Uma Outka


Uma Outka
  • William R. Scott Law Professor

Biography

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. She is an Affiliate Faculty member of KU's Environmental Studies Program, Center for Environmental Policy, and Institute for Social and Policy Research. Her scholarship has appeared in book chapters and law journals, including Vanderbilt Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, Wake Forest University Law Review, and the Stanford Environmental Law Journal. This work has earned her a number of distinctions - she was selected as the University of Utah's Stegner Center Young Scholar (2018), delivered the Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law at the Vermont Law School (2017), and her article, State Lands in Modern Public Land Law, was recognized as one of the five best works of environmental scholarship in 2017. In recognition of her scholarly record, she was named the William R. Scott Law Professor in 2019.

Outka teaches courses in environmental law, property, energy law, environmental justice, and climate change law and policy at KU Law, and she has also had the opportunity to teach in other settings. She has served as 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 was recognized as a teacher 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).

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 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.

Education

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

Research

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

Admitted

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.

Teaching

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

Teaching Interests

  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Property
  • Climate Law
  • Land Use
  • Environmental Justice
  • Sustainable Development
  • Natural Resources Law

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations

Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute (biannual), 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” 

Renewable Energy Capstone Colloquium, University of Florida Levin College of Law (Feb. 2019)

  • Presenter, “Situating ‘100 Percent Renewable’ Goals in the Low-Carbon Transition” 

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” 

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 /Land Use Planning and the Law - Vermont Law School (April 2017)

  • Plenary Lecture, “Shifting Energy Landscapes” 

Memberships

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