By Andrew Cohen
Jordan Diamond ’08 and Holly Doremus ’91 see no need to reinvent the wheel in their new leadership roles at the Law of the Sea Institute (LOSI). Housed at Berkeley Law since 2002, the institute has flourished under longtime director and Professor Emeritus Harry Scheiber.
“Holly and I want to continue the existing legacy,” said Diamond, the new executive director. “For half a century, LOSI has convened leading experts from around the world to foster the discussion and debate needed to propel ocean governance forward amid rapidly changing conditions.”
Diamond and Doremus, the new faculty director, want to help facilitate research projects and discussions that support ocean governance that is transparent, inclusive, and adaptive. They plan to tackle issues such as the future of fisheries, governance of offshore energy and role of new technologies in monitoring ocean activity—including advanced remote sensing, satellite imaging and personal cell phones.
While ocean law has long been treated as a siloed field, Diamond believes its links with “myriad other law and policy arenas is increasingly clear, from human rights to national security to scientific and technological development.” She wants to extend the institute’s collaborations with other law school units, and maximize student involvement in conferences and research.
Executive director of the school’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), Diamond has been LOSI’s academic coordinator since 2013. She previously co-directed the Ocean Program at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.
Doremus, a co-director at CLEE, is a leading environmental law scholar and Berkeley Law’s associate dean for faculty development and research. Widely recognized for her work on the intersection of natural resources law and science, she has participated in several working groups on ocean governance and is a member of the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team.
As climate change alters how experts approach ocean and coastal governance, LOSI will confront problems such as shifting boundaries, changing ecosystem conditions and the forced migration of communities on eroding land that lack sufficient resources to survive.
“The world’s oceans cross domestic and international political boundaries, present vital conservation questions and underscore the challenges of resource management and supervising actions at sea,” Doremus said. “They harbor physical and biological resources that are important to different people for very different reasons. Those resources are still poorly understood, and often nearly invisible to the public.”
Quite a legacy
While Scheiber noted that ocean law “is generally understudied at U.S. law schools despite the urgent global issues involved,” LOSI celebrated its 50-year anniversary last fall with a major conference that drew scholars from four continents. Before arriving at Berkeley in 2002, the institute operated within the University of Rhode Island, where it was founded, the University of Hawaii and the University of Miami.
In his decade of guiding the institute with former Berkeley Law Professor David Caron ’83 and the four years that followed, Scheiber extended its international connections and import through a series of conferences, books, lectures and papers. All told, he helped convene 17 conferences worldwide, in locations such as Korea, Alaska, Hawai’i, Germany, Turkey, Australia and Spain.
Those conferences yielded 10 books—plus two more that are in the works—featuring judicial, practitioner and academic perspectives on key ocean law questions. LOSI has also attracted top visiting scholars from across the U.S. and the world to Berkeley Law, both as scholars in residence and strategic advisors.
Scheiber also emphasized student engagement in LOSI activities, for the benefit of the students and the field. “He changed my law school experience and opened countless doors by enabling me to participate in LOSI’s international conferences and meet leading experts in the field,” Diamond said. “Holly and I hope to emulate that.”
In deciding to step down, Scheiber will focus more time on writing. He has works both in press and in progress, and recently published an acclaimed history of martial law in Hawai’i during World War II with his wife, Jane Scheiber.
“Jordan and I are honored to have the opportunity to build on Harry’s many accomplishments, and to take the institute forward,” Doremus said.
She and Diamond are co-organizing conferences in Asia and Europe this fall, and hope to host one at Berkeley Law next spring. Their goal: to foster robust discussion about critical challenges that threaten the ocean and the services it provides.
“If we continue with siloed systems that don’t account for all ocean uses and resources and their interconnectivity, we face the risk of entire ecosystems collapsing,” Diamond said. “Not only will that fundamentally alter the biodiversity and composition of the ocean—there’s really only one, and it covers more than 70 percent of the planet—it will endanger entire populations.”