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 at the University of Chicago Law School, and a Research Affiliate of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago.

Previously, 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, and overseeing a staff of approximately 1750 FTEs and a $310 million annual budget.

From 2005 to 2009, 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, 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.

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

Templeton serves as a board member of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, a member and officer of the Conservation and Policy Council of the Cook County Forest Preserves, and a member of Illinois State Bar Association Environmental Section Council.


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

  • "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
  • "Cross-Clinic & Community Collaborations to Enhance Student Learning & Advance Social Justice," American Association of Law Schools, Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, April 2018
  • "Comparative Multilevel Approaches to Liability for Soil Contamination," Shandong University, July 2017
  • "Effective Legal Frameworks for Emissions Trading," University of Chicago Delhi Center, July 2017
  • "How Independent Experts and Environmental Organizations Work to Address Regulatory Failures: A Case Study," Peking University, June 2016
  • "Law, Science and Politics "(with Tom Ginsburg), University of Chicago Beijing Center and Tsinghua University, June 2016
  • Lead in the Water: How Independent Experts and Environmental Organizations Worked to Address Regulatory Failures in Flint, Michigan
  • "Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill," University of Wyoming College of Law, October 2013
  • "The Role of Law in Disaster Planning, Management and Response," the Future of Offshore Drilling conference at University of California-Irvine, November 2012
  • "Lessons Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill," Seventh International Energy Week Moscow Energy Dialogue, October 2012

Memberships and Professional Affiliations

  • 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
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Environmental Section: Council 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