Uma Outka

Uma Outka
  • William R. Scott Law Professor


Professor Uma Outka works at the intersection of energy law and environmental law. Her scholarship explores the legal context for energy transition, with particular interests in energy and environmental justice, renewable energy, electricity regulation and decarbonization of the electric grid.

Outka joined the KU Law faculty in 2011 and served as associate dean for faculty from 2019-22. She is an affiliate faculty member of KU's Environmental Studies Program, Center for Environmental Policy, and Institute for Policy and Social Research. Her scholarship has appeared in book chapters and law journals, including Ecology Law Quarterly, Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Wake Forest University Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review. In recognition of her scholarly record, she was named the William R. Scott law professor in 2019. She is an American Bar Foundation Fellow and was elected to the American Law Institute in 2022.

At KU Law, Outka teaches courses in environmental law, property, energy law, environmental justice and climate change law and policy, and she has also had the opportunity to teach in other settings. She has served as a visiting professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (2022), as a distinguished scholar in residence at the University of Hawaii's Summer Environmental Law Program (2019) and as a visiting professor at the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur, India (2018). She has been recognized by the KU Law student body with the Moreau Faculty Award (2013) and by the law school with the Immel Award for Teaching Excellence (2019). In 2022-23, she served as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

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. 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 an attorney in the litigation group with the New England 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 Management from the Muskie School of Public Service.


J.D., University of Maine School of Law, 2005
summa cum laude
Masters of Public Policy and Management, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, 2005
B.A., University of Virginia, 1995


  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Energy and Environmental Justice
  • Property
  • Poverty Law
  • Climate Change Law
  • Land Use Law
  • Natural Resources Law


Maine, 2005 (inactive); Florida, 2008 (active).

Career History

Professor of Law, University of Kansas School of Law, 2017- present; Associate Dean for Faculty, University of Kansas School of Law, 2019-22; 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.


Environmental Law; Energy Law & Policy; Property; Environmental Justice; Climate Change and the Law.

Teaching Interests

  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Property
  • Environmental Justice
  • Climate Change Law

Selected Publications

  • Energy Communities: Comparative Perspectives from the EU and the United States (with Annalisa Savaresi) in De Gruyter Handbook of Energy Law in the Low-Carbon Transition (Guiseppe Bellantuono, et al eds.) (De Gruyter 2023
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy in Environmental Law in The Jurisprudential Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Ryan Vacca & Ann Bartow, Eds.) (NYU Press 2023)
  • Synthesizing Energy Transitions(with Nadia Ahmad, Danielle Stokes, and Hannah Wiseman), 39 Georgia State Univ. Law Review 1087 (2023)
  • Ethical Drivers in the Renewable Energy Transition in Research Handbook on Energy Law and Ethics (Malik R. Dahlan & Rosa Maria Lastra, Eds.) (Edward Elgar 2022)
  • Renewable Energy Siting in the Critical Decade, 69 Kansas Law Review 101 (2021)
  • Accelerating Energy Transition in India: A Comparative Perspective, 50 Environmental Law Reporter 10459 (2020) 
  • “100 Percent Renewable”: Corporate Pledges and State Energy Law, 2019 Utah Law Review 661 (2019)
  • Reversing Course on Environmental Justice under the Trump Administration (with Elizabeth Kronk Warner), 54 Wake Forest Law Review 393 (2019)
  • State Lands in Modern Public Land Law, 36 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 147 (2017) 
  • Fairness in the Low-Carbon Shift: Learning from Environmental Justice, 82 Brooklyn Law Review 789 (2017)
  • Cities and the Low-Carbon Grid, 46 Environmental Law 101 (2016)
  • The Obama Administration’s Clean Air Act Legacy and the UNFCCC, 48 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 1 (2016)
  • Prospects for Public Power and Distributed Renewable Energy, 45 Environmental Law Reporter 10537 (2015) 
  • Intrastate Preemption in the Shifting Energy Sector, 86 Colorado Law Review 927 (2015)
  • Environmental Law and Fossil Fuels: Barriers to Renewable Energy, 65 Vanderbilt Law Review 1679 (2012)
  • Environmental Justice in the Renewable Energy Transition, 19 Journal Of Environmental & Sustainability Law 60 (2012) (Inaugural Issue) 
  • The Energy-Land Use Nexus, 27 Journal Of Land Use & Environmental Law 245 (2012)
  • The Renewable Energy Footprint, 30 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 241 (2011)
  • Siting Renewable Energy: Land Use and Regulatory Context, 37 Ecology Law Quarterly 1041 (2010)

