Marcia R. Gelpe

Emerita Professor of Law

“Lawyers have tremendous power. I think we are obligated to use that power both to help our clients and to improve society. My teaching is based on this principle, trying to help students understand how the law works, so they will be equipped both to practice law and to work for its improvement.”


A.B., 1965, Barnard College
M.S., 1967, Ohio State University
J.D., 1974, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington


William Mitchell College of Law: Emerita Professor of Law, 2002- ; Associate Dean, 1983-85; Professor of Law, 1981-2002; Associate Professor of Law, 1980-81.

Professor Emeritus of Law, Netanya Academic College School of Law, Israel, 2007- .

Professor of Law, Netanya Academic College School of Law, Israel, 1997-2007.

Director, Center for Environmental Law, Netanya Academic College, Israel, 1997-2007.

Associate Professor of Law, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, 1991-94.

Associate Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School, 1975-80.

Attorney, Office General Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency, 1974-75.

Visiting Lecturer, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1974.

Instructor of Biology, Trinity College, Washington, D.C., 1966-70.

Admitted: Indiana, 1974; Minnesota, 1980.

Professional Focus

Professor Gelpe’s main work is in environmental law. She has worked extensively with public environmental agencies in both Minnesota and in Israel. Her public service and scholarship are directed mainly to improving the ways in which environmental laws are administered and enforced. Her writing puts a heavy emphasis on how things work and on how theory is translated into practice.

Leadership & Service

Director, Center for Environmental Law, Netanya Academic College, 1997-present (organized ten national academic conferences on Israeli environmental law). National Council for Environmental Quality, Israel, 2001-2003. International Advisory Committee for the Executive Master’s Degree Program, LL.M. in United States Law and Practice, 2004-present.Advisory Committee to Ministry of Environment on Establishing National Environmental Policy, 2002.Steering Committee to Amend the Water Law, Center for Environmental Policy, Israel, 2001-2003.Task Force on Establishment of Policy for Enforcing the Laws on Vehicular Pollution, Israel, Center for Environmental Policy, 2000-2002.Interministerial Committee on Contaminated Lands.Committee for Establishing Procedures for Promulgating Environmental Regulations, Government of Israel, 1996-97.National Environmental Committee, the Israeli International Trade Commission, 1992-97.Committee to Recommend Winners of the Minister’s Award of Excellence, Ministry of Environment.Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Board, 1984-1991.Reviewer, Land Use and Environment Law Review, 1986, 1987.Witness before Minnesota Legislative Committees on state Superfund bill, 1982, 1983.Governor of Minnesota’s Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee, 1979-1980.Volunteer lawyer representing Sierra Club, Minnesota Chapter, in litigation involving preservation of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 1979-1980.Federation of Women Lawyers Judicial Screening Panel, 1979-1980.Member, National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Societal Consequences of Abatement of Transportation Noise, 1975-1977.Commissioner, Conservation and Environmental Quality Commission, Bloomington, Indiana, 1972-1974.