Associate Professor Michael Burger teaches courses in environmental Law, administrative law, and law & literature, and is the director of the new Environmental and Land Use Law Clinical Externship program. Professor Burger’s current research interests include environmental federalism, emerging issues in the Arctic, and the role of narrative in environmental law. Professor Burger has been an invited speaker at top universities around the world, and his path-breaking article Environmental Law/Environmental Literature was recognized with the first annual Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship.
Prior to joining the RWU Law faculty in 2010, Professor Burger was an acting assistant professor of Lawyering at New York University School of Law. He also served for four years as an environmental and land use attorney at the New York City Law Department, where he litigated and counseled the City on issues ranging from global warming to drinking water protection to the renovation of Washington Square Park. More recently, he was counsel of record to a coalition of the nation’s local government associations in the U.S. Supreme Court case American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles.
Professor Burger is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an articles editor for the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law; and of Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude and received the Ratcliffe Hicks Prize for highest standing in language and literature. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Creative Writing program at NYU.
Professor Burger is on academic leave. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School.
"Sustainable Utopias and the Climate Change Apocalypse," in Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge, edited by Keith Hirokawa and Jessica Owley (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Law Institute Press, 2015)
“The Last, Last Frontier,” in Environmental Law and Contrasting Ideas of Nature: a Constructivist Approach, edited by Keith Hirokawa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014)
“Charlottesville, Other Cities, Restore Their Watersheds,” in Cities and Nature, A Handbook for Renewal, edited by Roger L. Kemp (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006)
Narratives in Conflict: Alaska Natives and Offshore Drilling in the Arctic, 2014 Nordic Environmental Law Journal 77 (2014) (invited symposium essay)
The (Re) Federalization of Fracking Regulation, 2013 Michigan State Law Review 1483 (2014)
Towards Engaged Scholarship, 33 Pace Law Review 821 (2014) (contribution to group-authored article edited by John Nolon)
Property Law and American Empire, 34 University of Hawaii Law Review 471 (2012)(with Paul Frymer)
Recovering from the Recovery Narrative: On Glocalism, Green Jobs and Cyborg Civilization, 46 Akron Law Review 912 (2013)
Environmental Law/Environmental Literature 39 Ecology Law Quarterly 1 (2013)
"The Story with Sustainability, " in Rethinking Sustainability to Meet the Climate Change Challenge, 43 Env. L. Rep. 10342, 10356-57 (April 2013) (contribution to collection of essays by participants in Environmental Law Collaborative 2012 workshop)
Consistency Conflicts and Federalism Choice: Marine Spatial Planning Beyond the States' Territorial Seas, 41 Environmental Law Reporter 10602 (2011)
“It’s Not Easy Being Green”: Local Initiatives, Preemption Problems and the Market Participant Exception, 78 University of Cincinnati Law Review 835 (2010)
Empowering Local Autonomy and Encouraging Innovation in Climate Change Governance: The Case for a Layered Regime, 39 Environmental Law Reporter 11161 (Environmental Law Institute, Dec. 2009)
Bipolar and Polycentric Approaches to Human Rights and the Environment, 28 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 371 (2003)