What We Do
Our strategy: Finding strong lawyers who are committed to protecting the environment in their home countries.
ELAW advocates play key roles in helping communities pursue environmental justice. They help citizens participate effectively in decisions about the environment, challenge environmental abuses, and enforce environmental laws. They publish guides to citizen participation, train community "paralegals" to represent community interests, and bring legal action to stop the worst offenders. As corporations extend their reach around the globe, many communities bear unjust burdens. These communities must be able to speak out to protect their environment, public health, and human rights. Grassroots advocates play a key role in helping communities speak out and ELAW gives these advocates the legal and scientific support they need to challenge abuses and build a just and sustainable future. ELAW finds the most committed environmental defenders and collaborates with them to pursue these initiatives to advance environmental justice.
Providing critical legal tools
Lawyers around the world call on ELAW for legal tools to strengthen and enforce environmental laws. ELAW U.S. attorneys collaborate with local advocates to bring enforcement actions, critique proposed statutes, and replicate model laws.
Providing critical scientific tools
ELAW advocates rely on ELAW staff scientists to critique plans for proposed developments, develop systems to monitor environmental conditions, provide expert testimony, and recommend cleaner alternatives.
Strengthening organizations
ELAW helps advocates launch and strengthen organizations dedicated to pursuing justice and protecting the environment.
Hosting visiting Fellows
The ELAW Secretariat in Oregon helps its partners gain skills and build strong organizations that will work to protect the environment for years to come. We have hosted more than 100 lawyers for ELAW Fellowships where they gain language skills, tap legal and scientific resources, work closely with ELAW staff, and learn from U.S. efforts to protect communities and the environment. Learn more
ELAW seeks out committed, courageous environmental defenders. The ELAW network started with 10 lawyers in 1989 and has grown to serve lawyers in more than 70 countries.
Protecting human rights of public interest lawyers
Lawyers challenging injustice often face serious risks. The ELAW network helps protect local advocates who face legal or other consequences for their advocacy.
Public Participation
ELAW helps inform decision makers and engage citizens to build a healthier future for communities and the planet. ELAW partners convene workshops to educate communities about legal and scientific tools citizens can use to challenge environmental abuses and defend their human right to clean air, water, food, and a sustainable economy. ELAW US staff members bring information and perspective to these workshops. Community workshops help forge alliances between lawyers, conservation NGOs and citizens; build resolve to tackle imminent threats; and empower citizens with legal tools they can use to protect the environment.