Legal Aspects of Coastal Adaptation & Resilience in RI (Dec 2015)

Legal Aspects of Coastal Adaptation & Resilience in Rhode Island:
A workshop for municipal solicitors and staff

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Roger Williams University School of Law

This one-day event offered Rhode Island municipal solicitors and staff an opportunity to discuss emerging legal issues related to coastal hazards and land use.  The State of Rhode Island has policies in place that require municipalities to address natural hazards and changing climate conditions, and several initiatives underway to provide data and decision support tools to municipal governments and property owners.  As policy changes evolve from these efforts, municipal staff and solicitors will likely face emerging legal challegens.  This workshop allowed attendees to better understand the data, tools, and projects underway at the state level, and a change to discuss and exchange ideas related to how the legal community might address these topics as they evolve.

Final Agenda

Part 1 – Welcome and Opening Remarks
Part 2 – STORMTOOLS, RI Coastal Property Guide, Q&A
Part 3 -  Introduction, Potential Liability of Governments, Theories of Municipal Liability Defenses, Q&A
Part 4 – Discussion of Legal Needs, Next Steps


Brian A. Goldman
Legal Counsel, RI Coastal Resources Management Council
Theories of Municipal Liability and Defenses

Jennifer Klein
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Government Liability for Failure to Prepare for Climate Change

John Ryan-Henry
J.D./M.M.A. '16, RWU School of Law/University of Rhode Island
Beach SAMP/STORMTOOLS: Changes to the Landscape of Municipal Liability

Dennis Esposito
Director, Environmental and Land Use Clinical Externship Program and Adjunct Professor, RWU School of Law
Food for Thought

The workshop was sponsored by Roger Williams University School of Law Marine Affairs Institute,
Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Rhode Island CRMC Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan.

Please contact the Marine Affairs Institute at 401-254-5392 or with any questions you may have.

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.