Camille Pannu smiling

Camille Pannu

  • Associate Clinical Professor of Law

J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2011
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2006

Areas of Specialty

Environmental Justice
Economic Justice
Water Justice
Local Government Law
Legal Geography
Clinical Legal Education

Camille Pannu’s practice draws on principles of community lawyering and uses transactional law tools to achieve environmentally just outcomes for low-income communities. Her research focuses on structural racism, poverty, and environmental inequality in low-income, rural, and unincorporated communities, and her work examines how groups leverage power through corporate law and local government to assert control over shared environmental resources and essential infrastructure. 

Pannu joined the Columbia Law faculty as associate clinical professor on July 1, 2022, where she is the founder and director of the Just Transition Clinic, which uses transactional and policy advocacy strategies to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income communities of color, with particular attention to the circumstance of workers and shifts to sustainable production.

Pannu joined the Law School from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where she was a visiting assistant clinical professor leading the Community Economic Development Clinic. Before that, she founded the Aoki Water Justice Clinic at the University of California, Davis School of Law, which partnered with low-income rural communities, water providers, and local and tribal governments to prevent drinking water disasters and address current failures in the provision of safe and affordable water.

After graduating from law school, Pannu received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to provide environmental justice legal services to low-income communities in California. She also clerked for now-Senior Judge Richard A. Paez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Judge Stefan R. Underhill on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. 


Academic Publications

  • “Water Poverty” (work in progress).
  • “Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities and the Struggle for Water Justice in California,” with Jonathan London, Amanda Fencl, et al., 14 WATER ALTERNATIVES 520 (2021) (peer reviewed).
  • “When Decentralization Fails: Governance and Inequity in California’s Drinking Water System,” with Kristin Dobbin and Amanda Fencl, Western Political Science Association Mini conference Paper on Environmental Governance (2019).
  • “Bridging the Safe Drinking Water Gap for California’s Rural Poor” (14th Annual California Water Law Symposium), 24 HASTINGS ENVTL. L. J. 253 (2018) (invited).
  • “Learning From California’s Experience With Small Water System Consolidations: A Workshop Summary,” with Nell Green Nylen (lead author) and Michael Kiparsky, Wheeler Water Inst., Ctr. for Law, Energy & the Envt., UC Berkeley School of Law (Apr. 2018).
  • The Struggle For Water Justice in California’s San Joaquin Valley: A Focus on Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities (Report), with Jonathan London (lead author), Amanda Fencl et al., UC Davis Ctr. for Regional Change (Feb. 2018).
  • “Introduction to Empowered Partnerships: Community-Based Participatory Action Research for Environmental Justice,” 6 ENVTL. JUSTICE 1, 1–3, 8–10 (2013) (peer-reviewed), with Christopher Bacon, Saneta DeVuono-powell, Mary Louise Frampton and Tony LoPresti.
  • “Drinking Water and Exclusion: A Case Study From California’s Central Valley,” 100 CALIF. L. REV. 223 (2012) (comment) (awarded Shute Mihaly Prize for Land-Use and Local Government Writing).
  • “The Legacy of Environmental Racism in Richmond, California,” 3 THEMIS J. ENVT. HEALTH & DEV. 40 (2006).

Popular Press

  • “Clean Water Bill Will Resolve Public Health Crisis,” Op-Ed, Sacramento Bee (May 22, 2018).

Professional Activities

  • Clinical Legal Education Association
  • Society of American Law Teachers
  • American Bar Association (Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, Section on Business Law)
  • California Lawyers Association (Section on Business Law, Section on Environmental Law)
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association

Pro Bono and Community Service

  • Advisory Board, Cooperación Santa Ana (2020–present)
  • Member, Legal Committee, ACLU of Northern California (2019–present)
  • Board Director, California Law Review (2019–present)
  • Vice Chair and Board Director (State Bar Appointee), California Rural Legal Assistance (2013–present)
  • Regional Advisory Board Member, Northern California Community Loan Fund (2011–2013)
  • Commissioner, City of Berkeley Commission on Human Welfare and Community Action (2005–2006)

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