Uma Outka

Professor of Law
Primary office:
785-864-9241
402 Green Hall


Summary

Professor Uma Outka works at the intersection between energy law and environmental law, with a focus on renewable energy and the transition to a low-carbon electricity sector. She has served on the University of Kansas School of Law faculty since 2011, and is an Affiliate Faculty member of the Environmental Studies Program, the Center for Environmental Policy, and the Institute for Social and Policy Research. Her scholarship has appeared in law journals including Vanderbilt Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, Colorado Law Review and the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and her chapter on Legal Regimes for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry is featured in the comparative law reference volume Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law (Edward Elgar Publ. 2015). Outka teaches courses in energy law, property, environmental law and climate change law and policy. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Moreau Faculty Award, an honor bestowed on a faculty member by the entire student body. In 2015, she received the campus-wide Sustainability Leadership Faculty Award.

Before coming to KU Law, Outka spent two years as a Visiting Scholar in Energy and Land Use Law at the Florida State University College of Law. As a faculty research partner with FSU’s Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability (IESES), Outka directed a Sustainable Energy Research Project aimed at understanding and advancing legal frameworks to support sustainable energy development. She taught Sustainable Development Law and organized a national symposium on energy and land use issues at FSU.

Outka previously served as General Counsel for 1000 Friends of Florida, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on growth management, environmental conservation and affordable housing, and worked as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large northeast law firm, Verrill Dana, LLP in Portland, Maine. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, and holds a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from the Muskie School of Public Service.

Courses Taught:
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Property

Education

J.D., summa cum laude, University of Maine School of Law, 2005; M.A., Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, 2005; B.A., University of Virginia, 1995.

Teaching

Property, Environmental Law, Energy Law & Policy, Climate Change & the Law

Admitted

Maine, 2005; Florida, 2008

Career History

Professor of Law, University of Kansas School of Law, 2017- present; Associate Professor, University of Kansas School of Law, 2011-17; Visiting Scholar in Energy and Land Use Law, Florida State University College of Law, 2009-11; General Counsel, 1000 Friends of Florida, 2007-09; Associate, Verrill Dana LLP, 2005-07.

Research

Energy Law; Environmental Law; Property; Environmental Justice; Climate Change Law; Land Use Law; Natural Resources Law

Memberships

State of Florida; State of Maine; Federal District Court of Maine; The Florida Bar; Kansas Bar Association; American Bar Association; Society of American Law Teachers; American Association of Law Schools

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations

Stegner Young Scholar Lecture, Wallace Stegner Center, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (scheduled Nov. 2018)

  • Plenary Lecture, “State Energy Law for a Modern Low-Carbon Grid”

Self Graduate Fellows Lecture, University of Kansas (Apr. 2018)

  • Plenary Lecture, “Recent Developments and Ongoing Litigation in Energy Law”

Just Transitions Workshop, University of South Carolina School of Law (Mar. 2018)

  • Presenter, “Coal Ash at the Intersection of Energy and Environmental Law” and Discussant

Association of American Law Schools, Natural Resources/ Energy Law Section, San Diego, CA (Jan. 2018)

  • Presenter, “Corporate Demand for Clean Power in the Energy Transition”

Association of American Law Schools, Environmental Law Section, San Diego, CA (Jan. 2018)

  • Panel Presenter, “Collaboration Across Disciplines in Empirical Environmental Research”

Hall Center for the Humanities Nature & Culture Seminar – University of Kansas (Oct. 2017)

  • Presenter, “Fairness in the Low-Carbon Shift: Learning from Environmental Justice”

Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law - Vermont Law School (April 2017)

  • Plenary Lecture, “Shifting Energy Landscapes”

Environmental Law Workshop – University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Feb. 2017)

  • Presenter (remote), “Intrastate Preemption in the Shifting Energy Sector – Recent Developments”

“Environmental Law in the Administrative State” Conference – Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University School of Law (Sept. 2016)

  • Panel Presenter, “Energy Institutions and Analysis”

“Finding Justice in the Low-Carbon Transition” Symposium – University of Kansas (Apr. 2016)

  • Co-organizer and introductory speaker for national symposium featuring academic, advocacy, and regional perspectives on opportunities for advancing social justice in the low-carbon shift

Faculty Workshop Series – University of New Mexico School of Law (Apr. 2016)

  • Presenter, “Cities and the Low-Carbon Grid”

Environmental Law Workshop – University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Mar. 2016)

  • Presenter, “Cities and the Low-Carbon Grid”

“The Post-Carbon World: Advances in Legal and Social Theory” Symposium – Brooklyn Law School (Feb. 2016)

  • Presenter, “Fairness in the Low-Carbon Energy Transition”
  • Translated and re-broadcast at the St. Petersburg Int’l Law Forum - St. Petersburg, Russia (May 2016)

“The Past and Future of Civil Rights Movements: Race and Reform in 21st Century America“ Conference – Duke Law School (Nov. 2015)

  • Panel Presenter, “The Future of Environmental and Energy Justice”

“The Road to Paris: Multidimensional Action to Address Climate Change” Works-in-Progress Workshop – American Society of International Law/University of Minnesota Law School (Oct. 2015)

