Council of Legal Advisors

Bren School Council of Legal Advisors

The Bren School Council of Legal Advisors was established in 2010 to support environmental legal education at the Bren School by forming partnerships with some of the nation's most prestigious environmental law firms. Council members provide advice to the dean and faculty on the legal training of Bren students, make themselves available for occasional student mentoring, and provide legal insights for Group Project teams. Council members or other senior partners from their firms also lead half- and full-day enhancement workshops in their areas of expertise. Bren students may pose questions to the council and receive feedback (see link below) concerning legal issues that may impact Group Projects or other aspects of study. (Read more about legal education at the Bren School.)

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Meetings & Workshops Schedule


Nicki Carlsen

Nicki Carlsen

Nicki Carlsen is the co-leader of the Alston + Bird’s Environmental & Land Development Group. Her practice focuses on land use, environmental compliance and litigation. She has more than twenty years of experience with federal, state, and local regulations affecting development projects, including land-use planning and subdivision laws, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, and various endangered species acts.

Through her representation of residential, commercial, and industrial developers, Ms. Carlsen navigates a course of action from project inception to completion. Her land-use experience extends to all project entitlements. She has successfully defended project approvals in the trial and appellate courts and prosecuted actions on behalf of property owners to obtain land-use entitlements.

Logo: Alston-Bird, LLP

Alston-Bird, LLP

Alston-Bird was founded in Georgia in 1893 and now comprises 800 attorneys and offices in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Ventura. Counseling clients from what was initially a local context to regional, then national, and now a global economic environment, Alston-Bird has overlaid its broad range of legal skills and business knowledge with a commitment to innovation and technology.

Legendary golfer Bobby Jones was a former partner of the firm, which continues to represent his name and monitor trademark issues for the family. Former partner Robert McCallum is now U.S. Ambassador to Australia, a position once held by Philip Alston, Jr. One of the most significant engagements in the firm's history began in 2002, when partner Neal Batson was appointed as Examiner for Enron Corp. by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in 2002. The addition of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to the firm's Legislative & Public Policy Group gives Alston-Bird clients access to one of the nation's most respected statesmen and public-policy experts.


Ernest J. GettoErnest J. Getto

Ernest J.Getto is a managing director of BurfordGroup LLC, an investment advisor to Burford Capital Limited, a publicly traded dispute financier that is one of the world's largest investors in commercial disputes.  In 2013, he was named general counsel for the U.S. Golf Association. In 2010 Mr. Getto retired as a partner and former global chairman of the Litigation Department of Latham & Watkins. During forty years of major litigation, Mr. Getto represented many clients in massive environmental cases. He also served as lead litigation counsel for The Directors Guild of America, and as lead counsel in numerous complex, multiparty cases. Mr. Getto also had substantial experience in consumer fraud class actions, products liability, entertainment, securities, and antitrust lawsuits. In addition to chairing the Litigation Department, he served as chairman of the Associates Committee, which manages all matters relating to associates at the firm. Mr. Getto is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has appeared in  numerous editions of The Best Lawyers in America and was named one of the "Top 100 Outside Counsel" by The Hollywood Reporter.  He has been active in civil and community affairs for many years, having served as chairman of the board of the California Pediatric Center in Los Angeles and as a board member of the Children's Hospital Research Center, among others.  He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Direct Relief International. 

Burford Group LLC

Burford Group is the investment advisor to Burford Capital Limited, a publicly traded dispute financier that is one of the world's largest investors in commercial disputes. Burford Capital provides financing in support of significant corporate litigation, arbitration, and other disputes, working with clients in both the United States and internationally. We employ a wide variety of flexible structures and Burford Capital is equally comfortable financing plaintiffs and defendants in disputes.


Maura GorsenMaureen Gorsen

Maureen Gorsen is a partner in the Environmental & Land Development Group at the law firm of Alston-Bird LLP, focusing her practice on environmental compliance and land use. She is the former director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, where she oversaw the state agency charged with protecting the public health and the environment from toxic harm, cleaning up sites contaminated by toxic substances, ensuring that hazardous waste is managed safely, and preventing future pollution. Ms. Gorsen has also been credited for overseeing California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, one of the single most important environmental programs to be implemented in the state.

She previously served as deputy secretary for law enforcement and general counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency, and from 1993 until 1998, she was Governor Pete Wilson's appointee as the general counsel for the California Resources Agency. There, among other duties, she was responsible for reform and revisions of the 1998 CEQA Guidelines and issues relating to the California Endangered Species Act, the Williamson Act, and the Coastal Act.

Ms. Gorsen earned her law degree from Georgetown University, received her master's degree in international energy and environmental policy from Johns Hopkins University, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.


Susan MacCormacSusan MacCormac
Morrison & Foerster

Susan MacCormac is a partner in the Corporate Group of Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office. She serves as co-chair of the firm’s 550-lawyer business department, and co-chair of the Cleantech Group. She has extensive experience representing startup to late-stage private companies primarily in the Cleantech or sustainable space, including Arcadia, ClimateEarth, driptech, ElectraTherm, enXco, OneSun, Revolution Foods, and SourceTrace. She also represents impact investors such as Capricorn/Virgo, Brightpath Capital Partners, Pacific Community Ventures, RSF Social Finance, and OPIC.. She provides corporate and finance advice in connection with mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases and sales, reorganizations, joint ventures, and equity and debt financing. Ms. MacCormac was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the Top Female Attorneys in California (May 2011) and as one of the Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers in California (March 2011). She was named to The American Lawyer's "45 Under 45" list of outstanding women lawyers (January 2011) and selected by her peers for Best Lawyers in America in 2011. She was also recognized by clients in the Legal 500 United States, 2009 and 2010, for her expertise working with venture capitalists and emerging companies. She serves as co-chair of the Working Group and has spent 500 pro bono hours over the past three years drafting a new corporate form, now SB 201, for California.

