2017 Fall Forum: Health and the Environment in North Carolina

Duke University Environmental Health Scholars Program

Michelle Nowlin

J.D., M.A.
Clinical Professor of Law
Supervising Attorney, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Duke University School of Law


Ms. Michelle Nowlin joined the Duke Law faculty in June 2008, as a supervising attorney and senior lecturing fellow for the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic.  She supervises clinic students from the Law School and the Nicholas School of the Environment and co-teaches the seminar portion of the clinic.  She also teaches a course in food and agricultural law and policy, and is leading a Bass Connections course on Animal Waste and Global Health. She serves as chair of the board of advisors for the Duke Campus Farm, as a faculty advisor for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum, and is the chair-elect for the American Association of Law School’s Food and Agriculture Law Section. She received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability in 2013.

Ms. Nowlin has dedicated her career to the protection of natural resources and public health through the practice of environmental law.  Prior to joining Duke’s faculty, she was a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) in Chapel Hill.  For her advocacy work, she was named an Honorary Warden by the North Carolina Audubon Society in 2006, and received the Bill Holman Award for Environmental Advocacy, awarded by the Conservation Council of North Carolina, in 1997.  She completed a fellowship awarded by the Ford Foundation and worked in private practice for two years in Washington, D.C. prior to joining the SELC. Ms. Nowlin is a member of the North Carolina Bar and the D.C. Bar, and is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of North Carolina, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  She has served on the boards of directors of several nonprofit and civic organizations, including a term as chair of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.  She was named a Neighborhood Hero by Durham’s Inter-neighborhood Council in 2007, in recognition of her community work.

Nowlin earned her B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of Florida, where she was also inducted into Florida Blue Key and Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a dual J.D./M.A. from Duke Law School and the School of the Environment in 1992.  While at Duke, she was on the founding committee and served as editor-in-chief of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum.