David Sive

Environmental Attorney and law firm founder (now Sive, Paget, & Riesel); Environmental law professor at Columbia and Pace law schools; co-founder of other environmental organizations

David Sive took special pride in his success in persuading a New York judge that land owned by a trust for environmental preservation could be exempt from real property taxes. In defense of environmental amenities as meeting the test of promoting moral improvement of men, women, and children, the man generally revered as the nation’s first environmental lawyer quoted from a favorite poet, Wordsworth:  “One impulse from a vernal wood may teach you more of man, of moral evil and of good than all the sages can.”

Sive was the first environmental lawyer to receive the Environmental Law Institute’s award for outstanding achievement in environmental law, policy, and management.  As a partner in the firm Winer, Neuberger, and Sive (now Sive, Paget, and Riesel) and a director of the Sierra Club in 1971, he developed a reputation as an expert litigator and a fierce defender of the environment.  He pioneered the establishment of standing for environmental plaintiffs to sue and advocated the citizen suit provisions that became so important in new federal environmental statutes.

He had a major impact on a generation of environmental lawyers during a long career as a law teacher and mentor to younger lawyers.  He taught litigation and environmental law for many years at Columbia Law School and as a visiting faculty member at six state university law schools.  He joined the law faculty at Pace University law school in 1995 and also founded the environmental law course established by the Environmental Law Institute and the American Law Institute and continuing to this day.  In retirement and until his death in (date), he continued to reflect and write on his unmatched experience in both the legal and political developments of the modern environmental law movement.