Tseming Yang

Professor of Law

For almost 3 decades, Professor Tseming Yang’s work as an environmental lawyer, professor, and policy advocate has focused both on advancing understanding of the structure and role of the law with respect to the environment as well as how to ensure that effective implementation will contribute to the achievement of justice and sustainability. In addition to his work on domestic environmental law and its intersection with civil rights and social justice considerations, his other areas of research and writing have focused on environmental law in international treaties and in the law and governance systems of other countries, especially China. He is co-author of Comparative and Global Environmental Law (Aspen Publishing 2020) and co-editor of a forthcoming Handbook on Comparative Environmental Law (Edward Elgar). 

At Santa Clara Law, Professor Yang teaches torts, property, the introductory environmental law survey course, and various environmental law specialty courses, including on international environmental law and on climate change. He works closely with the student Environmental Law Society and devotes a substantial amount of time providing career advice and helping law students obtain internships and jobs in the environmental field.

Immediately prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty in 2012, Professor Yang served in President Obama’s Administration as Deputy General Counsel of the US Environmental Protection Agency. From 2007 to 2010, he led the establishment of the US-China Partnership for Environmental Law, a US AID and State Department-funded initiative to build China’s institutional capacity in environmental law and governance. Professor Yang started his career in environmental law as an attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University, Professor Yang obtained his JD degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2009, he was honored by the American Bar Association as a Distinguished Environmental Advocate. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, an international organization of environmental law academics and law schools.

In his spare time, Professor Yang serves as the social secretary to his “male model” golden retriever Koda, enjoys competing in half-marathon races (more with himself than with other runners), and hiking in the national parks.  He is also an avid gardener and chicken whisperer (with a current flock of 8 hens).  The eggs, fruit and produce, which occasionally are pop quiz prizes, are legendary among his students. Professor Yang’s musings and commentary on contemporary developments related to the environment and the law can be found on his blog at citizenyang.com.


J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

B.A., Harvard University