Amy Sinden

I. Herman Stern Professor

Professor Amy Sinden joined the faculty in 2001, bringing a decade of experience in public interest law. She specializes in environmental and property law. Her recent academic writings have criticized the misuse of economic theory in environmental law, arguing against the use of cost-benefit analysis in environmental standard setting and countering claims that private property rights can solve environmental problems in the absence of government regulation. She has also written about the application of classical human rights norms to environmental conflicts. Her articles have appeared in a number of books and academic journals, including the Harvard Environmental Law Review and the Iowa Law Review, and have twice been selected for inclusion in the Land Use and Environmental Law Review’s annual compilation of the best environmental law articles of the year (2010 and 2020). She is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Progressive Reform and is an affiliated faculty member of Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities.

Before joining the law school faculty, Professor Sinden served as senior counsel for Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, handling litigation on behalf of PennFuture and other citizens’ and environmental groups. Prior to this position, Sinden was an associate attorney for the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund in Seattle, Washington, where she litigated federal environmental cases focusing on natural resource issues.

In addition to her involvement with environmental issues, Professor Sinden practiced for several years at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she represented parents in civil child abuse and neglect proceedings, and advocated on behalf of welfare recipients seeking job training and education. Professor Sinden served twice as a law clerk, first for Judge John F. Gerry of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and later for Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Professor Sinden graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1991 where she was associate editor of the law review and was named a Public Interest Fellow.


J.D. (summa cum laude), University of Pennsylvania Law School
B.A., Swarthmore College

Research & Teaching Areas

Areas of Expertise

Selected Publications

Publications and Media Appearances

Awards and Recognition

  • Friel-Scanlan Award for Outstanding Scholarship (2006)


  • Wallace Stegner Center Young Scholar in Residence, Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, November 7-9, 2006
  • Board of Directors, Center for Progressive Reform (