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Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law

September 25, 2013 5-6 p.m., Gerber Glass Moot Court Room

Professor Jason Czarnezki
Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law

New York City Rules! Regulatory Tools and the Environment



Scholars have become increasingly interested in measures facilitating improvements in environmental and public health at the local level. By proposing and adopting numerous environmental and public health initiatives over the last few years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council have provided ample food for thought and prompted an interesting case study for analyzing the development and success (or failure) of various regulatory tools. This lecture explores "New York Rules" including: 

  • Bans on foam containers, sugary drinks, smoking in public spaces, trans fat, displaying tobacco products;
  • Mandatory food and menu labeling of calorie counts;
  • Infrastructure (salad bars in schools, public space recycling, bike lanes, tree planting);
  • Recycling and composting mandates;
  • Standard-setting for energy efficient buildings;
  • Economic (dis)incentives such as congestion pricing.  

In his inaugural lecture as the Gilbert & Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Professor Czarnezki will provide insight into the interesting challenge of finding the proper regulatory tool to solve any environmental and public health problem.


Prior to joining the Pace Law faculty, Professor Czarnezki was Professor of Law in the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School, Faculty Director of the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law, and a Faculty Fellow in the Vermont Law Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.  He has also held academic appointments at Marquette University Law School and the DePaul University College of Law.  Pursuing interests in comparative and global environmental law and politics, Professor Czarnezki served as a guest researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden in 2011 and spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a J. William Fulbright Scholar at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, where he lived with his family and traveled throughout the country. He has presented his work on environmentalism, natural resources law, food policy, and global climate policy at universities, public interest organizations, government institutions, and conferences throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Previously, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and as a law clerk for the Bureau of Legal Services at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His articles have been published in the law journals of Boston College, Boston University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, University of Maryland, and University of Virginia. His books include "Everyday Environmentalism: Law, Nature and Individual Behavior" (2011) and "Food, Agriculture and Environmental Law" (2013).  Professor Czarnezki received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.


Pace Law School established the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law to expand the its programs of research, education, professional and scholarly activity and publications in environmental law, a field for which Pace has received national and international recognition. The Kerlin endowment also funds a named professorship at Pace in Environmental Law. Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, founder of Pace Law School's environmental programs, was named the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law 1999. The first Kerlin Lecture, entitled "Selling the Common Heritage? Commerce, Property, and the Protection of the Environment," was given by Professor Carol Rose in 2000.

Mr. Kerlin, of counsel to Shearman & Sterling in New York City, was a distinguished lawyer. He was a founder and chairman of the Riverdale Community Planning Association, an organization that spearheaded the rezoning of the entire West Bronx to preserve the greenbelt area of that section of New York City. He was also a leader in protecting the natural environment of the Hudson River and its greenbelt area. Mr. Kerlin was the founding chairman of Wave Hill, the outstanding public garden and cultural institution in Riverdale, New York. Mrs. Kerlin, a long-time trustee of the Bank Street College of Education, was responsible for creating and supporting environmental and educational programs at Wave Hill for teachers and public school students.

Mr. Gilbert Kerlin passed away at the age of 94 in 2004; his wife of 60 years, Sarah, died in 2001. The Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law continues in their honor.


January 29, 2013
Patricia Salkin
Dean, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
“The Executive and the Environment: A Look at the Last Five Governors in New York”

October 27, 2011
John C. Cruden
President, Environmental Law Institute
“Making the Polluter Pay: Environmental Enforcement in the Modern Era”

October 18, 2010
Jim Salzman
Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy at Duke University
"What is the Emperor Wearing? A Critical Look at the Potential of Ecosystem Services for Environmental Protection"

October 8, 2009
Suedeen G. Kelly
Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
"Renewables and Smart Grid: Is This Where We are Headed?"



October 1, 2008
Peter Lehner
Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
"Environment, Law, and Nonprofits: How NGOs Shape Our Laws, Health, and Communities"



October 19, 2007
John P. Cahill '85 '92
Of Counsel, Chadbourne & Parke LLP
"Environmental Law in New York State: The Past as Prologue to the Future"



October 30, 2006
Theodore W. Kheel
Of Counsel, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP;
President and CEO, Nurture Nature Foundation
"Resolving the Conflict between Environmental Protection and Economic Development"


November 17, 2005
Malcolm Grant, CBE, MA, LLD, HonMRTPI, HonRICS  
President and Provost, University College London (UCL)
"Reconciling Science and Public Engagement in Environmental Policy Making: European Attitudes toward Releasing Genetically Modified Organisms"



November 8, 2004
Daniel C. Esty
Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale Law School
"Bringing Administrative Law to Bear in Global Environmental Governance"



October 27, 2003
Bharat H. Desai, PhD
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
"The Future of International Environmental Governance: Johannesburg and Beyond"



September 25, 2002
Juan Mayr Maldonado
Former Minister of the Environment, Republic of Colombia
"The Role of Ethics in the Construction of a Culture for Sustainable Development"



September 20, 2001
Jacqueline Lang Weaver
A. A. White Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center
"The Federal Government As a Useful Enemy: Perspectives on the Bush Energy/Environment Agenda from the Texas Oil Fields"



September 21, 2000
Carol Rose
Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor of Law and Organization, Yale Law School
"Selling the Common Heritage? Commerce, Property and the Protection of the Environment"