Faculty Information

  • Biography

    ​B.A., Ursinus College
    M.A., University of Connecticut
    J.D., University of Connecticut
    L.L.M., Lewis and Clark Law School 

    Professor Hirokawa joined the faculty at Albany Law School in 2009.  He teaches courses involving environmental and natural resources law, land use planning, property law, and jurisprudence.  Professor Hirokawa's scholarship has explored convergences in ecology, ethics, economics, and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management, and environmental impact analysis. He has authored dozens of professional and scholarly articles in these areas and has co-edited (with Patricia Salkin) Greening Local Government (forthcoming 2012, ABA). Prior to joining the faculty at Albany Law, Professor Hirokawa was an Associate Professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law.  Professor Hirokawa practiced land use and environmental law in Oregon and Washington and was heavily involved with community groups and nonprofit organizations. Professor Hirokawa studied philosophy and law at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his JD and MA degrees.  He earned his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.

  • Presentations

    American Bar Association Webinar, Dec. 19, 2012
    Greening Local Government
    Moderating a national webinar on the book “Greening Local Government,” co-edited by Prof. Hirokawa

    Pace Law School, March 28, 2012
    Faculty Exchange Colloquium
    “Information and Ecosystem Services”

    University of Oregon School of Law, March 3, 2012
    Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, Panel on Rhetoric, Narrative, and Environmental Advocacy
    “Constructions of Nature: Property and Ecosystem Services”

    Albany Law School, February 28, 2012
    Albany Scholarship Development Workshop
    “Idea and Ideology in Environmental Law”

    Albany Law School, February 4, 2012
    2nd Annual Northeast Scholarship and Teaching Development Workshop
    "Rhetoric and Resiliancy in Law's Idea of Nature"

    Florida Coastal School of Law, November 3, 2011
    13th Annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit: Economics, Ethics, & the Environment
    "Economics and Ecology for Local Governments"

    Albany Law School, October 12, 2011
    Faculty Teaching Colloquium, New Teaching Ideas and Resources
    "Engaged Learning between Community and Classroom"

    Lewis & Clark School of Law, October 7, 2011
    Fall Symposium 2011: 21st Century Water Law
    "Driving Local Governments to Ecosystem Governance"

    Gonzaga University Law School, October 6, 2011
    Faculty Colloquium
    "Local Governments and Ecosystem Governance"

    Pace Law School, May 5, 2011
    Practically Grounded: Best Practices for Skill Building in Teaching Land Use, Environmental, and Sustainable Development Law
    "Teaching from the Dirt"

    American Association of Law Schools, January 7, 2011
    Annual Meeting, Natural Resources Law Section, "New Voices on Cutting Edge Issues in Natural Resources and Environmental Law," Selected Paper.
    "Three Stories about Nature: Property, the Environment, and Ecosystem Services"

    Albany Law School, October 14, 2010
    Albany Law Review Symposium, Big Oil, Big Consequences, and the Big Unknown: Exploring the Legal, Regulatory, and Environmental Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill
    Moderator, "Disaster Response:  Assessing the Adequacy of Environmental Laws, Regulations, and Litigation"

    Albany Law School, September 28, 2010
    Albany Scholarship Development Workshop
    "Sustainability and Urban Forests: An Ecosystem Services Perspective"

    American Association of Law Schools, June 12, 2010
    Workshop on Property Law
    "Rethinking Resources: Defining New Categories of Property to Meet the Climate Challenge"

    State and Local Government Law Section, ABA, April 30, 2010
    Spring Meeting - Land Use Hot Topics
    "Regulating the Vacancy of Property"

    Albany Law School, February 10, 2010
    Getting Published! A Hot Lunch Faculty Workshop
    "Online, Short-Form Publishing in Law-Review Hosted Supplements"

    Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), August 5, 2009
    62nd Annual Meeting
    "Teaching Land Use Law at the Crossroads:  Incorporating Green Building and Sustainability into the Curriculum"

    The Center for American and International Law, December 12, 2008
    Planning, Zoning and Property Rights
    "Implementing the New Environmental Discourse: Sustainable Development Codes"

    Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), July 29, 2008
    61st Annual Meeting
    "Property Pieces in Compensation Statutes: Law's Eulogy for Oregon's Measure 37"

    University of Texas School of Law, March 6, 2008
    Land Use Conference
    "Navigating the Future Challenges to Green Building"

    Texas Wesleyan School of Law, February 8, 2008
    Texas Wesleyan Junior Faculty Workshop
    "Moving into the Second Generation of Green Building Laws"

    Texas Wesleyan School of Law, November 2, 2007
    Texas Wesleyan Junior Faculty Workshop
    "Property Pieces in Compensation Statutes"

