Columbia Law School Establishes World’s First Endowed Professorship in Climate Change Law

Columbia Law School Establishes World?s First Endowed Professorship in Climate Change Law

Media Contact: Nancy Goldfarb, 212-854-1584                [email protected]

Public Affairs, 212-854-2650
New York, Dec. 11, 2009 – Columbia Law School has established the first endowed professorship at any law school in the world devoted exclusively to the study of climate change law.
Professor Michael Gerrard, Director of the Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law, will be the first Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice. Whoever holds the Andrew Sabin Professorship will also serve as the Center's director.
“In the midst of the international negotiations in Copenhagen, and with comprehensive federal legislation under debate in Congress, this center for scholarship and teaching can help address one of the world’s most pressing problems,” Gerrard said. “Columbia Law School’s vision and Andrew Sabin’s generosity are coming together at just the right time.”
The professorship is named in honor of Andrew Sabin, a New York precious-metal refiner with a long history in environmental and conservation activities. The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation is a lead funder of the Center for Climate Change Law, and provided substantial funding for Gerrard’s first professorship at the Law School. The professorship was approved by the Columbia University Board of Trustees.
“Of particular significance is our concern for the earth's natural resources, a concern that manifests itself in virtually everything we do to help protect the environment and our customers,” Sabin notes on the website for one of his companies, Sabin Metal Corp. “We're proud that no production hazardous waste is shipped from our refinery.”
Sabin, who has been active in Conservation International and the Wildlife Conversation Society, and other conservation groups, has frequently participated in meetings of the Law School’s Environmental Law Advisory Committee since its inception in 2000.  He was treasurer of the Evan Frankel Foundation, which made a groundbreaking gift to the Law School a decade ago by establishing the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professorship in Environmental Law.
Under Gerrard’s leadership, the Center has since its founding in January already hosted four major conferences (on the Waxman-Markey climate bill, the Obama Administration’s road to Copenhagen, climate cooperation between the U.S. and India, and biosequestration and climate policy); established a web site ( that is providing policymakers and legal researchers around the world with information on climate litigation, legislation and regulations; launched a series of books on climate law; and started projects to draft model municipal laws on green buildings, and to examine presidential powers to make international climate commitments without formal treaties.
Gerrard joined the Law School faculty in January after 14 years at Arnold & Porter, most recently as managing partner of the 110-attorney New York office. He is now a Senior Counsel to the firm.
An environmental lawyer since receiving his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1978, Gerrard is author or editor of seven books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law. Two of his books were named “Best Law Book of the Year” by the Association of American Publishers. He formerly chaired the American Bar Association’s 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.
Gerrard was named the top environmental lawyer in New York in the Best Lawyers 2010 Directory. He is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this month as part of the Columbia University delegation, and will post daily updates that will appear on a special Law School blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter feeds established by the Center for Climate Change Law. He holds a joint appointment with Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
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