Mark N. Templeton

Mark N. Templeton

Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

Mark N. Templeton is Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, and a Research Affiliate of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC).

Previously, Professor Templeton was a Trustee and Executive Director of the Office of Independent Trustees for the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust. He served as the cabinet-level Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, leading the state’s efforts in energy, environmental protection, state parks, and water resources, while overseeing a staff of approximately 1750 FTEs and a $310 million annual budget.

From 2005 to 2009, Professor Templeton served as Associate Dean and COO at Yale Law School. From 2001 to 2005, he developed environmental and sustainability strategies at McKinsey & Company, among other projects. Prior to joining McKinsey, Professor Templeton was Special Assistant and Senior Adviser to the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and an adviser to the US Delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights. He was a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs from 1994 to 1996.

Professor Templeton earned an AB, magna cum laude, in Social Studies from Harvard College in 1994 and a JD from Yale Law School in 1999.

Professor Templeton serves as a board member of the Environmental Law Institute, a board member of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Vice Chair of the Conservation and Policy Council of the Cook County Forest Preserves, and a member of the Illinois State Bar Association Environmental Section Council. He has earned the rank of Shodan (first-degree black belt) in Shotokan karate.


Yale Law School

JD, 1999

  • Robert Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow, 1999-2000
  • Khosla Prize for Human Dignity, 1999
  • Research Assistant for Professor Harold Hongju Koh
  • Student Director, Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic
  • Senior Editor & Admissions Committee Member, Yale Law Journal

Harvard College

AB, magna cum laude in social studies, 1994

  • John Harvard Scholarship
  • Harvard National Scholarship
  • Senior News Editor, The Harvard Crimson
  • Publishing Director, Let’s Go travel guides


The University of Chicago Law School

Clinical Professor of Law, 2018-present
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, 2015-2017
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, 2012-2014
Director, Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, 2012-present
Research Affiliate, Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC)

University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy

Instructor: Managing Predicable Surprises session, Co-instructor: Leading Boldly, Without Sinking the Ship session, April 2015, April 2016

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust

Trustee, 2016
Executive Director of the Office of Independent Trustees, St. Louis, Missouri, 2010-2011; as consultant, 2012-2016

Washington University in St. Louis Olin School of Business

Adjunct Lecturer, Executive MBA program: Enterprise Risk Management course, January 2012
Adjunct Professor, Introduction to Energy Law and Policy mini-course, spring and fall 2011

State of Missouri, Department of Natural Resources

Department Director, Jefferson City, Missouri, 2009-2010

Yale Law School

Associate Dean for Finance and Administration and Chief Operations Officer, 2005-2009
Co-leader, Negotiation reading group, January 2007 and 2008

McKinsey & Company

Engagement Manager, San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC, 2001-2005

US State Department

Special Assistant and Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2000-2001
Advisor to U.S. Delegation to U.N. Commission on Human Rights, 2000-2001

Human Rights Documentation Center

Office Director, Bangkok, Thailand, 1999-2000

O’Melveny & Myers, Entertainment Law Department

Summer Associate, Century City, CA, summer 1998

South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre

Research Associate, New Delhi, India, summer 1997

Goldman Sachs, Fixed Income Division

Financial analyst, New York, NY, 1994-1996

Let’s Go, Inc.

Publishing Director, Cambridge, MA, 1992-1993

Journal Articles

  • "A Human Rights Perspective in the Broadcasting Bill Debate," 5 Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law 401 (1997). cu

Book Sections

  • "Liability for Contaminated Land," in Chemical Risk Governance, Adam D. Abelkop, Lucas Bergkamp, Lynn L. Bergeson & Bethami Auerbach eds. (2023).
  • "Accelerating and Smoothing the Transition Away from Coal," in U.S. Energy and Climate Roadmap: Evidence-based Policies for Effective Action (Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, 2021). www
  • "Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Regarding the Effectiveness of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990," in Energy Law in the 21st Century: Views from the U.S. and Russia (American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2014). cu www
  • "Human Rights and Political Reform in Thailand," in Reforming Thai Politics, Duncan McCargo ed. (NIAS Press, 2002) (with David Streckfuss). cu

Other Publications

  • "A Just Transition to Sustainable Energy Requires Holding Polluters Accountable," The Hill, June 14, 2021. www
  • "Texas Underscored That Now Is The Time For A National Electricity Czar," Forbes, April 2021. www
  • "Fighting With Trump Over The Real ‘Social Cost Of Carbon,’," Forbes, July 2020. www
  • (IEPA Report )(2019) (with Robert A. Weinstock, Elizabeth Lindberg, Mary Gade, Doug Scott & Bharat Mathur).
  • "Showdown Between Exxon And State AGs Has Big Implications For Corporate America," Forbes, May 31, 2017. www
  • "Five Immigrants Who Revolutionized America's Energy Industry," Forbes, March 6, 2017. www
  • "Building On Clinton's Plan To Revitalize Coal Country," Forbes, November 4, 2016. www
  • "The Clean Power Plan's Courtroom Battle -- How Much Does It Matter?," Forbes, September 30, 2016. www

