Professor of Law
BA, Williams College, 1998
JD, University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), 2002
Maxine Burkett is a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. At Richardson, she teaches Climate Change Law and Policy, Torts, Ocean and Coastal Law, and International Law.
An expert in the law and policy of climate change, she has written extensively in diverse areas of climate change law with a particular focus on climate justice—exploring policy responses to climate change’s impacts on vulnerable communities in the United States and globally. Professor Burkett has presented her research throughout the United States and in West Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Caribbean. She has been cited in numerous news and policy outlets, including BBC Radio, the New York Times, the Washington Post, International Business Times, and Nature Climate Change.
In 2010, Burkett served as the Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics at the Wayne Morse Center, University of Oregon, for the Center’s “Climate Ethics and Climate Equity” theme of inquiry. Other Wayne Morse Chairs include Charles Ogletree, Jr., Vandana Shiva, Barbara Ehrenreich, and former Senator Russ Feingold. Burkett is the youngest recipient of the Chair.
From 2009-2012, Professor Burkett also served as the inaugural Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP). As the Director of ICAP, she led numerous projects to address climate change policy and planning for island communities globally. She directed the completion of several adaptation related policy documents, outreach and education programs, and decision-maker support efforts for Hawai‘i and other Pacific Island nations. She is currently the co-founder and director of the Institute for Climate and Peace.
Professor Burkett received her B.A. Williams College, which awarded her the Bicentennial Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2016. She also attended Exeter College, Oxford University and received her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as a law clerk for The Honorable Susan Illston of the United States District Court, Northern District of California. She was a White House Intern, an Omidyar Fellow, a 2016 recipient of Pacific Business News’ 40 Under 40 award, and a 2017 awardee of Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20. Professor Burkett serves on the boards of the Global Greengrants Fund, ELAW, and the Blue Planet Foundation and is a member of the Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment (formerly the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment). Professor Burkett is also a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform and the American Law Institute.
Prior to her appointment at the University of Hawai‘i, Burkett was an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Law School.
- Maxine Burkett, Behind the Veil: Climate Migration, Regime Shift, and a New Theory of Justice, 53 Harv. C.R.-C.L. Rev. 445 (2018). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Jainey Bavishi, and Erin Shew, Climate Displacement, Migration, and Relocation-And the United States, 7 Climate Law 227 (2017). HeinOnline | SSRN | Brill
- Maxine Burkett, Climate Disobedience, 27 Duke Envtl. L. & Pol’y F. 1 (2016). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Reading Between Two Red Lines: Loss and Damage and the Paris Outcome, 6 Climate Law 118 (2016). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace | ScholarSpace
- Yamada Seiji, Burkett Maxine, and Maskarinec Gregory G., Sea-Level Rise and the Marshallese Diaspora, Environmental Justice. March 2017. doi:10.1089/env.2016.0038. Mary Ann Liebert | SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, Justice and Contemporary Climate Relocation: An Addendum to Words of Caution on ‘Climate Refugees’, NEW SECURITY BEAT, August 2016. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2016/08/justice-contemporary-climate-rel… | ScholarSpace
- A. Magnan, E.L.F. Schipper, M. Burkett, S. Bharwani, I. Burton, S. Eriksen, F. Gemenne, J. Schaar, and G. Ziervogel, Addressing the Risk of Maladaptation to Climate Change, WIREs Clim. Change 2016. doi: 10.1002/wcc.409. WIREs | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Lessons from Contemporary Resettlement in the South Pacific, Columbia J. Int’l Affairs (Spring 2015). SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Rehabilitation: A Proposal for a Climate Compensation Mechanism for Small Island States, 13 Santa Clara J. of Int’l Law 81 (2015). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Loss and Damage, 4 Climate Law 119 (2014). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, A Justice Paradox: On Climate Change, Small Island Developing States, and the Quest for Effective Legal Remedy, 35 U. Haw. L. Rev. 633 (2013). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Duty and Breach in an Era of Uncertainty: Local Government Liability for Failure to Adapt to Climate Change, 20 George Mason L. Rev. 775 (Spring 2013). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Litigating Climate Change Adaptation: Theory, Practice, and Corrective (Climate) Justice, 42 Env. L. Rptr. 11144 (2012). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Climate-Induced Migration: Is there a there there?, 3 Climate Law 314 (2012). ScholarSpace | ResearchGate
- Maxine Burkett, ‘Drowning Nations’ Threaten New 21st Century Statelessness, ALERTNET, August 23, 2011. ScholarSpace | ResearchGate
- Maxine Burkett, Climate Justice and the Elusive Climate Tort, 121 Yale L. J. Online 115 (2011) HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, The Nation Ex-Situ: On Climate Change, Deterritorialized Nationhood, and the Post-Climate Era, 2 Climate Law 1 (Fall 2011). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Climate Justice, Climate Change Discourse, and the Failure of the Elite-Driven Democracy: A Think Piece, Am. Studies Inst. (Seoul National University Winter 2010). SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, The Debate Over African-American Reparations, 6 Ann. Rev. of L. & Social Sci. 449 (Winter 2010) (with John Torpey). academia.edu | SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, Climate Reparations, 10 Melbourne J. Int’l L. 509 (Fall 2009). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Much Ado About . . . Something Else: D.C. v. Heller, The Racialized Mythology of the Second Amendment, and Gun Policy Reform, 12 J. Gender Race & Just. 57 (2008). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Just Solutions to Climate Change: A Climate Justice Proposal for a Domestic Clean Development Mechanism, 56 Buffalo L. Rev. 169 (2008). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Reconciliation and Non-Repetition: A New Paradigm for African-American Reparations, 86 Or. L. Rev. 99 (2007). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, The Climate of Environmental Justice: Taking Stock – Foreword, 78 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1551 (2007). HeinOnline | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Strategic Voting and African Americans: True Vote, True Representation, True Power for the Black Community, 8 Mich. J. Race & L. 425 (2003). HeinOnline | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Current Issues Involving Rule 12(b)(6) and Rule 9(b), A.L.I., SH009 ALI-ABA 721 (2002) (with Elizabeth J. Cabraser and Joshua P. Davis).
