Energy and Climate Law Professor Joins Penn Carey Law and the Kleinman Center

From decarbonization in a democracy to clean energy justice, Shelley Welton’s legal research focuses on how climate change is transforming energy and environmental law.  This week, Welton accepted an appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, as a Presidential Distinguished Professor of Law and Energy Policy.  

Welton’s faculty appointment is at Penn Carey Law where she will hold an affiliation with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy in the Weitzman School as part of President Amy Gutmann’s 2019 commitment to build a multidisciplinary energy policy faculty affiliated with the Kleinman Center.   

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining Penn Carey Law and the Kleinman Center. I look forward to collaborating across the University to enhance Penn’s leadership in climate and energy scholarship, policymaking, and education,” said Welton.  

Welton will start her tenure at Penn in the fall of 2022. This year, she is already connecting with Penn faculty and students by participating in law school seminars and by serving in the spring as a Kleinman Center visiting scholar. Starting next fall, she will teach Environmental Law and host an advanced climate and energy seminar at Penn Carey Law in addition to her Energy and Climate course at the Kleinman Center. 

“We are extremely pleased that Shelley Welton has accepted our tenured offer,” said Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “Her expertise in energy and environmental law and policy will greatly enrich our already formidable academic community in this constantly evolving area of the law.”

“In her work, Shelley explores the relationship of law to real-world environmental challenges and imagines meaningful solutions,” said Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor at Weitzman.  

Welton will be the second faculty research appointment at the Kleinman Center, following the 2020 hiring of carbon capture expert Jennifer Wilcox, who is now on leave at the Department of Energy. Both appointments are possible due to an anonymous $30 million dollar gift to the Kleinman Center in 2019, as well as generous University support. 

“Professor Welton is a truly accomplished scholar and teacher who possesses the rarest of gifts in being able at a deep level to integrate knowledge across multiple disciplines, in the service of both scholarly and real-world impact. These qualities will not only bolster Penn’s reputation for excellence, but they are exactly the qualities needed today to help solve the daunting challenges posed by climate change,” noted Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and faculty director of the Penn Program on Regulation, who chaired the law school faculty committee responsible for Professor Welton’s appointment.

“Energy policy is decidedly interdisciplinary, and the understanding of formal governance through powerful legal scholarship is essential to rolling out effective policies and educating the next generation of energy policy leaders. We are so fortunate to have Shelley’s expertise here at Penn to move this important work forward,” said Mark Alan Hughes, faculty director of the Kleinman Center. 

About Shelley Welton. Welton comes to Penn from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she taught administrative law, energy law, environmental law and policy, and climate change law. Her scholarship has appeared in publications like the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Harvard Environmental Law Review

Prior to academia, Welton worked as the deputy director of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. She also clerked for Judge David Trager of the Eastern District of New York and Judge Allyson Duncan of the Fourth Circuit. She received her Ph.D. in law from Yale Law School, her J.D. from NYU School of Law, a Master of Public Administration in environmental science and policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

About Penn Carey Law. The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is an overwhelmingly preferred destination for aspiring lawyers due to the unique blend of interdisciplinary legal education that provides our alumni the ability to launch impactful careers in every sector of the legal profession and an inclusive, collaborative community that encourages intellectual risk-taking. 

About the Kleinman Center. The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy operates within the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Its mission is to create the conditions for policy innovation that support a just and efficient transition to sustainable energy. 

About the Weitzman School. The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation. 

Media Contact: Lindsey Samahon | 215.898.5900