Academic Talks and Engagements

  • March 2019: University of Pennsylvania, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Visiting Scholar
  • April 2018: American Association of Law Schools, Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Cross-Clinic & Community Collaborations to Enhance Student Learning & Advance Social Justice
  • July 2017: Shandong University, Qingdao, China, Shandong University of China–University of Chicago International Symposium on Governance, Comparative Multilevel Approaches to Liability for Soil Contamination
  • July 2017: University of Chicago Delhi Center, NITI Aayog and EPIC-India, Air and Water Pollution: Innovations in Regulation, Abatement, and Monitoring, Effective Legal Frameworks for Emissions Trading
  • June 2016: Peking University, Beijing, China, How Independent Experts and Environmental Organizations Work to Address Regulatory Failures: A Case Study
  • March & June 2016: University of Chicago Beijing Center and Tsinghua University, Law, Science, and Politics (with Tom Ginsburg); Lead in the Water: How Independent Experts and Environmental Organizations Worked to Address Regulatory Failures in Flint, Michigan
  • November 2012: University of California at Irvine, The Role of Law in Disaster Planning, Management, and Response, as part of the Future of Offshore Drilling conference

External Non-academic Speaking Engagements

  • May 2023: Speaker, University of Chicago, Harper Lecture: Climate Change and Renewable Energy
  • March 2023: Panelist, Environmental Defense Fund, Community Research & Testimony 101
  • July 2022: Panelist, Black’s in Green’s Black Energy Justice Retreat, Ten Ideas for Reforming the Illinois Commerce Commission and Other American Public Utility Commissions
  • May 2022: Panelist, Illinois State Bar Association, 20th Annual Environmental Law Conference, The New Illinois and U.S. Energy Legislation Taking Aim at Climate Change: An Overview and Critique
  • November 2021: Presenter, Environmental Law Institute, 30th Annual Eastern Boot Camp on Environmental Law, Introduction to Energy Law
  • October 2021 Presenter, Air & Waste Management Association, Lake Michigan States Section, 2021 Annual Air Conference, Navigating the Future of Federal and State Enforcement
  • May 2021: Panelist, Moderator, and Organizer, Illinois State Bar Association, 19th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Highlights in the Race to Respond to Climate Change, Environmental Justice Sessions 1 and 2
  • November 2020: Presenter, Environmental Law Institute, 29th Annual Eastern Boot Camp on Environmental Law, Introduction to Energy Law
  • February 2020: Presenter, Sierra Club, Protecting the Illinois EPA’s Health, so that It Can Protect Ours
  • February 2020: Speaker, Northwestern University, Local and Regional Environmental and Energy Advocacy in the Era of President Trump
  • December 2019: Host and Presenter, Environmental Law Institute, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Federal Judicial Center, Climate Science for Judges: Towards a Climate Science Curriculum, Zero Zone: A Seventh Circuit Case Study
  • May 2019: Panelist, Illinois State Bar Association, 18th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Citizen Suits
  • October 2019: Speaker, Loyola University Law School, A Brief Introduction Environmental Law and Issues in the Chicago Region
  • February 2019: Speaker, Chicago Center for Health and Environment (CACHET), Environmental and Energy Advocacy in the Chicago Region
  • May 2017: Panelist, Illinois State Bar Association, 16th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Clean Power Plan: What’s Next?
  • April 2017: Panelist, Sargent & Lundy, Briefing to Top 50 Corporate Leaders
  • March 2016: Presenter, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and University of Chicago Urban Network, Learning from the City: The Midwest Regional Convening of UN Habitat III
  • March 2016: Moderator, University of Chicago Alumni Law Society, Washington, D.C., The Clean Power Plan and Its Potential Impact on U.S. Energy Policy, Markets, and the Environment
  • March 2016: Moderator, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, China’s Environmental Future
  • August 2015: Presenter, Joyce Foundation Training for NPR Environment and Energy Correspondents, The Clean Power Plan: What You Need to Know
  • June 2015: Presenter, Ceres Webinar: Find Out the Latest on Shell’s Plans for Arctic Ocean Exploration Drilling
  • June 2015: Host and Discussant, Visit of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development Special Policy Study on Soil Pollution Management delegation to the University of Chicago Law School
  • April 2015: Presenter, Briefing at Dirksen U.S. Senate Office Building, Shell’s Frozen Future: Has Shell Fairly Disclosed the Risks of Drilling in the Arctic Ocean?
  • October 2013: Presenter, University of Wyoming College of Law, Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  • October 2012: Panelist, International Energy Week, Moscow, Russia, Lessons Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill about Development in Frontier Areas, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy
  • October 2012: Panelist, Dialogue with Russian Energy Experts, Moscow, Russia, U.S. Environmental Law, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy
  • February 2012: Presenter, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) Task Force on Policy Mechanisms for Meeting the “12th Five-Year Plan” Environment and Development Objectives, Opportunities to Promote Energy Efficiency

Memberships and Professional Affiliations

  • Environmental Law Institute: Board Member, 2022-present; Research and Publications Committee, Member, 2022-present; Strategic Planning Committee Member, 2023–present; Environmental Justice Working Group Member, 2023–present
  • Forest Preserves of Cook County, Conservation and Policy Council: Vice Chair, 2019-present; Council Member, 2015-present; Secretary, 2015-2018
  • Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation: Conservation Committee, Member, 2020-present; Finance and Investment Committee, Member, 2020-present; Board Member, 2020-present
  • Environmental Protection Network: Legal Advisory Committee Member, 2022–present
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Environmental Section: Council Member, 2020-present
  • Illinois Shotokan Karate Clubs: Shodan (first-degree black belt), 2022–present; Member, 2015–present
  • Zen Life and Meditation Center: Treasurer, 2022–present; Board Member, 2021–present; Member, 2020–present
  • Illinois Bar: Member, 2012-present (active)
  • California Bar: Member, 2001-present (inactive)
  • US Federal Courts: Member, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh, Ninth and D.C. Circuits; U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois, Central District of Illinois, Southern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, and Eastern District of Wisconsin