  • Presenter, “Cities and the Low-Carbon Grid”

The International Legacy of the Obama Administration” Conference - Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Sept. 2015)

  • Panel Presenter, “Obama’s Dual-Track Approach to Climate Change: Regulatory Incrementalism and International Engagement

Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship – Columbia Law School (May 2015)

  • Competitive selection, junior/senior peer-review for works in progress

“Fracking and the Law” Conference – University of Connecticut School of Law (Apr. 2015)

  • Panel Presenter, “State-Local Dynamics in Fracking Governance”

Faculty Workshop Series – University of Missouri School of Law (Feb. 2015)

  • Presenter, “Public Electric Power in the New Energy Transition”

Environmental Law Colloquium Series – University of Florida Levin College of Law (Feb. 2015)

  • Presenter, “The Energy-Land Use Nexus”

Association of American Law Schools Annual Conference, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section Plenary Program, Washington, DC (Jan. 2015)

  • Panel Presenter, “Prospects for Public Power and Distributed Generation”

Association of American Law Schools Annual Conference, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section Plenary Program, Washington, DC (Jan. 2015)

  • Panel Organizer and Presenter – “Evolving Geographies in Energy Transition”
  • Panel Moderator – “Risky Land Use, Climate Change, and Disaster Justice”

Concurring Opinions “Economic Dynamics of Law” Symposium (online) (Mar.-Apr. 2014)

  • Invited Contributor, online symposium for David Driesen’s The Economic Dynamics of Law

“Bringing the Rockies to the Bayou” Lecture – Louisiana State University Law Center (Mar. 2014)

  • Plenary Lecture, “Intrastate Preemption in the Shifting Energy Sector”

“Energy-Water Nexus” Symposium – University of Richmond School of Law (Oct. 2013)

  • Panel Presenter, “Regulating the Energy-Water Nexus: Coal Ash After the TVA Kingston Disaster”

Second Annual Sustainability Research Symposium – University of Kansas (Oct. 2013)

  • Presenter, “Regulating the Energy-Water Nexus: Coal Ash After the TVA Kingston Disaster”

Faculty Workshop Series – University of Oregon School of Law (Sept. 2013)

  • Presenter, “Intrastate Preemption in the Shifting Energy Sector”

“Legal and Policy Pathways for Energy Innovation” Conference – University of Minnesota Law School (Apr. 2013)

  • Presenter, “The Shift Away from Coal: Energy Governance Diversity and Innovation”

“Legal Aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing” Symposium – University of Idaho College of Law (Mar. 2013)

  • Panel Presenter, “Energy Land Use for Hydraulic Fracturing”

Roundtable, “Environmental Markets” - George Mason Law and Economics Center (Oct. 2012)

  • Respondent for manuscript-in-draft, “Environmental Markets”

Faculty Workshop Series - University of Notre Dame School of Law (Sept. 2012)

  • Presenter, “Environmental Law and Fossil Fuels: Barriers to Renewable Energy”

Junior Environmental Scholars Workshop - University of Washington School of Law (July 2012)

  • By-invitation senior/junior scholar peer review workshop for works in progress

“Practically Grounded: Engaged Scholarship” Symposium – Pace Law School (May 2012)

  • Planning committee member and participant; by-invitation academic symposium for environmental and natural resource scholars

Faculty Workshop Series - Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Apr. 2012)

  • Presenter, “Environmental Law and Fossil Fuels: Barriers to Renewable Energy”

“Environmental Justice Issues in Sustainable Development” Symposium - University of Missouri School of Law (Mar. 2012)

  • Panel Presenter, “Renewable Energy Goals and Local Impacts”

“Supply & Demand: Barriers to a New Energy Future” Symposium - Vanderbilt Law School (Feb. 2012)

  • Panel Presenter, “Environmental Law and Fossil Fuels: Barriers to Renewable Energy”

Guest Lecture Series, Land Use Planning Course - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Oct. 2011)

  • Guest lecture to PhD, Masters, and Masters-JD students, “Energy Sprawl”

“Law and Sustainability Symposium: The Energy Land Use Nexus” – Florida State University College of Law & Institute for Energy, Economics, and Sustainability (Feb. 2011)

  • Primary symposium organizer and panel moderator

Interdisciplinary Seminar Series - Florida Climate Institute (Nov. 2010)

  • Presenter, “The Renewable Energy Footprint”

First Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship - Vermont Law School (Oct. 2010)

  • Panel Presenter, “The Renewable Energy Footprint”

Faculty Workshop Series - Florida State University College of Law (June 2010)

  • Presenter, “The Renewable Energy Footprint”

“U.S. Energy Policy in Transition” Conference - University of Florida (Mar. 2010)

  • Presenter, “Facility Siting for Renewable Energy: Land Use and Regulatory Context”

Faculty Research Series - Sustainable Energy and Governance Center, Florida State University (Sept. 2009)

  • Presenter, “Siting Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Florida: Regulatory Barriers and Considerations”

Environmental Law Forum - Florida State University College of Law (Apr. 2009)

  • Panel Presenter, “Growth Management in a Shrinking Economy”

Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference - University of Florida College of Law (Feb. 2009)

  • Panel Presenter, “Land Use 101: The Land Use Approval Process”