    Lewis & Clark College, November, 2006
    "Local Environmental Law as Competition Between Science and Voice"

    Oregon State Bar Ass'n, August, 2006
    Real Estate and Land Use Section Annual Conference

    "Kelo Update"University of Oregon, October, 2005
    Measure 37 Roundtable
    "The Practical Effects of the Macpherson Decision"

    Lorman Education Services CLE, October, 2004
    Zoning and Land Use in Oregon and Washington
    "Washington's LUPA/Hearings Boards Process" and "Recent Land Use Case Law/Legislation"

    Oregon State Bar Ass'n, August 2003
    Real Estate and Land Use Section Annual Conference
    "A Tale of Two Systems: An Attorney's Perspective" (Washington and Oregon land use)

    Clark County Bar Association CLE, May, 2003
    Land Use and Environmental Law Conference, Organizer/Lecturer
    "Opposing a Land Use Application"

    University of Washington, April, 2003
    University of Washington Environmental Law Lecture Series
    "The Grass is Always Greener (and the Water Bluer) on the Other Side of the Columbia: A Comparison of Oregon and Washington Water Laws," Joint lecture with Professor Janet Neuman, Lewis & Clark Law School

    University of Oregon, March, 2003
    Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
    "Social Construction of Nature and Environmental Protection"


 Books Content Query



  • Co-authored article "Towards Engaged Scholarship."

  • Professor Hirokawa co-authored "The Most Important Research Questions Regarding Urban Ecosystem Services."

  • Contributions on Green Building and Ecosystem Services, in ACTING AS IF TOMORROW MATTERS: ACCELERATING THE TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABILITY, John C. Dernbach, ed. (2012, ELI)

  • Curtailing Ecosystem Exportation: Ecosystem Services as a Basis to Reconsider the Merits of Export-Driven Agriculture in Economies Highly Dependent on Agricultural Exports, 30 VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL 1 (2012) (with James Gathii)papers.cfm

  • Making Sense of a " Misunderstanding of the Planning Process": Examining the Relationship between Zoning and Rezoning Under the Change or Mistake Rule, 44 URBAN LAWYER 295 (2012)papers.cfm

  • From Euclid to the Development of Federal Environmental Law: The District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the Regulation of Physical Space, in A HISTORY OF THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO, Paul Finkelman and Roberta Alexander eds. (2012, Ohio University Press)From%20Euclid%20Chapter8.pdf


  • Urban Forests as Green Infrastructure, in GREENING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: LEGAL STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY, EFFICIENCY AND FISCAL SAVINGS, Keith H. Hirokawa and Patricia Salkin, eds. (American Bar Association, 2012)papers.cfm

  • Sustainable Habitat Restoration: Fish, Farms, and Ecosystem Services, 23 FORDHAM ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW 1 (2012) (with Charles Gottlieb)papers.cfm

  • Driving Local Governments to Watershed Governance, 42 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 157 (2012)papers.cfm

  • Sustainability and the Urban Forest: An Ecosystem Services Perspective, 51 Natural Resources Journal 233 (2012)papers.cfm

  • Teaching from the Dirt: Best Practices and Land Use Law Pedagogy, 2 PACE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW ONLINE COMPANION 68 (2011)papers.cfm

  • Sustaining Ecosystem Services through Local Environmental Law, 28 Pace Environmental Law Review 760 (Invited for Special Issue: Rediscovering Sustainable Development Law, 2011) (peer reviewed)papers.cfm

  • Three Stories about Nature: Property, the Environment, and Ecosystem Services 62 Mercer Law Review 541 (2011)papers.cfm

  • Property as Capture and Care, 74 Albany Law Review 175 (2011)papers.cfm

  • Disasters and Ecosystem Services Deprivation: From Cuyahoga to the Deepwater Horizon, 74 Albany Law Review 543 (2011)papers.cfm

  • Local Planning for Wind Power: Using Programmatic Environmental Impact Review to Facilitate Development, 33 Zoning and Planning Law Report 1 (Winter 2010) (with Andrew Wilson)papers.cfm

  • Chapter 35, Moratoria, in AMERICAN LAW OF ZONING, Patricia Salkin, ed. (2010)

  • Chapter 36, Local Environmental Law, in AMERICAN LAW OF ZONING, Patricia Salkin, ed. (2010)

  • Regulating Vacanct Property, 42 Urban Lawyer 627 (2010) (Co-authored with Ira Gonzalez)papers.cfm

  • Can Urban University Expansion and Sustainable Development Co-Exist?: A Case Study in Progress on Columbia University, 37 Fordham Urban Law Review 637 (Spring 2010) (with Patricia Salkin)papers.cfm

  • