Patrice Simms

Patrice Simms headshot

Professor Patrice Lumumba Simms is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. His areas of focus are Environmental Law, Clean Air and Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Administrative Law, and Energy Law. He also teaches first-year courses in Property and Legal Methods. Professor Simms, a 1998 graduate of Howard University School of Law and former Articles Editor for the Howard Law Journal, has taught environmental law courses since 2008, and joined the full time faculty at Howard Law in 2009. Among other things, he now serves as Faculty Advisor to the Howard Law Journal and to the Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society. His current writing projects address issues of Environmental Justice and matters relating to the life-cycle impacts of coal.

From February 2010 until August 2011, Professor Simms served in a political appointment with the Obama administration as a Deputy Assistance Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In that position, Professor Simms supervised the Division’s Law and Policy Section, Land Acquisition Section, and Environmental Defense Section, in addition to managing a number of special projects within the Division, including the Division’s Environmental Justice implementation efforts. Over the course of his career Professor Simms served for more than five years as a staff attorney in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel (Air and Radiation Law Office), for nearly two years as a legal counsel to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, and for four years as a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. While his professional career has focused largely on issues regarding the implementation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act, it has also included significant litigation and policy work on matters related to clean water, solid waste, natural resources, public health, climate change and Environmental Justice.

Throughout his career, Professor Simms has been involved in cutting-edge environmental litigation and policy development, from international arbitration under NAFTA (regarding MTBE in gasoline), to Clean Water Act litigation regarding Everglades protection and restoration, to implementation of new source review under the federal Clean Air Act. He has, throughout his career, published articles and policy papers on timely legal issues, such the risks of and regulatory options for engineered nanomaterials (with Jennifer Sass and Elliott Negin), health and safety concerns in the wake of hurricane Katrina (with Benfield et al.), Environmental Justice (with Dimple Chaudhary and Albert Huang), coal and climate change (with Lashof, et al.), and Clean Air Act permitting (with John Walke). Professor Simms is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and the District of Columbia Bar, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court Bar and D.C. Circuit. He has served on numerous environmental task forces, panels, and committees, including the steering committee for the D.C. Bar’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Section.

Among other things, he is currently a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and a member of the Board of Trustees for Earthjustice.