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Susan Smith

Professor of Law; Director of the Certificate Program in Sustainability

Headshot of Susan Smith

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Collins Legal Center 428
245 Winter Street SE
Salem  Oregon  97301


Professor Smith brings a wealth of practical experience to teaching because she spent more than 20 years litigating environmental and natural resources issues. She first served as an associate with Holland and Hart as an environmental and natural resources litigator. She then became a senior trial attorney and later Assistant Chief of the Environmental Defense Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, where she received several awards for distinguished service. Finally, since joining the Willamette faculty in 1989, Professor Smith has served as pro bono counsel for various environmental and community groups. Currently, she directs the school's Certificate Program in Sustainability.

Professor Smith has taught Environmental Law and Policy, Sustainable Natural Resources Law, Energy and Climate Law, CERCLA, RCRA, Toxic Substances Regulation, Water Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Criminal Enforcement, Constitutional Law, State and Local Government, Administrative Law, Payment Systems and various dispute resolution courses. Professor Smith focuses her scholarly research on water quality, water allocation, and water resources management as well as the overall role of law in achieving sustainability, including the role of environmental criminal enforcement. Her book, Crimes against the Environment (co-authored with Susan Mandiberg), was and remains the authoritative treatise in the field (1997 with supplements). 

Professor Smith is currently a member of the international Water Ethics working group, Sustainable Water Future program and serves on the International Reference Group of the World Council of Churches with respect to its water justice initiative, Ecumenical Water Network.

Professor Smith’s deep interest and expertise in domestic implementation of sustainable development through law led to her appointment to the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (2000), her appointment as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney (1997), her appointment as a Fulbright Scholar visiting almost a dozen Australian law schools (1992), and her participation in international environmental law conferences sponsored by the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, the Netherlands, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the United States Council on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy (1997-date). Closer to home, Professor Smith served as Chair and Commissioner of the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission (1993-1999) and has been active in numerous other professional and community groups.


  • JD, Harvard University
  • MPP, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • BA, Reed College
Willamette University

Faculty Support

Willamette University
College of Law
245 Winter Street SE
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
(503) 370-6405