Faculty Focus

Professor Josh Galperin

Professor Josh Galperin joined the faculty of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2021. He teaches Contracts, Environmental Skills, and Administrative Law. Professor Galperin also was in a band, likes to bake, and has great advice for law students -- learn more in this candid student-led interview.

Can you tell me about your recent work?

I like my work to have two aspects: scholarship and practical projects. In my scholarship, I like to develop baseline arguments for why governments or policies should work in certain ways. My work on harmonic or administrative democracy falls mostly into the scholarship bucket. With this work, I’m exploring the idea that democracy is about more than just voting and elections. Democracy has a bunch of moving parts. My practical projects are typically government oriented. One example is with the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). I’m looking into regulatory notice and the ways agencies give notice of what they’re doing. This relates to my scholarship because it can affect how people participate in democracy, whether that participation be through voting or engaging with rulemaking, for example. Another example of my practical work is the Farm Bill Law Enterprise, farmbilllaw.org, of which Professor Margot Pollans and I are founding members and Professor Jon Brown is also a member. Started in 2017, FBLE offers insights and proposals from legal scholars for the farm bill well in advance of the legislative debate. We try to put out reports to help congress ahead of time. This also relates to my administrative democracy work, as I am incorporating just, equitable, and inclusive governance in the farm bill context.

How did you become interested in the law? 

My dad was a lawyer and he loved his job, but he was a litigator. The schools I went to instilled the importance of the governance process. My dad was non-stop work, so I knew I didn’t want that aspect of law and early on I was interested in policy. I either wanted to run for office or become a professor. 

I see your scholarship covers many types of law. What led you to research in all these areas?

I don’t think it’s that diverse. My theme is the core issue of how we structure law so people can participate in the governance process. 

Food and ag, Conservation, Human health and the Environment,

Land Use and the Environment – the theme can run through anything!

How has your Master’s degree from the Yale School of the Environment helped with your career in environmental law? Would you recommend the joint program to students? 

Yes! It has helped me enormously.

The first reason I recommend it is totally superficial – a degree from Yale looks good on a resume. Although superficial, it’s real and it’s valuable, especially for students who want to leave the normal orbit of their school. For example, I went to Vermont Law School. It helped me get attention outside of Vermont. I moved to Tennessee after school. 

The second reason is that law school is very individualistic; it is a good way to think like a lawyer. But that’s not how the world works in any field. It’s not how you will use the tools you learn in law school. The Yale MEM teaches students how to practice in any environmental discipline because everything there is both collaborative and interdisciplinary - that represents the real world more than law school alone.

Do you have any advice for students interested in environmental law?

Don’t feel like you have to overcommit to environmental classes or know everything there is to know about environmental law in law school. Focus on building the infrastructure for working while you're in law school. Find opportunities to do interdisciplinary work. Get involved in clubs. Do some non-legal work. Be curious. Ask why do people you disagree with have different opinions? Curiosity is about having lots of questions all the time. Also, don’t be afraid to be excited about things. The goal should be energy and excitement, not getting the grade or the job.

Can you tell me about a non-academic interest or hobby you have that you’d be willing to share? 

Two things – baking and drumming.

I love cooking and baking. I am both enthusiastic about them and good at them. However, I’m patient, so I’m better at baking. It also allows me to have some space from my kids. I donated a baking lesson at Pitt, the last school I taught at, for a fundraiser. The winner and I made babka.

I was in a band, I was a drummer. I even played drums at my wedding for a song. I had a cameo for La Bomba. My groomsmen were in my band. I am hoping to be the Recess Appointments drummer. 

Josh-drummer2 Josh-drummer1

Learn more about Professor Galperin.

Gabriella Mickel, a 2023 JD Candidate at Haub Law, authored this faculty Q&A. Gabriella is a Land Use & Haub Scholar, the President of the Environmental Law Society, a Junior Associate on Pace Environmental Law Review, and on the E-Board for NLG, Lambda, and ACS. Outside of school, she owns three sports supplement stores and is the co-editor of the Law Student Corner section of the NYSBA EELS Journal.