Gabriel Eckstein

Professor of Law

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“Water is life. There are no two ways about it. It’s absolutely necessary for every aspect of society, including agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and, of course, ensuring our health and that of the environment.”

Get to Know Gabriel Eckstein

What drew you to the law?

I have always been fascinated by the structures and mechanisms that law and policy can create for societies, especially as they apply to people and the natural environment. At the same time, I was frustrated with many of the existing processes and legal outcomes, as they appeared devoid of scientific foundation or logic. Having a science background, I saw an opportunity to enter the law and become engaged in reshaping existing paradigms and building new ones that were more balanced and responsive to the needs of people and the environment, and also that incorporated scientific knowledge in decision-making.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

The most enjoyable part of teaching is the interactions and collaborations I have with my students. While they may not always know the law, they often have a sense of wrong and right that is tied to creativity of new ideas and approaches. And it’s that creativity that energizes me to teach as well as to learn from my students.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

The law is not static. It’s a dynamic tool that must be wielded and applied with great care and respect. However, it is also a mechanism that constantly must be reexamined, revised and occasionally discarded in response to changing needs and circumstances.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I first worked as a trial attorney, primarily on toxic tort and asbestos cases. Thereafter, I served as in-house counsel for a trade association representing the pesticide and crop science industry. Throughout, I consulted on global water and environmental issues to various international organizations.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

Spending time with my family, traveling and exploring new places, and Middle East politics, especially those involving Israel (where I was born).

What are your research interests?

My research interests broadly address water and environmental issues. Most recently, I have been exploring pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water supplies, climate change implications for global water resources and international law for transboundary ground water resources.

Publications

My publications are available on BePress SelectedWorks™.

Presentations

  • “Bulk Water Transfers: Panacea or Temporary Patch?” International Water Resources Association XVth World Water Congress, Edinburgh, Scotland (forthcoming May 25-29, 2015) (with Renee Martin-Nagle, Environmental Law Institute)
  • “Identifying and Characterizing Transboundary Aquifers Along the Mexico-US Border: An Initial Assessment,” International Water Resources Association XVth World Water Congress, Edinburgh, Scotland (forthcoming May 25-29, 2015) (with Dr. Rosario Sanchez, Texas A&M University Program on Water Management and Hydrological Sciences)
  • “Implications for Nations of the Commodification of Water,” First Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (forthcoming May 8, 2015)
  • “Texas Border Water Disputes,” 16th Annual Changing Face of Water Rights Course, Texas State Bar Association, San Antonio, Texas (Feb. 26, 2015)
  • “The Global Legal Framework for Transboundary Water Governance,” The World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 20, 2015)
  • “Drugs on Tap: Managing Pharmaceuticals in Our Nation’s Waters,” Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Jan. 22, 2015)
  • Co-presentation with Dr. Francesco Sindico on “Developments in International Law Applicable to Transboundary Groundwater Resources: The Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers,” webinar on “Moving With the Momentum: Reviewing Lessons for Groundwater from 2014 and Looking Ahead to 2015” (Jan. 15, 2015)
  • “Water as an Economic Good: Implications for Nations’ Freshwater Resources,” Department of Geography and Environment at Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan (Dec. 16, 2014)
  • “Lost in Translation: The Interaction of Science, Policy, and Law,” Achieving Success in Science through Undergraduate Research and Engagement Program, University of Texas Arlington, Arlington, Texas (Nov. 21, 2014)
  • Workshop and lectures on “International Water Law, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution,” Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD-INWRMP), Kampala, Uganda (June 25-27, 2014)
  • Participation in roundtable panel “Legal Aspects of Water: Transboundary Waters and Cooperation,” 3rd Istanbul Water Forum, Istanbul, Turkey (May 27-29, 2014)
  • Participation in roundtable panel “Legal Aspects of Water: Right to Water and Sanitation,” 3rd Istanbul Water Forum, Istanbul, Turkey (May 27-29, 2014)
  • Presentation on “Water as an Economic Good: Implications for Freshwater Resources” on the panel “Water – A Complex of Challenges for International Law and Policy,” 2014 Joint Meeting of the American Society of International Law and International Law Association, Washington, D.C. (April 9-12, 2014)

Expertise

  • Water law
  • Water and energy law
  • International and transboundary water law
  • International environmental law
  • Law and science
  • Property law and land use

Courses

  • Property Law
  • Water Law
  • International Water Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Public International Law
  • Law & Science

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2013-present)
  • Professor of Law
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (2010-2013)
  • Professor of Law and McCleskey Chair in Water Law
    Texas Tech University School of Law (2006-2010)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas Tech University School of Law (2003-2006)
  • Visiting Professor of Law
    Lewis & Clark Law School (Spring 2009)
  • Visiting Professor of Law
    University of Oregon School of Law (Fall 2008)
  • Visiting Professor of Law
    Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center (Summer 2006)
  • Visiting Professor of Law
    Florida International University College of Law (Summer 2006)

Education

  • LL.M. in International Environmental Law, American University Washington College of Law
  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law
    • American University International Law Review
    • American University Human Rights Brief
  • M.S. in International Affairs, Florida State University
  • Dual B.A. in Geology and International Relations, Kent State University

Awards / Honors

  • Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees Faculty Scholarship Award (2012)
  • Awarded “Best Paper” for 2011 in Water International by International Water Resources Association for the paper “Managing Buried Treasure Across Frontiers: The International Law of Transboundary Aquifers,” Water International, Vol. 36(5), pp. 573-583 (2011)
  • Texas Wesleyan University School of Law Frederic White Faculty Scholarship Award (2011)
  • Inducted into the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy (2008)
  • Texas Tech University President’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2008)
  • Texas Tech University Alumni Association New Faculty Award (2004)
  • Research Scholar with Scholarship, The Hague Academy for International Law Centre for Research and Study, The Netherlands (2001)

Other Professional Activities

  • Member, Executive Council, International Association for Water Law (2011-present)
  • Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Brill Research Perspectives: International Water Law (2014-present)
  • Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed Journal of Water Law (2014-present)
  • Treasurer, International Water Resources Association (2010-present)
  • Licensed to practice law in New York, District of Columbia (inactive) and West Virginia (inactive)