Mark Templeton, the Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, recently received the Class of 2023 Award for Clinical Teaching Excellence. The award, presented to Templeton at the Graduating Student Dinner on May 10th, is given to one of the 18 clinical faculty each year for their outstanding teaching. Faculty are nominated by the graduating class of students for their work.
“I am so honored to have received this award and honored to work with the students in the clinic each day,” says Templeton. “These students are truly exceptional and inspiring. It feels good to know that I am helping them learn and grow in their careers, and that we are also helping clients and improving public health and the environment in meaningful ways.”
The Law School’s clinical programs are meant to teach students to examine and apply legal theory while serving as advocates for clients. The program is intended to complement and enrich the theoretical study of law. Under the guidance of the full-time clinical faculty, students gain experience in interviewing clients, investigating facts, dealing with adverse parties, working with government agencies, negotiating on behalf of clients, drafting contracts and legislation and participating in court and administrative proceedings.
Templeton has been director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, which he founded, for more than a decade. In that time, the clinic has grown from having four students to approximately 20involved at any one time, and often even more want to be involved.
The goal, according to Templeton, is to provide law students with the opportunities and the skills to make them effective lawyers. And, in his more than 11 years running the clinic, Templeton has done just that.
“I think the clinic is the best opportunity you have in law school to really take on leadership roles in cases, learn new skills, and learn how to build relationships with the client,” said Christina McClintock, a former student in the clinic, in an earlier interview.
The clinic also dives deep into policy issues. For this, and so much of their work, they draw on Templeton’s expertise as a former regulator. Templeton was the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which included Missouri’s environmental protection efforts and energy policy office.
Before going into government, Templeton served as Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer at Yale Law School. Prior to that, he developed environmental and sustainability strategies at McKinsey & Company, and was special assistant and senior adviser to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and an adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.