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College of Law

Florida State University



Erin Ryan

Erin Ryan

Elizabeth C. & Clyde W. Atkinson Professor

Florida State University College of Law
Advocacy Center, Room A227B
Phone: 850.645.0072
Fax: 850.644.7282



J.D., cum laude, Harvard University, 2001
M.A., Ethnomusicology, Wesleyan University, 1994
B.A., cum laude, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard-Radcliffe College, 1991

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Professor Ryan teaches in the areas of environmental and natural resources law, property and land use, water law, negotiation, and federalism. She has presented widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, the National Association of Attorneys General, the United States Forest Service, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. She has advised National Sea Grant multilevel governance studies involving Chesapeake Bay and consulted with multiple institutions on developing sustainability programs. She has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the London Financial Times, the Associated PressThomson-Reuters Beijing, the Huffington PostNational Public Radio, and NBC and CBS Television News. She is the author of many scholarly works, including Federalism and the Tug of War Within (Oxford University Press 2012).

Prior to law school, Ryan served as a U.S. Forest Service ranger on the Mono Lake District of the Inyo National Forest, east of Yosemite National Park. While a law student, she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a Hewlett Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. She clerked for Judge James R. Browning, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, before practicing environmental, land use, and local government law in San Francisco. She began her academic career at the College of William & Mary, and then joined the faculty at the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College. Ryan served as a Fulbright Scholar in China, where she taught American law, studied Chinese governance, and lectured throughout the country. She has also lectured at universities in Japan, Vietnam and India. She joined the Florida State University College of Law faculty in 2015.

Select Recent Publications

Secession and Federalism in the United States: Tools for Managing Regional Conflict in a Pluralist Society, 96 OREGON L. REV. __ 2017

Environmental Federalism’s Tug of War Within
, in The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism: A Comparative Analysis (Kalyani Robins, editor) (Edward Elgar 2015)

The Once and Future Challenges of American Federalism
, in The Ways of Federalism in Western Countries and the Horizons of Territorial Autonomy in Spain, Vol. 1 (Alberto López Basaguren and Leire Escajedo San-Epifanio, editors) (Springer 2013)

Federalism, Regulatory Architecture, and the Clean Water Rule: Seeking Consensus on the Waters of the United States, __ Envtl. L. __(forthcoming 2016)

Response to Heather Gerken’s “Federalism and Nationalism: Time for a
, 59 St. Louis U. L.J. 1147 (2015)

The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, and Mono Lake: The Historic Saga of
National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, 45 ENVTL. L. 561 (2015)

Negotiating Federalism and the Structural Constitution: Navigating the Separation of Powers both Vertically and Horizontally (A Response to Aziz Huq),
115 COLUM. L. REV. Sidebar 4 (2015)

The Spending Power and Environmental Law After
Sebelius, 85 U. COLO. L. REV. 1003 (2014)

The Elaborate Paper Tiger: Environmental Enforcement and the Rule of Law in China,
24 DUKE ENVTL L. & POL’Y FORUM 184 (2014)

When Socrates Meets Confucius: Teaching Creative and Critical Thinking Across Cultures Through Multilevel Socratic Method,
92 NEB. L. REV. 289 (2013) 

Environmental Law After
Sebelius: Will the Court’s New Spending Power Limits Affect Environmental State-Federal Partnerships?, AM. CONSTITUTION SOC’Y (October 1, 2013)