Fellows 2019-2020

Diane Saxe 

Dr. Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers, with 40+ years’ unparalleled experience writing, interpreting, and litigating Ontario’s energy and environmental laws. An experienced team leader with substantial board experience; a skilled communicator with broad strategic vision. Hard-won expertise in government relations, corporate governance and public consultation. A can-do person always striving to make a difference. Now heading Saxe Facts, a business providing strategic advice and presentations on climate, energy and environment.

2015 to 2019, Dr. Dianne Saxe was the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. She was appointed unanimously by all MPPs to report to the Legislature on Ontario’s environmental, energy and climate performance, and to be the guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights. During her term, she improved the effectiveness of the Environmental Bill of Rights, increased public understanding of the urgency of climate change, and delivered 17 reports on environment, energy and climate.

25 years running her own small business, a highly regarded environmental law boutique. A Certified Environmental Law Specialist, Commissioner Saxe was recognized by all major legal rating services, including acknowledgement as one of the world’s top 25 environmental lawyers by Best of the Best, 2008 and as Best Lawyers’ first Environmental Lawyer of the Year for Toronto.

Ph.D. in Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1991. Ontario Bar, 1976. LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, 1974. Mediator.

David Estrin

David Estrin is a senior environmental law specialist with over four decades of experience in practicing, writing and teaching in this area. Most recently he has been a senior partner at Gowling WLG. A trailblazer of Canadian environmental law, in 1971 he helped found the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canada’s first public interest environmental law advocacy organization, and was first general counsel for its environmental law clinic. In 1976 he opened Canada’s first private law practice restricted to environmental law; and in 1990 founded the environmental law practice group at Gowlings.

He has appeared as counsel at all levels of court in Ontario, Alberta and at the Federal level, and has many precedent setting cases to his credit involving a range of issues such as environmental protection and environmental assessment, municipal and land use planning, as well as constitutional issues and Indigenous law. His clients have included municipalities, Indigenous peoples, public interest, environmental and community groups, governments, crown and private corporations, as well as law firms in Canada and the U.S.

Throughout his highly influential career David has authored or co-edited numerous authoritative texts, including the first Canadian environmental law book, Environment on Trial: A Handbook of Ontario Environmental LawBusiness Guide to Environmental Law (Thomson Reuters) a two-volume text that provides continuously updated insights into Canadian (and comparative U.S.) environmental law developments affecting the business community; and Handle with Caution: Liability in the Production and Disposal of Dangerous Substances (Carswell, 1986).

He has advised on the drafting of key environmental legislation, is the founding editor of the Canadian Environmental Law Reports and has taught environmental law at various law and environmental studies faculties including the University of Waterloo, University of Ottawa, and Osgoode Hall Law School. His contributions to Canadian environmental law were acknowledged in 2006 by the Canadian Bar Association, which established the David Estrin Prize, awarded annually for the best Canadian law student scholarly essay in environmental, energy, or resources law. In 2016 he received the Law Society Medal to recognize his outstanding achievements and community contributions.

David has been active in international environmental law issues and has held several senior positions with the International Bar Association. He co-chaired the IBA President’s Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights that produced the 2014 ground-breaking book, Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption; chaired the IBA Environment Committee, and has been co-chair of the IBA expert working group that has drafted a model climate change remedies statute due for release in 2019. He is also a council member of the IBA Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law. In 2014-2016 David was a senior scholar with the International Law Research Program at the Centre of International Governance Innovation, where he focused on new approaches to climate change loss and damage, and on climate litigation where he identified factors and organized expert panel discussions and workshops on why there will be growing citizen use of domestic courts to require their governments to limit carbon emissions: Limiting Dangerous Climate Change: The Critical Role Of Citizen Suits And Domestic Courts —Despite The Paris Agreement (CIGI Papers No. 101, May, 2016)

Priya Gupta 

Priya Gupta brings to the classroom an important international perspective gained from research and practice in the areas of property rights, and law and economic development, as well as gender and the law. Appointed to the Southwestern faculty in 2012, she teaches in the areas of property, international law, law and development, and race and the law, and has served as faculty director of the General LL.M. program and international outreach.

From 2009 to 2012, Professor Gupta served as an Assistant Professor of Law at Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) in India and Assistant Director of the law school's Centre for Women, Law and Social Change, which she helped establish. She was also involved with JGLS' clinical program which supports citizen participation in rural governance in Haryana. Prior to joining JGLS, Professor Gupta practiced law as a structured finance attorney at the international law firm Linklaters LLP in New York and also took an active role in the firm's pro bono program, including representing an asylum claimant in Immigration Court. Professor Gupta previously served as a consultant for Operation Asha (a Delhi-based tuberculosis control non-governmental organization) and worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Washington, D.C.

While a law student at NYU, Professor Gupta was a Dean's Scholar, a recipient of the Lawrence Lederman/Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy Fellowship in Corporate and Business Law and a staff editor of the Journal of Legislation & Public Policy. Her current research focuses on property, law and development from a critical perspective, and feminist legal theory. Her recent publications have appeared in U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & PolicyIndian Journal of Law & EconomicsMaryland Law Review and Osgoode Hall Law Journal. 

B.A., Economics, with distinction, 2001, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; MSc., International Political Economy, 2004, London School of Economics; J.D., 2007, New York University; Phi Beta Kappa; Member, New York State Bar

Kevin Berk (Graduate Fellow)

Kevin is currently pursuing an LLM (Research) at Osgoode Hall Law School. His research focuses on climate change litigation, specifically efforts and arguments to use strategic litigation to achieve the recognition of a right to a healthy environment in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The aim of Kevin's research is to examine the broad effects (e.g. impact on social movements) that choosing this strategy will have. Prior to studying at Osgoode, Kevin completed his JD at the University of Windsor's Faculty of Law. While at Windsor Law Kevin gained clinical experience by participating in the Transboundary Environmental Law Clinic, and working in the family law program at Community Legal Aid. Kevin has additionally served as a law and policy research fellow on the State of the Strait Conference's 2019 Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Ecosystem Health Indicators Project. As a Clinic Fellow, Kevin's focus will be on assisting the students working on our Common Clinic Project on Climate Justice and the Law.