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  • Writer's pictureKat Hickey

Our Earth Lawyer, Anthony Zelle

An Earth-Loving Attorney...

is that a Dichotomy?

Tony is sharper than this sea star!
Sharper than a sea star, Tony loves his wetsuit even more than his tux!

Introducing the Chair & President of the

Earth Law Center

In a world where legal landscapes are evolving to encompass the pressing needs of our planet and its diverse inhabitants, there emerges a visionary leader at the forefront of this transformative movement. Anthony Zelle, known affectionately as Tony, is an Earth lawyer whose remarkable journey has catalyzed a paradigm shift in the field of law and governance. With a trailblazing career spanning private practice, education, and advocacy, Tony's dedication to Earth law has become a beacon of hope for the planet and its future generations.

An Author Worth Reading if You Love the Planet

Emerging Ecocentric Law
Fighting for those who cannot speak in a courtroom.
Anthony Zelle Earth Lawyer

While serving as Chair and President of the Earth Law Center, following 30 years in private practice, he served as lead editor and author of the only comprehensive book on the subject: Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law-A Guide for Practitioners. Developed for law school curricula, and now part of developing LLM programs in the U.S. and the U.K., the book has also become the primary reference source for practitioners. This monumental work has transcended its academic roots to become an indispensable resource for legal professionals around the world. Drawing from his extensive background in private practice, where he spent three decades navigating complex cases centered on consumer protection and insurance laws, Tony's journey into Earth law was fueled by a desire to bridge the gap between the legal realm and environmental stewardship.

Earth Law Center, Earth Lawyer

The focus of his current work is developing Earth lawyers and revenue-generating opportunities for Earth lawyers. The Nature in the Boardroom Program offered by the Earth Law Center is one example. The Speaker Series, Earth law workshops, continuing legal and ethical education and ecocentric legal templates.

Earth law is a qualitative element of ESG. It is environmental, it is social, and it is governance. It is systems thinking and paradigm shifting. It envisions a new ecological social contract. It is law and governance that will drive economic and political change. Anthony will be addressing this topic at a workshop at the Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting in Brussels in April. (See Upcoming Engagements)

A Reef Life Foundation Partner

Earth Lawyer attorney

At the heart of Tony's work lies a profound dedication to nurturing the next generation of Earth lawyers. His endeavors to foster intergenerational leadership development through programs like the Nature in the Boardroom initiative have not only created revenue-generating opportunities but also paved the way for meaningful contributions to the world's ecological and social fabric.

In addition to his academic and leadership roles, Tony remains an unflagging advocate for change. His engaging Speaker Series, dynamic Earth law workshops, and continued efforts in providing ecocentric legal templates underscore his unwavering commitment to promoting environmental consciousness within the legal profession. Tony's focus on continuing legal and ethical education has ensured that Earth law remains a vibrant force, continuously evolving to meet the demands of our ever-changing world.


Anthony Zelle's CV:

Earth law education and practice development (2016-present)

Earth Law Center - Board chair, director, general counsel, education innovator, writer, editor, strategist. Produced Award-winning law school coursebook. Created and delivered Earth law summer class (2021-23). Seeded Earth law education in 45 countries. Co-developed innovative nature governance policy and programs for B-Corps, C-corps, NGO's, governmental agencies.

Private law practice (1986-2017)

Robins Zelle Larson & Kaplan, Zelle & Larson, Robinson & Cole, Zelle McDonough & Cohen - Founded and managed boutique litigation partnership to handle fraud victim recovery actions, consumer protection matters, fiduciary duty law, insurance coverage and bad faith law. >100 clients > 500 matters >30 trials, >20 appeals, >3000 courtroom hours before judges and justices. Ocean preservation and restoration (2021-present) Reef Life Restoration, Reef Life Foundation, IntelliReefs - Business and legal counsel

Non-profit legal community building (1997-present) Earth Law Center 2016-present Defense Research Institute 1997-2016 Board of directors, Insurance Law Committee chair, education, publications, symposia, conferences, workshops, strategic planning

Waltham Community Farm, 2015-2017 Board director, finance committee

Green Newton, 2017-pres Board director, advisor

Representative matters:

August - Sept 2022 South Africa,

Restorative justice, Good Wood Correctional Institute; Earth law and integrative law education workshops and outreach - Cape Town University, University of Johannesburg, Varsity College; Earth law Pan-African indigeneity collaboration with The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee.

Sept 2022 - New York City, Climate Week, Columbia Climate School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, presentation on the Earth law movement, an extension of and departure from environmental law as presently practiced; Nature governance thought leadership dinner, Shearman & Sterling.

December 2022 New Haven, CT, Quinnipiac University Law School, Integrative lawyering and Earth law workshop.

January 2023, Davos, Switzerland, Nature on Board, nature governance soft launch.

March, Cornwall, UK, Exeter University Law School, nature governance workshop, Interdisciplinary Earth law masters program development.

March, Boston, MA, Northeastern University Law School introduction to Earth law lecture and discussion.

April - Brussels, Belgium, Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Conference, Panel presentation: "Committing to Net Zero and now what?" Earth law as the qualitative element of ESG.

May - Waterford, Ireland, International Network for the Study of Spirituality Annual Conference, Workshop "Towards a homo-ecologicus system of human governance," The Law as a governing tool in shifting the narrative from Homo sapiens to Eco sapiens.

June - Hamden, CT, Quinnipiac University Law School, introduction to Earth law lecture.

June - August Global presence, Earth law summer class, engaging more than 200 students and practitioners from 30+ countries.

Earth Law Center

Partnerships like this WILL change the planet.

Reef Life Foundation

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