Richard Frank


Position Title
Professor of Environmental Practice and Director, California Environmental Law and Policy Center

1116 King Hall

Richard M. Frank is a Professor of Environmental Practice and Director of the  California Environmental Law & Policy Center (CELPC). Formerly the executive director of the Center for Law, Energy, & the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley School of Law, Frank returned to UC Davis School of Law in January 2010.  In addition to leading the CELPC, he teaches classroom courses in the environmental law curriculum. 

Before coming to CLEE and UC Berkeley, Professor Frank practiced law with federal and state agencies for 32 years, most of that time with the California Department of Justice. Immediately before joining Berkeley Law, he served as California's Chief Deputy Attorney General for Legal Affairs.

In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Frank to the Delta Vision Task Force, an advisory body asked to develop policy recommendations for the Governor and Legislature, addressing environmental problems confronting the California Delta. He served in that capacity in 2007-08. In May 2009, the Chair of the California Air Resources Board appointed Frank Vice Chair of the Economic Allocation & Advisory Committee, an advisory body formed to assist the Air Resources Board in implementing California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).  In 2011-12, California's Secretary for Natural Resources appointed Professor Frank to serve on a Blue Ribbon Citizens Commission created by legislation for the purpose of developing a new "strategic vision" for California's Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Fish & Game Commission. In 2013, the Senate Rules Committee appointed him to California's High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors.

Education and Degree(s)
  • B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1971
  • J.D. University of California, Davis, School of Law, 1974
Honors and Awards
  • Board of Directors, California High Speed Rail Authority
  • Lecturer in Residence, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2006-2010
  • Executive Director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, U.C. Berkeley, 2006-2010
  • Professor, Lincoln Law School, Sacramento, California, 1982-2006
  • California Department of Justice, Sacramento, CA 1977-2006
  • Adjunct Professor, UC Davis Div. of Env. Studies & UC Davis School of Law
  • Staff Counsel, California Energy Commission, Sacramento, CA (1976-77)
  • Staff Attorney, Federal Energy Administration (precursor to U.S. Department of Energy), Washington, D.C. (1974-76)
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Constitutional Law
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use Planning (See Also Constitutional Law)
  • Natural Resources
  • Water Law
  • Civil Procedure


Current Policy and Legal Issues Affecting Recreational Use of Public Lands in the American West, (Resources for the Future, July 2009) (with J. Stevens)

A New Dawn for the Sacramento-San-Joaquin Delta? Assessing the 2009 California Delta/Water Legislation, 37 Ecology Law Currents 17 (2010)

E. Biber, H. Doremus, D. Farber, R. Frank & J. Sax, “Restoring the Public Trust in the Public Lands: An Agenda for the New Administration”, Ecology Law Currents (January 2009)

The Takings Issue: Constitutional Limits on Land Use Control and Environmental Regulation [with Meltz and Merriam], (Island Press 1998)

California & the Future of Environmental Law & Policy, Ecology Law Currents (Summer 2008)

The Dog That Didn’t Bark, Imperial Water, I Love L.A., and Other Tales From the California Takings Litigation Front, 34 Ecology L.Q. 517 (2007)

Inverse Condemnation Litigation in the 1990s--the Uncertain Legacy of the Supreme Court's Lucas and Yee Decisions, 43 Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 85 (1993)

Public Trust Doctrine, California Environmental Law (Matthew Bender 1989)

The Scorpions' Dance: Judicially Mandated Attorney's Fees-The Legislative Response and Separation-of-Powers Implications, 1 Emerging Issues in State Constitutional Law 76 (1988)

Forever Free: Navigability, Inland Waterways, and the Expanding Public Interest, 16 U.C. Davis Law Review 579 (1983)