Legal aid for the environment
Through a unique model of “legal aid for the environment,” Crag provides free and low-cost legal services to people who are working on the ground to protect our environment, climate and communities.
We believe that conservation and community groups deserve access to high-quality lawyers regardless of their ability to pay, and understand that effective legal aid extends far beyond lawsuits. As community-based lawyers, we actively listen to our clients and partners, help them understand the complex legal landscape, and then help them develop a plan to achieve their goals. We respond to issues with real world impacts in a way that builds long-term support for conservation advocacy. By focusing on serving our clients as opposed to pursuing our own policy agenda, we empower organizations to accomplish their missions. Our clients are engaged with the public and respond to what happens on the ground. By serving our clients, we serve the public. And by staying client-focused, we ensure that our work benefits local communities and resonates with the broader population. Many of Crag’s clients are battling well-funded corporations with large teams of attorneys, and Crag’s advocacy elevates those who would not otherwise have a voice in decisions directly affecting their frontline communities. We take on the cases that others often overlook, including cases that have no possibility of recovering attorneys’ fees.
By nature, Crag’s work is long-term. Our strategy is to push back against the erosion of environmental protections on public lands, elevate the voices of Tribes and other traditionally underrepresented groups, and advance climate policy that will preserve the prosperity and safety of generations to come. We aim to make our environmental laws work for everyone, support civic engagement, and hold decision-makers accountable for land management and environmental protections.
In addition to and in support of our program work, we are dedicated to training the next generation of environmental advocates. Through our Emerging Leaders Program, we provide mentorship and professional development for law students, undergraduate and high school students, and a variety of volunteers so that they can learn new skills that will allow them to be effective conservation and environmental justice advocates. We focus on developing the leadership of individuals from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate a passion for justice and a desire to pursue a career in public interest environmental work.