Clinical Professor of Law
Supervising Attorney, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Duke University School of Law
Michelle Nowlin has dedicated her career to the protection of natural resources and public health through the practice of environmental law. She joined the Duke Law faculty in June 2008 as supervising attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She supervises clinic students from the law school and the Nicholas School of the Environment in their representation of non-profit client organizations, and co-teaches the seminar portion of the clinic. She also teaches a course in food and agricultural law and policy, and led a Bass Connections course on animal waste management and global health. She serves as chair of the board of advisors for the Duke Campus Farm, as a faculty advisor to Bass Connections, and as a faculty advisor for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum. She is also past chair of the American Association of Law Schools’ Food and Agriculture Law Section and is a member of the executive committee of the Environmental Law Section. She received Duke University’s Faculty Award for Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability in 2013.
Prior to joining Duke’s faculty, Nowlin 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 and received the Bill Holman Award for Environmental Advocacy, awarded by the Conservation Council of North Carolina. 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. She 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, the federal court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. She has served on the boards of directors for 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. from the University of Florida and a dual J.D./M.A. from Duke Law School and the School of the Environment. While at Duke, she was on the founding committee and served as editor-in-chief of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum.