Claudia Polsky

UC Berkeley School of Law

Director, Environmental Law Clinic; Assistant Clinical Professor


Claudia Polsky joined Berkeley Law in July 2015 as the first Director of its Environmental Law Clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law. Between graduating from Berkeley Law and returning to join its faculty, Polsky spent four years as a public-interest environmental litigator (Public Citizen Litigation Group & Earthjustice), and thirteen years as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice. In these roles, she litigated cases from state and federal trial courts through the U.S. Supreme Court, testified before Congress, and participated in drafting and defending state environmental regulations.

Polsky also served briefly as a Deputy Director of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, managing a pollution prevention and green technology program that addressed her area of current professional focus: reducing the toxicity of consumer products throughout the supply chain, to protect workers during product manufacture, consumers during product use, and communities impacted by toxic waste disposal. Polsky has additional interests at the intersection of environment and public health, including reducing use of agricultural pesticides, inducing “mode shift” from single-occupancy vehicle use to active transportation, and firmly establishing a human right to potable water. Her more ecologically focused work has encompassed negotiating conservation easements for The Nature Conservancy; litigating endangered species and dam removal cases for Earthjustice; and volunteering in Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.

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