James Salzman

Samuel F. Mordecai Professor of Law
Professor of Environmental Policy


Jim Salzman holds joint appointments at Duke University as the Samuel Fox Mordecai Professor of Law at the Law School and as the Nicholas Institute Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment. In more than eight books and seventy articles and book chapters, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics spanning drinking water, environmental protection in the service economy, trade and environment conflicts, and the legal and institutional issues in creating markets for ecosystem services.

A dedicated classroom teacher and colleague, Salzman has twice been voted Professor of the Year by Duke students and received two Blueprint Awards from the Law School for institutional service. He has lectured on environmental policy on every continent except Antarctica and served as a visiting professor at Columbia, Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (as both the Leo Gottlieb and Jeremiah Smith Visiting Professors) as well as at universities in Australia, Sweden, Israel, Portugal and Italy. He has given distinguished lectures at Florida State, Wyoming, Pace and Lewis & Clark, Dickinson, among others.

An honors graduate of Yale College and Harvard University, Salzman was the first Harvard graduate to earn joint degrees in law and engineering and was named a Sheldon Fellow upon graduation. He has both government and private sector work experience. Prior to entering academia, he worked in Paris in the Environment Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and in London as the European Environmental Manager for Johnson Wax. His honors include election as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, as well as appointments as a McMaster Fellow and Fulbright Senior Scholar in Australia, a Bren Fellow at the Bren School of Environment, UC Santa Barbara, a Gilbert White Fellow at Resources for the Future, and as a Bellagio Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation.

He has published four casebooks, including International Environmental Law and Policy, Foundation Press (with D. Zaelke and D. Hunter, 5th ed. 2015), the leading casebook in the field with adoptions at over 200 schools. His articles have appeared in the California, Duke, NYU, Penn   and Stanford Law Reviews, as well as other legal, scientific and popular journals. A national survey of environmental law professors has voted his work among the top articles of the year on six separate occasions. Salzman is active in the fields of practice and policy, serving as a Member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, a government-appointed body providing counsel to the EPA Administrator and U.S. Trade Representative on trade and environment issues, as well as advising several environmental non-profits.

His most recent book, Drinking Water: A History, was praised as a “Recommended Read” by Scientific American and excerpted in Natural History. It is now in paperback and in its third printing.