Michael P. Vandenbergh has been appointed to the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law. Vandenbergh, a renowned scholar of environmental law who focuses on the impact of individual behavior and private governance, co-directs Vanderbilt’s Energy, Environment and Land Use Law Program. He teaches property law and courses in environmental law, policy and regulation.
Vandenbergh joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty as an assistant professor in 2001, was named a professor of law in 2006, and has served as co-director of Vanderbilt’s Energy, Environment and Land Use Program since 2010. He co-founded and has directed the Vanderbilt Climate Change Research Network since 2007. A four-time winner of the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award, he held the Tarkington Chair of Teaching Excellence from 2009 to 2012.
Vandenbergh also co-founded the law school’s Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a student-run journal that selects the most important policy-relevant scholarship in environmental law from the previous year and publishes short versions with commentary from policymakers and practitioners.
Vandenbergh’s recent article, “Private Environmental Governance,” which addresses the shift of environmental regulation from the public to the private sector, was published in the Cornell Law Review in 2013. Two of his articles, “The One Percent Problem,” a Columbia Law Review article co-authored with Vanderbilt colleague Kevin Stack in 2011, and “The Carbon Neutral Individual,” a 2007 New York University Law Review article co-authored with Anne Steinemann, were included in the Land Use and Environmental Law Review as among the best environmental law articles of the year. Articles he wrote or co-authored have also been published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Climate Change, Energy Policy, Energy Economics and the European Economic Review; and in the New York University, Michigan, Minnesota, UCLA, Southern California and Vanderbilt law reviews, among other leading journals. In 2011, he served on a 12-member multi-sector expert panel that released a report on sustainability certification.
Vandenbergh earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia, where he was an Armour Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review. He earned his B.A. in zoology at the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar, student body president, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Before joining the academy in 2001, Vandenbergh clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served as chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993-95 and was a partner with Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.
“I’m pleased and honored to accept this appointment to an Allen Chair,” Vandenbergh said. “Vanderbilt continues to be a great place to teach, collaborate with colleagues, and do research with important policy implications.”
The David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law is one of three chairs honoring David Daniels Allen (BA’58), a founding partner of Reynolds Allen & Cook in Houston.
“Professor Vandenbergh is an extraordinary scholar. His work is quite varied and impossible to capture in a sound bite,” said Lisa Bressman, associate dean for academic affairs, who also holds a David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law. “Nevertheless, it is fair to say that his work has led us to examine individual behavior as a part of the broader regulatory strategy for addressing environmental issues such as climate change—at a time when we cannot afford to overlook any tool for addressing such issues. I am awed and amazed by every piece that Professor Vandenbergh writes and anticipate many more groundbreaking articles and books to come.”