Who We Are
Chesapeake Legal Alliance (CLA) is the only regional organization solely dedicated to providing free legal services to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are a trusted source for innovative legal strategies to solve the Bay’s most complex problems. Our clients include individuals, community groups and environmental advocates working to protect the Bay’s lands, waters and communities. CLA also works with local, state, and federal regulators seeking unique solutions to Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration.
Vision & Mission
Vision: Enduring protection for the Chesapeake Bay watershed with healthy ecosystems, sustainable land use, and clean water for all.
Mission: To apply the power of the law to protect and restore clean water and promote healthy, resilient ecosystems for communities across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
CLA staff attorneys, together with a network of volunteer attorneys, provide the following services through our Three Centers:
- Environmental Action Center provides direct client counseling, case development, and representation in local, state, and federal matters, and provides strategic policy and innovative legal analyses.
- Legal Education Center provides legal education and training to communities, partners, and advocates on how to use the law to achieve Chesapeake Bay protection and restoration and better local water quality.
- Community Outreach Center cultivates volunteer attorneys with backgrounds in land and water pollution, environmental permits, enforcement & compliance, hazardous land cleanup, contracts, public health, and corporate and non-profit management and connects volunteer attorneys with individuals and organizations in need of assistance.
Chesapeake Legal Alliance staff and volunteer attorneys are some of the most experienced attorneys in their fields, with backgrounds in land and water pollution, environmental permits, enforcement & compliance, hazardous land cleanup, contracts, public health, and corporate and non-profit management.
Our Core Values
- Passion: Our passion for a clean and healthy environment for all is at the heart of our organization and inspires our work on a daily basis.
- Integrity, Accountability, and Excellence: We remain true to our mission and are accountable to ourselves, and to the people and partners we serve. We challenge ourselves to the highest level of learning and performance, and base our decisions on experience and the best available science, evidence and information.
- Innovation and Impact: We instill creativity and innovation into our work to carry out our mission. We aim to achieve tangible and enduring results.
- Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: We believe in the equal value of every human being. We know that to solve the Bay’s most complex problems we must embrace differences and actively include a variety of voices. We respect and include all people, communities, cultures, religions, and perspectives in our work.
- Kindness, Empathy and Respect. We emphasize kindness, empathy and respect within CLA, to the people and partners we serve and to the donors who support our efforts. This includes supporting each other during difficult times, providing fair compensation and benefits for our staff, respecting work-life balance, and maintaining cordiality – even in contentious matters.
These Core Values are codified in our 2021-23 Strategic Plan. Read the complete plan here.