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Professor of Environmental Law, University of California, Los Angeles

James Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Law and at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara. He formerly held distinguished chairs at Duke University Law and Environment Schools. In twelve books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics spanning drinking water, policy instrument design, and creating markets for ecosystem services. One of the most read environmental law professors in the world, his work has been translated into six languages with over 115,000 article downloads.

A dedicated classroom teacher and colleague, Salzman was twice selected as Professor of the Year by students. He frequently appears as a media commentator and has delivered lectures on every continent. He has served as a visiting law professor at Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale as well as at universities in Australia, China, Israel, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden.

An honors graduate of Yale College and Harvard University, Salzman was the first Harvard graduate to earn joint degrees in law and engineering and was named a Sheldon Fellow upon graduation. He has both government and private sector work experience. Prior to entering academia, he worked in Paris in the Environment Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and in London as the European Environmental Manager for Johnson Wax. His honors include election as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, as well as appointments as a McMaster Fellow and Fulbright Senior Scholar in Australia, a Gilbert White Fellow at Resources for the Future, and a Bellagio Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

A national survey of environmental law professors has voted his work among the top articles of the year on seven separate occasions. He has published five casebooks, including International Environmental Law and Policy (with D. Zaelke and D. Hunter, 6th ed. 2021), the leading casebook in the field with adoptions at over 250 schools. His articles have appeared in leading law reviews and scientific journals. Active in the fields of practice and policy, he has served as a Member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee and the National Drinking Water Advisory Committees, government-appointed bodies providing high-level counsel to the EPA Administrator, as well as advising non-profits and foreign governments on environmental markets.

He has written two bestselling books, Drinking Water: A History and Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives. Mine! was featured in The New Yorker, New York Times, and named as one of the top five non-fiction books of the year by the Financial Times.


  • –present
    Professor of Environmental Law, University of California, Los Angeles