Logo: Morrison Foerster

Morrison & Foerster, LLP

Morrison & Foerster is a global firm with more than 1,000 lawyers in key technology and financial centers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Founded in 1883, "MoFo" has areas of practice in litigation, financial services, intellectual property and technology, and transactional work, such as corporate, capital markets, and real estate finance representations. MoFo is Cleantech: in a sector dominated by uncertainty, we bring clarity.

MoFo has emerged as the leading Cleantech firm in the world. Our team delivers innovative advice and impeccable service to a roster of diverse clients who are driving the transition to sustainable energy. Our global network of lawyers have specific industry experience across many Cleantech sub-industries and subject matters, such as renewable and alternative energy; regulation of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions; and marketing, advertising, and other “green” activities. In fact, MoFo has the real-world experience and legal talent to provide our clients with effective counsel and expertise across the spectrum of Cleantech-related areas. Our experience, which includes work with both well-established and up-and-coming players, provides Cleantech clients with a competitive edge in this diverse industry sector.


Russell M. McGlothlinRussell M. McGlothlin

Russell McGlothlin is a shareholder in Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's Santa Barbara office and a member of the Water & Public Lands and Renewable Energy Practice Groups. His experience includes a broad range of water-use issues in California and the western United States, including water-rights permitting, adjudication of groundwater rights, conjunctive water use, water transfers, water quality, recycled-water projects, and environmental matters, including CEQA and ESA compliance.

Mr. McGlothlin is a board member with the Santa Barbara-based Community Environmental Council and serves as the liaison for Brownstein's Corporate Partnership with the Bren School.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP was named one of the most highly commended "Water Law Firms of the Year" at Global Water Intelligence (GWI) Global Water Awards in 2008. The firm has 250 attorneys and policy consultants in 12 offices and practices in the areas of corporate and business law, government relations and public policy, litigation, natural resources and real estate. Within these concentrations, Brownstein lawyers work in real estate development, hospitality, private equity, telecommunications, technology, manufacturing, construction, energy, water, gaming, banking and finance, and many other industries and practice areas.


Edward M. NortonEdward M. Norton

Edward M. Norton serves as Senior Advisor – Environment to TPG Capital, L.P. In that role, he works with TPG portfolio companies to develop strategies for reducing costs, environmental impact, and associated risks through energy efficiency and waste reduction, and to seize competitive advantage, increase revenue, and enhance value through environmental innovation. Mr. Norton also participates in TPG’s investment review process for new investments and works with the TPG’s growth fund to identify investments in renewable energy and clean technology companies. He graduated with a BA in European History from Washington & Lee University, attended Columbia University’s Russian Institute as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, and received his JD from Harvard Law School.

After practicing law in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Norton served as an assistant attorney general of Maryland, an assistant United States attorney, and special counsel to The Wilderness Society. He was founding president of the Grand Canyon Trust, and founding chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and the Vietnam Veterans Reconciliation Project, and Vice President for Law and Public Policy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation,

From 1998-2004, he lived and worked in northwest Yunnan Province, China, as senior advisor to The Nature Conservancy’s China Program. He also served as The Nature Conservancy’s deputy director for the Asia-Pacific Region, based in Bali, Indonesia, and as aenior advisor to the USAID Orangutan Conservation Services Project in Indonesia.

TPG Capital

TPG Capital  is a leading global private investment firm with $47 billion of capital under management across a family of funds. Since the firm's founding in 1992, TGP's investment philosophy has been to create value by investing in change — change created by industry trends, economic cycles, or specific company circumstances. TPG invests in companies across a broad range of industries and geographies. Its goal is to help management teams build long-term value that benefits all stakeholders. TGP structures its private equity investments based on each company’s circumstances.


Richard Roos-Collins

Richard Roos-Collins is principal of the Water and Power Law Group PC, based in Berkeley, California. He represents public agencies, tribes, conservation groups, and companies to enhance the sustainability of water and power resources, specializing in settlements. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Francisco Law School. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (San Francisco) and the River Network (Boulder, Colorado). He was formerly Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice and Attorney-Advisor for the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Water and Power Law Group PC provides legal services to enhance the sustainability of water and power supplies. Our nation faces significant shortages, and these trends will only become more acute in the face of population growth and climate change. We specialize in innovative and durable solutions.

James Salzman

James Salzman

Jim Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law with joint appointments at the Bren School and the UCLA School of Law. He teaches the Bren School's core course on environmental law and has lectured on environmental policy to audiences in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa.

In more than sixty articles and five books, he has called upon his broad-ranging scholarship to address topics spanning trade and environment conflicts, the history of drinking water, environmental protection in the service economy, wetlands mitigation banking, and the legal and institutional issues in creating markets for ecosystem services. Prior to entering academia, Professor Salzman worked for the OECD in Paris and served as the European Environmental Manager for Johnson Wax in London. He has been a visiting professor at Yale, Harvard, and Stanford.
He earned his BA in history from Yale College in 1985, graduating magna cum laude with distinction. He received his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1989, and his MSc in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University in 1990.