Professor Michael Gerrard

Michael Gerrard

  • Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice

J.D., New York University School of Law, 1978
B.A., Columbia University, 1972

Areas of Study
Areas of Specialty

Environmental Law
Climate Change Law and Policy
Energy Regulation

The founder and faculty director of the groundbreaking Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and one of the foremost environmental lawyers in the nation, Michael Gerrard is an advocate, litigator, teacher, and scholar who has pioneered cutting-edge legal tools and strategies for addressing climate change. He writes and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation. He was the chair of the faculty of Columbia University’s renowned Earth Institute from 2015 to 2018 and now holds a joint appointment to the faculty of its successor, the Columbia Climate School. 

For three decades, before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2009, Gerrard practiced law in New York, most recently as the partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter. As an environmental lawyer, he tried numerous cases and argued many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals. He also handled the environmental aspects of diverse transactions and development projects and provided regulatory compliance advice to an array of clients in the private and public sectors. Several publications rated him the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leaders in the world.

A prolific author, he has written or edited 14 books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the first and leading work in its field (co-edited with Jody Freeman and Michael Burger), and Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (co-edited with John Dernbach). His 12-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide and four-volume Brownfields Law and Practice each received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book of the Year award.

Gerrard is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. He has also chaired the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and the New York State Bar Association’s environmental law section. He has served on the executive committees of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers. 

Gerrard also has taught courses at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the University of Malta. He has lectured on environmental law in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vatican City, and throughout the United States. He has worked with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands on the legal issues caused by rising sea levels that threaten the island nation.


More about Michael Gerrard’s other publications.

Honors and Awards

WE ACT (West Harlem for Environmental Justice) Gala Awardee


New York State Bar Association, Environmental & Energy Law Section Council Award


Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award, American Bar Association (to Sabin Center)


Defender of Science Award, Climate Science Legal Defense Fund


Lloyd K. Garrison Award in Environmental Law, Pace Law School


Environmental Advocates of New York, Advocate Award


Received the most nominations worldwide in Legal Media Group, Guide to the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers


Related News and Stories