Associate Professor of Law
JD, Vermont Law School
M.E.L.P, Vermont Law School
(Environmental Law & Policy)
(magna cum laude)
MS, Johns Hopkins University
(Environmental Sciences & Policy)
BS, The College of William & Mary
Climate Change Law
Civil Procedure I & II
Professor Kevin Leske joined the faculty of the Barry University School of Law in 2012. He previously held academic positions as a Visiting Scholar at Vermont Law School and as a Fellow at Harvard Law School. His principal expertise is in environmental law (including air and water pollution, climate change, and land use), administrative law, constitutional law, civil procedure, and appellate advocacy. His published works and presentations cover areas such as the Clean Air Act, climate change regulation and litigation, preemption, federalism, and U.S. Supreme Court practice.
Prior to entering academia, Professor Leske served as an Assistant Attorney General of Vermont, where he focused primarily on national air pollution and global warming cases. His work also included arguing Vermont Supreme Court appeals in land-use cases and environmental enforcement actions. In addition, he served as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., where he helped to prepare state attorneys for their upcoming oral arguments, edited Supreme Court briefs, and prepared an Amicus Brief in a pending case.
Before joining the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Professor Leske worked in Washington, D.C., for a small environmental law office, where he litigated Clean Water Act citizen suits for environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club. He also represented the Province of Ontario, Canada, in Clean Air Act cases in federal courts of appeals and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Professor Leske is admitted to practice law in the State of Vermont (inactive), as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits.
Professor Leske's publications can be found on the Social Science Research Network.
Law Review Articles, Publications, and Presentations
Between Seminole Rock and a Hard Place: A New Approach to Agency Deference, 46 Conn. L. Rev. _ (2013) (forthcoming in the Connecticut Law Review)
Frustrated with Preemption: Why Courts Should Rarely Displace State Law under the Doctrine of Frustration Preemption, 65 N.Y.U. Ann. Surv. Am. L. 585 (2010) (with Dan Schweitzer)
A Closer Look at Green Mountain Chrysler v. Crombie, 32 Vt. L. Rev. 439 (2008)
Preserving Federal Law: Northeastern Attorneys General Working to Protect the Environment, Vermont Environmental Report, Vermont Natural Resources Council (2004)
U.S. Supreme Court Roundup (Speaker and Panelist), Environmental Chiefs Meeting, National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Washington, D.C. (2009)
Climate Change Regulation (Speaker and Panelist), Environmental Chiefs Meeting, NAAG, Washington, D.C. (2009)
Laboratories of Innovation: States Driving the Climate Debate (Speaker and Panelist), National Association of Environmental Law Societies, Annual Conference, Burlington, VT (2008)
Air Pollution Litigation (Speaker), Environmental Chiefs Meeting, NAAG, Dallas, TX (2008)
State Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Automobiles - Impact of Vermont Court Ruling in Green Mountain (Speaker and Panelist), Boston Bar Association, Boston, MA (2007)
Climate Change and the Constitution: Global Warming Litigation Heats Up (Speaker and Panelist), Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. (2007)
Step by Step Look at UARG v. EPA: A New Layer of Greenhouse Gas Regulation, 4 Environmental & Earth Law Journal ___ (2014)
Splits in the Rock: The Conflicting Interpretations of the Seminole Rock Deference Doctrine by the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 66 Admin. L. Rev. ___ (2014)
Notable Cases and Oral Arguments
Wyeth v. Levine, 555 U.S. 555 (2009) (U.S. Supreme Court counsel of record and co-author of amicus curiae brief on behalf of Vermont and 46 states on whether state common law claims against drug manufacturers are preempted under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act)
Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461 (2004) (U.S. Supreme Court counsel of record and author of amicus curiae brief on behalf of Vermont and 12 states in support of EPA’s oversight authority under the Clean Air Act; brief was quoted by Justice Ginsburg in her 5-4 majority opinion)
Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007) (assisted with briefs and oral argument preparation in case that culminated in landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act)
American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 180 L. Ed. 2d 435 (2011) (helped develop legal theories and litigation strategy for landmark global warming nuisance case against coal-burning power plants)
Green Mountain Chrysler v. Crombie, 508 F.Supp.2d. 295 (D.Vt 2007) (successfully defended Vermont regulation in a 15-day bench trial resulting in the first ruling that the Energy Policy & Conservation Act did not preempt state greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles)
New York v. American Electric Power Co., No. 2-99-1182 (S.D. Ohio 2007) (litigated Clean Air Act enforcement case resulting in the single largest environmental settlement in U.S. history)
In re Vermont State Employees’ Association, Inc., 2005 VT 129 (argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether Labor Relations Board decision conflicted with U.S. Supreme Court law on an employee’s right to union representation)
In re Appeal of LiCausi, 2008 VT 59 (briefed and argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether environmental court exceeded its authority when reviewing air pollution permit)
In re Hamm Mine Act 250 Jurisdiction, 2009 VT 88 (briefed and argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether former open-pit mine remained subject to jurisdiction under state land-use statute)