Michele Okoh
Senior Lecturing Fellow

Michele Okoh is a senior lecturing fellow in the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Her work focuses primarily on environmental justice, public health law, criminal justice, and administrative law. In the clinic, Okoh supervises students on environmental law cases and teaches sessions on environmental justice and administrative law. She also teaches a readings course on environmental justice that is open to all law students.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of environmental justice and public health. She draws upon theories across disciplines in addressing legal issues and views environmental justice through a health equity lens. Her health equity approach orients her scholarship around demonstrating that environmental justice is in fact achievable. Her work emphasizes the need to focus on achieving equity.

She strongly believes that good theory makes good practice, and that good practice makes good theory. She aims for her work to be community driven and to fulfill the needs of impacted communities. For her, scholarship is part of advocacy, and she remains committed to service. She currently serves as the section councilor for the Environmental Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and is on the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section Council for the North Carolina Bar Association. She represents both the Law Section and Environment Section on the Action Board of APHA, and she previously served as co-chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of APHA with Charles Lee. She is also a recipient of the 2021 Rebecca A. Head Award which is presented by the Environment Section of APHA to an outstanding emerging leader working at the intersection of environmental justice, policy, and science.

Prior to joining the clinic in 2019, Okoh’s extensive professional legal experience included representing the state of North Carolina as both a prosecutor and as an attorney with the N.C. Department of Justice. As the managing attorney in her own law firm, Okoh Law Firm, she practiced disability law and served as a defense attorney, defending defendants against criminal prosecution in state and federal courts. She gained policy and litigation experience through her post-law school work with the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Honorable Allyson Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Okoh received her J.D. from Duke University School of Law. She also earned an M.P.H. from at the George Washington University and her B.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, with honors

She is passionate about theatre and has acted in and directed several plays, including the regional premiere of Eclipsed for the Women’s Theatre Festival. She is also a fan of hiking and all things horror and science fiction.

Michele Okoh