Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Environmental Law

The Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for the 2017 Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Environmental Law. The Environmental Law Section established this award to recognize environmental lawyers who have contributed to the field of environmental law over a sustained period, achieved excellence in the practice of environmental law, and provided legal services with high ethics and collegiality.

Deadline for Nominations: April 14, 2017


To be eligible, a nominee must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least five years of experience as a California environmental lawyer

Selection Criteria

The following factors may be considered by the Executive Committee
in its selection of the recipient of the Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Environmental Law:

  • Contributed to the field of environmental law over a sustained period
  • Achieved excellence in the practice of environmental law
  • Demonstrated commitment to the practice of environmental law
  • Provided legal services with high ethics and collegiality
  • Exhibited a commitment to work on a range of environmental issues irrespective of the level of public attention and media focus on such issues
  • Implemented a new and/or creative approach to an environmental law issue
  • Provided quality professional services
  • Improved the lives of others

Nomination Process

Complete the 2017 Nomination Form and supporting materials. Any questions should be directed to Please submit the following:

  1. Nomination Form
  2. Nominator’s Statement of Nomination
  3. Nominee’s Resume or Biography (indicating the nominee’s principal areas of practice, the number of years of practice, professional achievements, and other features of the nominee’s career, such as community involvement and bar association activities)
  4. Any Letter(s) of Support.
    Note: Letter(s) of support are optional, but recommended. More than one person may sign onto a Letter of Support.

Nominations and supporting materials must be received no later than April 17, 2017 by mail, e-mail or fax at:

Lifetime Contribution Award
Environmental Law Section
180 Howard Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
Fax: 415: 538-2368

Please note that all nomination materials will become property of the Environmental Law Section and will not be returned.

Past Recipients

2016 - Johanna Wald

photo of Johanna WaldJohanna Wald, the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the protection of public lands. A founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s California office in 1973, Johanna’s landmark lawsuits and advocacy efforts led to fundamental changes in the management of public lands throughout the American West and resulted in the protection of millions of acres of wilderness. Johanna is not only an effective advocate for the environment; her willingness to share her time and wisdom with young attorneys and law students has made her a mentor and role model to attorneys throughout the country. In addition to her legal career in the non-profit sector, Johanna has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to local and national non-profits.

2015 - E. Clement (Clem) Shute, Jr,

Clement "Clem" Shute, Jr.In 2015, the Environmental Law Section presented its second annual Lifetime Achievement Award to E. Clement (Clem) Shute, Jr. Over the course of his career, Clem has contributed to the practice of environmental law in numerous ways, including important work on early environmental law issues while with the Environment Division of the California Attorney General’s Office, co-founding the law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, and, through his mentoring of younger attorneys, profoundly influencing new generations of environmental lawyers. From a substantive standpoint, Clem broke ground in fields such as coastal protection, the public trust doctrine, the California Environmental Quality Act, and regulatory takings.  He also assisted in drafting the law under which the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (where he is still a member of the Governing Board) operates today, and he has volunteered his time to many non-profit environmental organizations.

2014 - The Inaugural Award Presented to Joseph L. Sax

Joseph SaxeThe State Bar Environmental Law Section’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was given in 2014 to the late Professor Joseph L. Sax, a true pioneer in the development of environmental law.  Professor Sax was the principal voice behind the modern application of the public trust doctrine to the protection of natural resources, and a renowned expert on water, endangered species, and regulatory takings law. As a teacher, he was a mentor and inspiration to generations of California environmental lawyers.  Professor Sax had a tremendous influence on policy and law not only through his seminal law journal articles, but also as the author of works such as Mountains without Handrails and Playing Darts with a Rembrandt.