E. Donald Elliott

Florence Rogatz Professor (Adjunct) of Law
(fall term)

J.D., Yale Law School, 1974

B.A., Yale University, 1970

Courses Taught
  • Advanced Environmental Law
  • Comparative Chemical Controls
  • Administrative Law
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Conservative Critique of the Administrative State
  • Regulation of Energy Extraction
Donald Elliott

E. Donald Elliott is is the Florence Rogatz Professor (Adjunct) of Law at Yale Law School. He is a leading academic scholar, as well as practitioner, in the fields of administrative and environmental law. Elliott is “one of the most well-known, well-regarded environmental law professors in the nation,” according to John Cruden, former President of the Environmental Law Institute and Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration. Elliott has been on the Yale Law faculty since 1981 and currently teaches courses in environmental law, conservative legal theory, energy law, administrative law and civil procedure. For 2013 through 2020, he was co-chair of Environmental Practice Group at Covington & Burling LLP, in Washington D.C. From 2003 until he joined Covington in 2013, he was a partner in Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, chairing the firm’s worldwide Environment, Health and Safety Department. 

His latest book (with Dan Esty) is Advanced Introduction to U.S. Environmental Law (London: Elgar, 2021). Recent articles include “Lessons for the Law from COVID-19: Alternative Histories to Define the Roles of Politics and Expertise in the Administrative State” and (with Joshua Galperin) “Agency General Counsels, Beware: Federal agencies can face legal risk if they only provide constructive notice of regulatory changes through publication and FOIA availability.’

From 1989 to 1991, Elliott served as Assistant Administrator and General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1993, he was named to the first endowed chair in environmental law and policy at any major American law school, the Julien and Virginia Cornell Chair in Environmental Law and Litigation at Yale Law School. From 2003-2009, he was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, which advises the federal government on environmental issues. Elliott also testifies frequently in Congress on environmental issues. He has taught as a visitor at the University of Chicago Law School, the Georgetown University Law Center, Arizona State University Law School and the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.

He has served as a consultant on improving the relationship of law and science to the Federal Courts Study Committee, which was chartered by Congress to make recommendations for improving the federal courts, and to the Carnegie Commission for Law, Science and Government. He co-chaired the National Environmental Policy Institute’s Committee on Improving Science at EPA. 

Elliott is a Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) and an elected member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and the American Law Institute. He serves on the Board of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and as chair of its legal committee, as well on the Advisory Board for NYU’s Institute for Policy Integrity and the New Civil Liberties Alliance. He is a former member of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute, and the Center for Clean Air Policy. He is the author or coauthor of seven books and has published more than 80 articles in professional journals. He also writes a regular column about current events in The American Spectator and has published op-eds in many leading newspapers. 

He was named one of the top 25 environmental attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal and is highly ranked in Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers for Business; Best Lawyers in America; D.C. Super Lawyers; Who’s Who in American Law; and Who’s Who in the World. 

He earned both his B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from Yale. Following graduation, he was a law clerk for Gerhard Gesell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and for Chief Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.