2009 Commencement Speaker: Joel Reynolds

NRDC Leader Is Keynote Speaker for Bren 2009 Commencement

Joel Reynolds,

Senior Attorney,

Natural Resources Defense Council


Commencement Schedule

Joel Reynolds joined the Natural Resources Defense Council as a Senior Attorney in 1990, after ten years with the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, both in Los Angeles. He graduated in 1975 from the University of California at Riverside with degrees in Music and Political Science and in 1978 from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and winner of the Convers Prize. After law school, he clerked for United States District Judge John Bartels in New York and, since 1980, has specialized in complex law reform litigation, arguing cases on behalf of environmental and community organizations at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

He currently heads NRDC’s Southern California Program, where he has focused on litigation and major domestic and international campaigns across a broad range of environmental issues, including children’s health, environmental justice, endangered species and coastal protection, transportation, parkland conservation, and marine mammal protection. Since 1994, he has successfully prosecuted a number of lawsuits challenging the U.S. Navy’s use of underwater explosives and high-intensity military sonar in training exercises ―an issue that landed in the U.S. Supreme Court last fall.

Since 2001, Mr. Reynolds has been involved in a series of major land acquisitions for the purpose of creating parkland and protecting open space. Most recently, in 2008, he successfully concluded a two-year negotiation that resulted in one of the largest conservation deals in California history―an agreement for the permanent protection of approximately 90 percent of the historic 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, located at the southern end of California’s Central Valley.

Mr. Reynolds has twice been recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as California Lawyer of the Year in the environmental category, first in 2003 and again in 2008. He is a founding member of the newly created Tejon Ranch Conservancy, has been appointed to numerous state and federal commissions, and frequently contributes to the opinion pages of such major newspapers as the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor. From 1986 to 1990, he served as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law Center.