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J. B. Ruhl

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law
Vanderbilt Law School
Nashville, TN

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  • LL.M., George Washington University, 1986
  • J.D., University of Virginia, 1982
  • Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2006
  • B.A. with High Honors, University of Virginia, 1979


J. B. Ruhl is an expert in environmental law, land use and property law. Before he joined Vanderbiltís law faculty as the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law in 2011, he was the Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law, where he had taught since 1999. His influential scholarly articles on environmental law relating to climate change, the Endangered Species Act, ecosystems, federal public lands, and other land use and environmental issues have appeared in California Law Review, Duke Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review and the specialty environment journals at several top law schools, among other journals. His works have been selected by peers as among the best law review articles in the field of environmental law eight times from 1989 to 2013. Over the course of his career, he has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, George Washington University Law School, the University of Texas Law School, Vermont Law School, and Lewis & Clark College of Law. He began his academic career at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, where he taught from 1994-99 and earned his Ph.D. in geography. Before entering the academy, he was a partner with Fulbright & Jaworski in Austin, Texas, where he also taught on the adjunct faculty of the University of Texas Law School.

Professor Ruhl is a nationally regarded expert in the fields of endangered species protection, regulation of wetlands, ecosystem management, environmental impact analysis, and related environmental and natural resources fields. His extensive publications in these fields include recent articles in the Stanford Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Environmental Law, and Ecology Law Quarterly, several of which have been selected by a national peer review committee as one of the 10 best law review articles in environmental law published during the year of their respective releases. He is also co-author of the recently published casebook, The Law of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management (Foundation Press, 2nd ed. 2006), which is the first casebook to organize environmental law under these emerging themes, and of the forthcoming book on The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services (Island Press).

Professor Ruhl has served as the Executive Editor of the American Bar Association's environmental, natural resources, and energy law quarterly, Natural Resources & Environment, and as the Publications Officer of ABA's Section of Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law. He is a frequent lecturer and presenter, most recently at the law schools of Georgetown University, Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Florida, the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska, Duke University, University College Cork (Ireland), and Indiana University-Bloomington.

Prior to entering full-time law teaching, Professor Ruhl was a partner in the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., practicing environmental and natural resources law in the firm's Austin, Texas office. He was also an Adjunct Professor of environmental law with the University of Texas School of Law from 1991-94.

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