Robin Craig

Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law
Last Updated: July 2, 2024

Robin Craig specializes in all things water, including the relationships between climate change and water; the water-energy-food nexus; the Clean Water Act; the intersection of water issues and land issues; ocean and coastal law; marine biodiversity and marine protected areas; water law; ecological resilience and the law; climate change adaptation, and the relationships between environmental law and public health. She is the author, co-author, or editor of 12 books, including Re-Envisioning the Anthropocene Ocean (University of Utah Press, forthcoming, with Jeffrey M. McCarthy); The End of Sustainability (Kansas University Press 2017, with Melinda Harm Benson); Contemporary Issues in Climate Change Law and Policy (Environmental Law Institute 2016, with Stephen Miller); Comparative Ocean Governance: Place- Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change (Edward Elgar 2012); and The Clean Water Act and the Constitution (Environmental Law Institute 2nd Ed. 2009), as well as textbooks for environmental law, water law, and toxic torts. She has also written more than 100 law review articles and book chapters in both legal and scientific publications.

In recognition of her work on these topics, Craig was elected to membership in the American Law Institute in 2015 and the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2019 and has been appointed to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Environmental Law and to the Center for Progressive Reform. She has served on six National Academy of Sciences committees that evaluated Florida Everglades restoration, implementation of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, and application of the Clean Water Act to the Mississippi River. She has consulted on water quality issues with the government of Victoria, Australia, and the Council on Environmental Cooperation in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and she was one of 12 marine educators chosen to participate in a 2010 program in the Papahanamokuakea Marine National Monument, spending a week on Midway Atoll. She was also a principal researcher in a four-year grant project on Adaptive Water Governance sponsored by the National Social-Ecological Synthesis Center with money from the National Science Foundation. In 2018, Craig was named a William Evans Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. In 2017, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded her a Bellagio Center Writing Residency fellowship, allowing her to spend four weeks on Lake Como, Italy, working on a new book project on Re-Envisioning the Anthropocene Oceans, and in 2016 she was a research fellow at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

Craig is an active participant in several national organizations, including the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (ABA SEER), where she currently serves on the editorial board of Natural Resources & Environment; the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, where she co-chairs the Natural Resources Law Teachers Committee; and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), where she has chaired the Maritime Law Section, the Natural Resources Law Section and the Environmental Law Section. She has also served as a consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund and the River Network’s Nutrient Task Force. Craig serves as an editorial board member of Case Studies in the Environment and Coastal and Ocean Management, specialty chief editor of Frontiers Climate: Climate Law and Policy, guest associate editor for Frontiers Climate: Risk Management on the topic of “Climate Change Adaptation as Risk Mangement,” and as the series editor for the Wallace Stegner Series on Environmental Studies at the University of Utah Press.

Craig earned her JD summa cum laude in 1996 from the Lewis & Clark School of Law in Portland, Oregon, with a Certificate in Environmental Law; her PhD in English/literature and science in 1993 from the University of California, Santa Barbara; her MA in writing about science in 1986 from the Johns Hopkins University; and her BA cum laude in English/writing in 1985 from Pomona College in Claremont, California. While in law school, she worked for the Oregon Department of Justice in its general counsel division, natural resources section, representing the state’s environmental and natural resources agencies. After law school, she clerked for Judge Robert E. Jones at the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon before starting her law teaching career as a visiting assistant professor at the Lewis & Clark School of Law. Before arriving at USC Gould School of Law in 2021, Craig held tenure-track positions at the Western New England College School of Law; Indiana University—Indianapolis School of Law (where she first received tenure); the Florida State University School of Law; and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney School of Law. She has visited at the Lewis & Clark School of Law, Vermont Law School, the University of Hawaii School of Law, and the University of Tasmania Faculty of Law. At Gould, Professor Craig teaches environmental law, water law, ocean and coastal law, toxic torts, and civil procedure.