Selected Presentations

5th Annual Natural Resources Law Teachers Workshop, Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources & the Environment, University of Utah/Foundation for Natural Resources & Energy Law (July 2023)

  • Presenter, “Evolving Legal Conceptions of ‘Energy Communities’”

“Unequal Burden: Environmental Justice and the Climate Crisis” Symposium, Miami Law Review, University of Miami School of Law (Feb. 2023)

  • Panel Presenter, “Energy Law and a Just Transition for the Future”

“Taking Stock of Stockholm at 50 (1972-2022)” International e-Conference, Centre for Regulatory Studies, Governance & Public Policy, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (Kolkata, India) & Centre for Environmental Law, Advocacy & Research, National Law University & Judicial Academy (Assam, India) (remote) (Nov. 2022)

  • Inaugural Guest Speaker, “Shared Goals of Stockholm in the Critical Decade”

ClassCrits Annual Conference, Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Oct. 2022)

  • Presenter, “Advancing Energy Justice in Public Utility Commissions”

Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute, Monterey, California (May 2022)

  • Panel Presenter, “Social Justice and Energy Transition”

“Legal Issues Related to Renewable Energies” Seminar, Solar Energy, Law, Economics & Management Program (SOLEM), Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Chambéry, France (remote) (Dec. 2021)

  • Guest Lecture, “Understanding Energy Insecurity and Energy Poverty”

Lecture Series, “Environmental Justice: Engaging the Law,” Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law and Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (remote) (Nov. 2021)

  • Panel Presenter, “Energy Justice: Emerging Contours in Energy Law and Regulation”

Sustainability Conference of Legal Educators, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (remote due to pandemic) (May 2021)

  • Panel Presenter, “Energy Law and the Low-Income Household”

Energy Transition & Climate Governance Lecture Series, University of Houston Law Center (remote) (Apr. 2021)

  • Lecture, “Energy Law, COVID, and Energy Burden”

“Energy Justice: Prioritizing Equity in the Greener Grid” Conference, Center for Energy & Environmental Law, University of Connecticut School of Law (remote due to pandemic) (Apr. 2021) 

  • Keynote Lecture, “Giving Meaning to Energy Justice”

Energy Law Institute/Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, UK (Mar. 2021) (remote)

  • Guest Lecture, “Law and Renewable Energy in the Critical Decade”

Public Utility Symposium, Financial Research Institute, University of Missouri (Nov. 2020) (remote due to pandemic)

  • Panel Presenter, “Legal Forces Driving Public Utility Regulatory Policy Redesign and Innovation”

“Accelerating Clean Energy: The Next Decade of Reform”- Kansas Law Review Symposium, University of Kansas School of Law (Oct. 2020) (remote due to pandemic)

  • Presenter, “Renewable Energy Siting in the Critical Decade”

Association of American Law Schools Conference, Washington, DC (Jan. 2020)

  • Panel Presenter, Environmental Law Section Plenary Session, “Reversing Course on Environmental Justice Under the Trump Administration” 

10th Annual Energy Law Symposium, Texas A&M University School of Law (Feb. 2019)

  • Presenter, “Between Markets and Regulation – Electricity Governance in Transition” 

Faculty Speaker Series, University of Minnesota Law School (Jan. 2019)

  • Presenter, “100 Percent Renewable: Corporate Pledges and State Energy Law” 

Association of American Law Schools Conference, New Orleans, LA (Jan. 2019)

  • Open Source Program Presenter, “Contributions of Energy Justice to Energy Reform Discourse” 

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

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

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

  • Presenter, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section Program, “Corporate Demand for Clean Power in the Energy Transition” 
  • Panel Presenter, Environmental Law Section, “Collaboration Across Disciplines in Empirical Environmental Research” 

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

  • Plenary Lecture, “Shifting Energy Landscapes” 


American Bar Association; Florida Bar Association; Kansas Bar Association; American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Sections on Scholarship, Energy and Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law; Society of American Law Teachers; Center for Progressive Reform