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Our Common Ground: Why America's Public Lands are a Political and Conservation Success Story

16 Oct 2023

Our Common Ground: Why America's Public Lands are a Political and Conservation Success Story

5:00pm - 6:00pm

Oakes Hall - Room 107

Watch Live at

Professor Leshy will discuss how decision-making about public lands has, for well over a century, demonstrated our ability as a people to work together and find genuine common good. He will explore what this might mean for dealing with the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.


A photograph of John Leshy

Guest Speaker 

John Leshy, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at University of California College of Law, and author of “Our Common Ground”

John D. Leshy is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California College of the Law in San Francisco (formerly U.C. Hastings). His political history of America’s public lands, "Our Common Ground", was published in 2022 by Yale University Press.  

Leshy was solicitor (general counsel) of the Interior Department a Senate-confirmed position) throughout the Clinton Administration. Earlier, he was counsel to the chair of the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, a law professor at Arizona State University, associate solicitor of interior for Energy and Resources in the Carter Administration, an attorney-advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and a litigator in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. He headed the Interior Department transition team for Clinton-Gore in 1992 and was co-lead for Obama-Biden in 2008.  

Leshy has been a visiting professor multiple times at Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1969, after earning an AB at Harvard College. He has served on numerous boards and commissions and his many publications include a book on the Mining Law of 1872 and co-authoring casebooks on public land and resources law (now in its 8th edition, 2021) and water law (6th edition, 2018).  



A photograph of the High Sierra's titled: Our Common Ground


Questions? Concerns? Contact Courtney Potter at