Jody Freeman: Renaissance (Wo)man

By: Jon Jekel

Author, editor, attorney, professor, Presidential advisor.

I want to be like Freeman when I grow up.

Freeman is a skier and a hiker from Vancouver. What got Freeman interested in Environmental Law? Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? Scuba diving around the world? Surprisingly, neither of these experiences inspired her career. Freeman pursued environmental law for the intellectual experience of coming to understand environmental policies. In an interview, Jeri Zeder asked Freeman how she has accomplished so much over the past twenty years. “Life is short,” she said. “If we don’t figure out how to make some transitions to a smarter, high-tech and more energy-efficient way of doing things…we could be facing some very bad consequences. So, I have a kind of impatience that’s helpful.”

Freeman has her LL.B. from the University of Toronto and her LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard. From 1995 to 2005, she taught at the University of California, Los Angeles. From there, she went to Harvard until 2009 when she accepted a post at the White House as a counselor on Energy and Climate Change. Freeman was involved with numerous policy initiatives, most notably the National Auto Agreement, which established the first ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks.

Freeman returned to Harvard in 2010, but she frequently visits other campuses to share her expertise. Throughout her career, Freeman has remained a prolific legal writer. Her major works include: Climate Change and US Interests, 109 Columbia L. Rev. 1531 (2009) (with Guzman), Timing and Form of Federal Regulation: The Case of Climate Change, 155 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1499 (2007) (with DeShazo), and Modular Environmental Regulation, 54 Duke L. Rev. 795 (2005) (with Farber). She is also the co-author of the leading casebook on environmental law and administrative law. In 2007, Freeman wrote an amicus brief on behalf of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, the global warming case decided by the Supreme Court.

This fall, Freeman spent a week with the students and faculty at USD Law, lecturing on advanced climate change policies. Students described Freeman as “high-energy,” and “intense.” Now she’s back at Harvard training the next generation of Planeteers.

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