environmental issues is a plus, it is not a requirement. Similarly, while the selection committee looks favorably upon applicants that rank ELJ as their preferred journal, all applications will receive fair and thoughtful consideration. An interest in learning about environmental law is an applicant’s most important qualification. We also require the submission of a resume. ELJ does not consider grades in making offers. We believe that the writing competition and personal statement are the most accurate indicators of the qualities necessary for successful journal membership.



If you have any questions, please contact Julia Quigley (Editor-in-Chief,, Alex Walker (Managing Editor,, or Stephanie Jones (Managing Editor, Please also feel free to stop by the ELJ office in the D’Agostino basement!



*currently on leave