Message From the President

ELI Mourns the Loss of ELI Founder and Friend, Jim Moorman

It is with deep and heartfelt sadness that I share the news of the passing of one of ELI’s greatest supporters and a true environmental champion, Jim Moorman. Jim was true pioneer of environmental law, whose early visions and tireless efforts helped shape the Environmental Law Institute into the Institute it is today. As one of the original framers of ELI’s articles of incorporation and a member of our inaugural Board of Directors, Jim’s wisdom and guidance influenced our path from the very beginning. His tenure on the Board spanned more than half of ELI’s lifetime, a testament to his deep commitment and belief in our mission.

Jim’s career in environmental advocacy began at the U.S. Department of Justice in 1966, where he first applied his formidable skills as a trial attorney. His journey took him through pivotal roles, including counsel at the Center for Law and Social Policy, where he was instrumental in some of the earliest public interest environmental law cases. His leadership at the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, serving as its first Executive Director, and his subsequent role as Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Land and Natural Resources Division under President Jimmy Carter, underscored his profound impact on environmental law.

Jim’s work extended beyond public service into his later career at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, where he continued to influence environmental policy and practice. His legacy is not just in the laws he helped to shape or the cases he championed, but in the community of environmental lawyers and advocates he inspired and nurtured.

Jim will be sorely missed, by the field at large and ELI. We are grateful to have spent time learning, laughing, and growing with Jim, and we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

—Jordan Diamond, April 29, 2024

Hear more from Jim about his work in our Pioneers in Environmental Law series