Dennis H. Esposito

Photo of Dennis H. Esposito
Dennis H. EspositoDirector of Environmental and Land Use ExternshipAdjunct Professor of Law

Contact Information

401-254-4575desposito@rwu.edu

A nationally recognized author, legal educator and speaker, Dennis Esposito draws on 40 years experience in environmental law and regulations that created pragmatic strategies for clients. An accomplished environmental practitioner in land use development, coastal development, hazardous waste issues, and environmental litigation, he has successfully represented clients in both the public and private sectors, including serving as legal counsel for the Narragansett Bay Water Quality District Commission and Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council.

Former Chairman of the Adler Pollock & Sheehan Environmental Practice Group, a large multi-state law firm, he has worked in siting and permitting the largest marina on the East Coast and was instrumental in drafting legislation that revamped Rhode Island’s environmental and wetlands regulatory agencies. Recently, Esposito was appointed to oversee Rhode Island’s regulatory efforts to address the dual effects of sea level rise and storm-related coastal erosion.

Professor Esposito has been on the Law School’s teaching faculty since 1998 and has previously served as National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition coach and Interim Director of The Marine Affairs Institute and Rhode Island Legal Sea Grant Program and is currently the Director of the Environmental and Land Use Clinical Externship Program.

Courses Taught

LAW.806.A (4 Credits)Environmental & Land Use Clinical Externship

Click to Open
Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

Through the Environmental and Land Use Law Clinical Externship, students train in legal offices or departments of government agencies and non-government organizations doing environmental and land use legal work in Rhode Island and southern New England. Externs are exposed to the various ways in which environmental and land use law is practiced by government agencies and non-government organizations through litigation, administrative rulemaking and adjudication, and engagement in the legislative process. The students also participate in a two-credit, graded seminar “Advanced Topics in Environmental and Land Use Law” that will be designed by the professor, after consultation with the field supervisors, to teach substantive law, regulation, and policy directly relevant to the students’ field work, as well as the ethics and legal skills required of an environmental attorney.
4 Credits- 180 hours (approx. 2 days/week for 14 weeks)

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Clinic/Externship

Course Credits

4.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

LAW.806.B (6 Credits)Environmental & Land Use Clinical Externship

Click to Open
Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

Through the Environmental and Land Use Law Clinical Externship, students train in legal offices or departments of government agencies and non-government organizations doing environmental and land use legal work in Rhode Island and southern New England. Externs are exposed to the various ways in which environmental and land use law is practiced by government agencies and non-government organizations through litigation, administrative rulemaking and adjudication, and engagement in the legislative process. The students also participate in a two-credit, graded seminar “Advanced Topics in Environmental and Land Use Law” that will be designed by the professor, after consultation with the field supervisors, to teach substantive law, regulation, and policy directly relevant to the students’ field work, as well as the ethics and legal skills required of an environmental attorney.
6 Credits- 270 hours (approx. 3 days/week for 14 weeks)

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Clinic/Externship

Course Credits

6.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

LAW.806.C (8 Credits)Environmental & Land Use Clinical Externship

Click to Open

SUMMER ONLY

Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

Through the Environmental and Land Use Law Clinical Externship, students train in legal offices or departments of government agencies and non-government organizations doing environmental and land use legal work in Rhode Island and southern New England. Externs are exposed to the various ways in which environmental and land use law is practiced by government agencies and non-government organizations through litigation, administrative rulemaking and adjudication, and engagement in the legislative process. The students also participate in a two-credit, graded seminar “Advanced Topics in Environmental and Land Use Law” that will be designed by the professor, after consultation with the field supervisors, to teach substantive law, regulation, and policy directly relevant to the students’ field work, as well as the ethics and legal skills required of an environmental attorney.
8 Credits- 360 hours(approx. 5 days/week for 10 weeks) SUMMER SEMESTER ONLY

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Clinic/Externship

Course Credits

8.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

LAW.757Legislative Drafting & Advocacy

Click to Open

Course Description

Our lives are bordered by statutes. This course will teach the fundamentals of enacting statutes from policy concept to enacted legislation at the State level. Topics to be covered include bill and resolution drafting; effective Committee presentations; ethical and regulatory reporting issues; and campaign finance. Students will draft bills, advocacy pieces to legislators, reports to clients, and grassroots issue coordination plans.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

2.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.674Ocean and Coastal Law & Policy

Click to Open
Marine Affairs Institute

Course Description

The areas in which oceans and their branches and land masses meet are the source of many relationships largely peculiar to those areas. Sea level rise, global warming and effects on our oceans, coastal resilience and retreat options from mega storms like Sandy and Katrina, wetlands protection, environment and ecological issues, the position of the area in terms of industry and commerce including such international rules as those governing fisheries, whaling and other trapping and hunting, are a part of the special problems facing this zone and the areas of water and land nearby. The course examines the various legal regimes with a consideration of policy issues that are involved in the complex relationships generated in these areas.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law
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.

Elective

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.

Seminar

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

Clinics/Externships

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.