Maria Savasta-Kennedy

George R. Ward Term Professor, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Externship Program

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil Rights and Discrimination
  • Compliance
  • Environmental Law
  • Interviewing and Client Counseling
  • Judges
  • Legislation
  • Litigation
  • Public Interest Law
  • Regulatory Compliance


Maria Savasta-Kennedy directs the Externship program and teaches Environmental law, Environmental Justice and Environmental Law Practice and Policy at the law school. She began her teaching career at NYU School of Law’s Lawyering Program. Before teaching, Professor Savasta-Kennedy litigated federal and state environmental, civil rights and commercial cases. She represented grass roots organizations in complex environmental cases at both the trial and appellate level while an associate attorney with Earth Justice. While in private practice, Professor Savasta-Kennedy helped found the American Bar Association PROBAR project, a program creating volunteer opportunities for private attorneys across the country interested in representing political asylum applicants. She served as Co-Director of the NITA Southeastern Regional Trial Advocacy Program from 1998 through 2003. She began directing the UNC School of Law’s Externship in 1999, its first year of operation.

Professor Savasta-Kennedy teaches CLE programs on environmental law and practical lawyering skills. She is the author of North Carolina’s Environmental Law Practice Guide, now in its fifth edition, and her research interests include social and environmental justice, pollution control and climate change. She serves as Chairperson for the Sustainability Committee for the North Carolina Bar Association Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Council, is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Diversity Task Force and is a faculty adviser for the UNC Law Student Environmental Law Project.

Professor Savasta-Kennedy was awarded a Fulbright to teach in Xi’an, China in 2012.


  • B.A. (cum laude), University of California at Los Angeles
  • J.D., University of California at Los Angeles

Selected Publications

Adaptation and Resiliency in Legal Systems, 89 N.C. L. REV. 1365 (2011).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein

The Newest Hybrid: Notes Toward Standardized Certification of Carbon Offsets, 34 N.C. J. INT'L L. & COM. REG. 851 (2009).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

SSRN Author Page

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