- Maxine Burkett, Migration in Michael Burger & Justin Gundlach, eds., Climate Change, Public Health, and the Law (Cambridge U. Press 2018)
- Rosemary Lyster and Maxine Burkett, Climate-Induced Displacement and Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities in Rosemary Lyster & Robert R.M. Verchick, eds., Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities (Edward Elgar 2018).
- Maxine Burkett, Justice and Climate Migration, in Simon Behrman & Avidan Kent, eds., Climate Refugees: Beyond the Legal Impasse? (Routledge, 2018). SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, International Climate Change Law Perspectives, in Benoît Mayer and François Crépeau, eds., Research Handbook on Climate Change, Migration and the Law (Edward Elgar, 2017).
- Maxine Burkett, A Justice Paradox: Climate Change, Small Island Developing States, and the Absence of International Legal Remedy, in SUMUDU ATAPATTU AND CARMEN G. GONZALEZ, INTERNATIONAL ENVIROMENTAL LAW AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH (Cambridge U. Press, 2015).
- Maxine Burkett, Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation, in RANDALL S. ABATE AND ELIZABETH ANN KRONK, EDS., CLIMATE CHANGE, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND THE SEARCH FOR LEGAL REMEDIES: BALANCING ON THE TIP OF THE SPEAR, (Edward Elgar 2013). SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, The Nation Ex-Situ, in MICHAEL GERRARD AND GREGORY WANNIER, EDS., THREATENED ISLAND NATIONS (Cambridge U. Press 2013).
- Maxine Burkett, Climate Refugees, in SHAWKAT ALAM, JAHID HOSSAIN BHUIYAN, TAREQ M.R. CHOWDHURY AND ERIKA J TECHERA, EDS., ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (Routledge, Oxford, 2012).
- Maxine Burkett, Legal Rights and Remedies, in MICHAEL GERRARD AND KATRINA KUH, EDS., THE LAW OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE (ABA 2012).
- Flatt, Victor Byers and Flournoy, Alyson and Sokol, Karen C. and Verchick, Robert R. M. and Bratspies, Rebecca M. and Burkett, Maxine and Echeverria, John D. and Farber, Daniel A. and Flores, David and Isaacson, Evan and Kaswan, Alice and Klein, Christine A. and Lamdan, Sarah and Mintz, Joel A. and Shapiro, Sidney A. and Tomain, Joseph P. and Tracy, Katie, From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery (with others), 2019, Center for Progressive Reform, SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, Robert R.M. Verchick, and David Flores, Reaching Higher Ground: Avenues to Secure and Manage New Land for Communities Displaced by Climate Change, Center for Progressive Reform, May 2017. SSRN
- Maxine Burkett, Climate-induced migration and the role of philanthropy, 2016, Alliance Magazine. ScholarSpace
- Maxine Burkett, Small Island States and the Paris Agreement, 2015, Wilson Center. ScholarSpace
- Leong, J.-A., J. J. Marra, M. L. Finucane, T. Giambelluca, M. Merrifield, S. E. Miller, J. Polovina, E. Shea, M. Burkett, J. Campbell, P. Lefale, F. Lipschultz, L. Loope, D. Spooner, and B. Wang, 2014: Ch. 23: Hawaii and U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 537-556. doi:10.7930/J0W66HPM. SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Finucane, Melissa L., Rachel Miller, L. Kati Corlew, Victoria W. Keener, Maxine Burkett, Zena Grecni, 2013: Understanding the Climate-Sensitive Decisions and Information Needs of Freshwater Resource Managers in Hawaii.Wea. Climate Soc., 5, 293308. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-12-00039.1. ScholarSpace
- Burkett, M. (2011). In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier. AsiaPacific Issues, 98, 1-8. East-West Center | SSRN | ScholarSpace
- Burkett, M. (2009). Shoreline Impacts, Setback Policy and Sea Level Rise, Project 41.A/AS-1, Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy, University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program (with Hwang, D.). ResearchGate | SSRN | ScholarSpace