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Kevin Leske

Professor of Law

Full-Time Faculty

School of Law


Email: Kevin Leske
Phone: (937) 229-4683


Professor Kevin Leske joined the University of Dayton School of Law faculty in August 2019. Prior to his appointment Professor Leske held academic positions in schools such as Vermont Law School, Harvard Law School, and Barry University School of Law. His principal expertise is in environmental law (including air and water pollution, climate change, and land use), civil procedure, administrative law, constitutional law, Supreme Court Practice, and appellate advocacy.

His published works and presentations cover areas such as the Clean Air Act, climate change regulation and litigation, agency deference, preemption, federalism, and U.S. Supreme Court practice. Professor Leske’s scholarship has been published in journals such as Berkeley’s Ecology Law Quarterly, Lewis & Clark’s Environmental Law, NYU Environmental Law Journal, William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review, Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, Connecticut Law Review, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Administrative Law Review, and the Vermont Law Review. In June 2019, one of his administrative law articles on the Seminole Rock deference doctrine was quoted and cited in a Supreme Court opinion in Kisor v. Wilkie, No. 18-15, 588 U.S. ___ (2019).

Prior to entering academia, Professor Leske served as an Assistant Attorney General of Vermont, where he focused primarily on national air pollution and global warming cases. His work also included arguing Vermont Supreme Court appeals in land-use cases and environmental enforcement actions. In addition, he served as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., where he helped prepare state attorneys for their upcoming oral arguments, edited Supreme Court briefs, and prepared an Amicus Brief in a pending case.

Before joining the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Professor Leske worked in Washington, D.C., for a small environmental law office where he litigated Clean Water Act citizen suits for environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club. He also represented the Province of Ontario, Canada, in Clean Air Act cases in federal courts of appeals and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Leske is admitted to practice law in the State of Vermont (inactive), as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits.


J.D., Vermont Law School
M.E.L.P, magna cum laude, Environmental Law & Policy, Vermont Law School
M.S., Environmental Sciences & Policy, Johns Hopkins University
B.S., The College of William & Mary

Areas of Law

Environmental Law
Civil Procedure
Administrative Law
Constitutional Law
Supreme Court Practice
Appellate Advocacy

Selected Publications

A complete list of Professor Leske's publications can be found on the Social Science Research Network here.

Notable Cases and Oral Arguments

Kisor v. Wilkie, No. 18-15, 588 U.S. ___ (2019) (administrative law review article on the Seminole Rock deference doctrine quoted and cited by Justice Gorsuch in his concurring opinion)

Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA, 540 U.S. 461 (2004) (U.S. Supreme Court counsel of record and author of amicus curiae brief on behalf of Vermont and 12 states in support of EPA’s oversight authority under the Clean Air Act; brief was quoted by Justice Ginsburg in her 5-4 majority opinion)

Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007) (assisted with briefs and oral argument preparation in case that culminated in landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act)

American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 564 U.S. 410 (2011) (helped develop legal theories and litigation strategy for landmark global warming nuisance case against coal-burning power plants)

Wyeth v. Levine, 555 U.S. 555 (2009) (U.S. Supreme Court counsel of record and co-author of amicus curiae brief on behalf of Vermont and 46 states on whether state common law claims against drug manufacturers are preempted under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act)

Green Mountain Chrysler v. Crombie, 508 F.Supp.2d. 295 (D.Vt 2007) (successfully defended Vermont regulation in a 15-day bench trial resulting in the first ruling that the Energy Policy & Conservation Act did not preempt state greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles)

New York v. American Electric Power Co., No. 2-99-1182 (S.D. Ohio 2007) (litigated Clean Air Act enforcement case resulting in the single largest environmental settlement in U.S. history at that time)

In re Vermont State Employees’ Association, Inc., 2005 VT 129 (argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether Labor Relations Board decision conflicted with U.S. Supreme Court law on an employee’s right to union representation)

In re Appeal of LiCausi, 2008 VT 59 (briefed and argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether environmental court exceeded its authority when reviewing air pollution permit)

In re Hamm Mine Act 250 Jurisdiction, 2009 VT 88 (briefed and argued Vermont Supreme Court appeal on whether former open-pit mine remained subject to jurisdiction under state land-use statute)