The Policy Clinic: Climate, Health & Food, Human Rights, and Trade (Harrison Institute) supports clients who shape and make public policy. Some are nonprofit coalitions that promote policy change at various levels—local, state, federal, and international. Others are decision-makers—often legislators, attorneys general, regulatory agencies, and their national associations.

Our students and staff analyze law-making authority, develop options for changing policy, help clients plan their strategy, and draft documents to support client choices. Students work in four teams: climate, health/food, human rights, and trade.

For more information about the Policy Clinic, visit its website.

Clinic Logistics
Credits:Full year: 14 credits (8 fall + 6 spring); Fall only: 8 credits
Duration:Full year or fall-semester only
No. of Participants:
14 students/year
Open to:
All 2Ls and 3Ls
Avg. Time Commitment:
Fall: 28 hours/week; Spring: 21 hours/week
Client Work

Climate change. American cities and states are coping with the physical impacts of climate change: rising seas, higher floods, hotter summers, and longer droughts. We support the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC), which is a bridge between state and federal governments. Current projects focus on adapting to climate change in coastal cities (including Virginia Beach, VA) and urban neighborhoods (including Washington, DC, and Louisville, KY). The work involves state and local government law, federal administrative law, planning and zoning (law and practice), and research into the environmental impacts of climate change.

Health and food. The health team works with government associations, nonprofit organizations and university-based programs to increase access to health care and nutrition for vulnerable citizens. In response to the obesity epidemic among children, we support School Food FOCUS and its and strategies to make school food healthier and more sustainable.We have begun to work with hospitals to improve their food as well. Our newest project develops strategy for Georgetown's new Health Justice Alliance to influence local health policy. The first HJA project focuses on access to oral health services for children with special needs.

Human rights. Recent human rights clients include the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and the International Learning Lab that promotes transparency, worker-centered monitoring and remedies for abuse of human rights in government supply chains. We collaborate with governments and NGOs in the United States, Europe, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Students analyze government purchasing authority, map global supply chains, and develop policies for governments and institutional purchasers.

Trade. We assist governments and international coalitions that work on trade and investment—usually toward the goal of preserving space for governments to provide essential services (e.g., energy, health care), purchase sustainable products, and regulate products that affect the environment and public health. Current projects include (1) helping governments collaborate in setting a price on carbon while protecting their exports from being subject to border taxes;(2) developing transparency and sustainability standards (including human rights) for seafood supply chains where slavery is persistent;and (3) advising policymakers on options for drafting their next round of investment treaties, including U.S. negotiations with China and India.

Contact Us

Harrison Institute for Public Law
Georgetown Law
600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Suite 120
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 662-9603
Fax: (202) 662-9681



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