As chief of the appellate section of DOJ’s Environment & Natural Resources Division, Mergen has argued over 80 cases in all 13 federal courts of appeals and before several state intermediate and supreme courts. He has also worked on more than a dozen merits cases in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mergen began his more than 30-year career at the Justice Department in the Honors Program. He was named assistant section chief of the appellate section of the Environment & Natural Resources Division in 2001, was appointed deputy chief in 2011, and, in 2022, was appointed chief of the appellate section.
“We’re delighted to welcome Andrew Mergen to Harvard Law School,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “He will bring to our community tremendous expertise in the field of environmental law, and deep experience teaching and mentoring new lawyers from his years of service in the Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resources Division.”
During his career, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service three times. He also received the division’s Muskee-Chafee Award, honoring his work’s significant contribution to protecting the environment.
Richard Lazarus ’79, the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard University, said: “I am thrilled that Andy Mergen will be joining the Harvard Law School faculty as faculty director of the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Andy is one of the most highly respected and well-known practicing environmental lawyers in the nation, widely celebrated by government, public interest, and private sector lawyers for his deep expertise in both pollution control and natural resources, his professional integrity, unbending fairness, and good judgment. I could not be more pleased that our students will have this opportunity to work with and learn from Andy at our Emmett Clinic.”
Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95, the Archibald Cox Professor of Law and director of the school’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, said: “Andy is in a category all his own – an expert litigator who has operated at the highest levels of government, and who everyone on all sides of environmental issues deeply respects. He will be a major asset for our environmental law program, and will help HLS train the next generation of leading environmental advocates.”
In 2009, Mergen was detailed to the White House Counsel’s Office to assist the confirmation of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
At Harvard Law’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Mergen joins a talented staff led by deputy director and lecturer on law Shaun Goho ’01, who has been serving as acting director since clinic founder Wendy Jacobs ’81 passed away in February 2021.
Mergen previously taught at Harvard Law School in 2019. This spring, he will teach “Natural Resources Law,” a survey of federal natural resources law with a particular emphasis on how courts resolve disputes in this area.
“Environmental law is at a critical juncture,” said Mergen. “I am immensely excited about the opportunity to lead the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and to help prepare HLS graduates to meet the many profound environmental challenges ahead.”
For three years, beginning in 2019, he taught as a lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School. He has also taught as a visiting lecturer in law at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
Chris Bavitz, vice dean for Experiential and Clinical Education at Harvard Law School, said: “We are excited for Andy to join the outstanding team at the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. He comes to the Law School with a wealth of experience; students and the entire HLS clinical community will benefit from his enthusiastic and innovative approach to advocacy and teaching.”
He earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law.