Claudia Polsky

  • Clinical Professor of Law
    Director, Environmental Law Clinic
  • Tel: 510-642-5398
  • 434 Law Building (North Addition),

Claudia Polsky is a clinical professor of law and the founding Director of the Environmental Law Clinic.

Before launching the Clinic, she spent eighteen years as a public sector and public interest environmental litigator: fourteen as a Deputy Attorney General in the Environment Section of the California Department of Justice, and four at Earthjustice and Public Citizen Litigation Group. She has litigated cases in trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court; testified before Congress and the California legislature; and drafted and successfully defended environmental regulations.

Polsky also served as Deputy Director for Pollution Prevention and Green Technology at California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. There, she managed a program that addressed an area of ongoing professional focus: reducing exposure to toxic chemicals throughout the supply chain, from workers to consumers to communities impacted by toxic waste.  The Environmental Law Clinic handles many toxics-reduction matters, ranging from pesticide exposure cases to the regulation of hazardous ingredients in consumer products. It also addresses other issues of environmental health and environmental justice, including climate justice and access to safe drinking water for all.

Polsky’s past environmental advocacy work has encompassed negotiating conservation easements for The Nature Conservancy; protecting threatened Pacific salmon populations through dam removal; obtaining an injunction to save 50 million national forest acres from logging and roadbuilding; and serving as a volunteer park ranger in Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.


B.A., Harvard University (1987)
M. Appl. Sci., Lincoln University, New Zealand (1989)
J.D., Berkeley Law (1996)