What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The privilege of teaching property law allows me to generate student discussions on the meaning of ownership, which really are discussions about the type of world we want to live in and the human relationships we want the law to foster. Students bring a variety of perspectives and life experiences to these discussions, providing an environment in which we all learn a great deal about ourselves and each other.
What do you hope students gain from your courses?
In addition to understanding the substance of property laws, I hope my students will contemplate the values — productivity, security, stability, dignity, social relationships, ecosystem functionality, etc.—that underlie those laws. This exercise will prompt continuing open conversations about the reasons for preferring one set of rules or standards over the alternatives and, in turn, improve students’ critical thinking and advocacy skills.
What did you do prior to entering academia?
I worked at an environmental law research institute associated with NOAA’s Sea Grant program at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Before that, I served as a Deputy Attorney General in the environmental and land use practice group of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
What are you passionate about outside of the law?
My wife and I enjoy spending time with our young boys, be it reading, painting or shooting hoops at home in Texas or traveling to California, Wisconsin, New Jersey and beyond to visit friends and family. When conditions align on our travels, I hop in the water for some surfing.
What are your research interests?
My scholarship explores the many conflicts at the intersection of property, land use and environmental law. My recent projects concentrate on (1) the Constitutional prohibition against the government’s taking private property “for public use, without just compensation,” and (2) the increasingly bullish “sharing economy.”