A leading environmental litigator, Deborah A. Sivas, JD ’87, is director of the highly regarded Environmental Law Clinic, in which students provide legal counsel to dozens of national, regional, and grassroots nonprofit organizations on a variety of environmental issues. Professor Sivas’s litigation successes include challenging the Bush administration’s gas mileage standards for SUVs and light trucks and holding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accountable for regulating the discharge of invasive species in ship ballast water. Her current research is focused on the interaction of law and science in the arena of climate change and coastal/marine policy and the ability of the public to hold policymakers accountable. She is a frequent speaker on these topics.
Prior to assuming the clinic directorship in 1997, Professor Sivas was a partner at Gunther, Sivas & Walthall, an attorney with Earthjustice (formerly Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), an associate in the environmental practice group at Heller Ehrman, and a law clerk to Judge Judith N. Keep of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. She currently serves as chair for the board of directors for the Turtle Island Restoration Network. In recognition of her work on behalf of the environment, California Lawyer magazine named Professor Sivas one of its 2008 Attorneys of the Year.