Lazarus honored with ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy

Professor Richard J. Lazarus '79

Professor Richard J. Lazarus ’79

In August, Professor Richard Lazarus ’79 was honored at the ABA annual meeting in Toronto with the association’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy. Established to recognize outstanding accomplishments in environmental law or policies, the award was given to Lazarus for his significant leadership in improving environmental protection and sustainable development.

Lazarus, one of the nation’s foremost experts on environmental law and a leading U.S. Supreme Court practitioner, joined the Harvard Law School faculty this summer as the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professor of Law.

He previously taught environmental law, natural resources law, Supreme Court advocacy and torts as the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Professor of Law and faculty co-director of the Supreme Court Institute at the Georgetown University Law Center. He also recently served as executive director of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, appointed by President Barack Obama ’91, to investigate the root causes of the Gulf oil spill. He is the principal author of the 2011 report “Deep Water – The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling – Report to the President of the United States”.

Said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow: “As the pre-eminent scholar-practitioner of environmental law and one of the top Supreme Court advocates in the field, Richard Lazarus richly deserves this recognition by the ABA.  By bridging theory and practice with vision and also practical wisdom, he has made extraordinary contributions that advance environmental protection and sustainable development.  We join the ABA in celebrating his commitment and accomplishments.”

Lazarus’s book “The Making of Environmental Law“ (University of Chicago Press) is widely hailed as the definitive history of the emergence and evolution of modern environmental law in the United States.  He has a forthcoming article in the University of Illinois Law Review, and recently published articles in the Cornell Law Review, Yale Law Journal Online, and San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law. Other environmental law professors selected his 2009 Cornell Law Review article as one of the best published that year – an award he has received for many of his other articles in previous years.

Lazarus holds a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in economics from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a special student in economics and an advisee of Professor Robert Solow, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. As a student at Harvard Law School, he served as executive editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review.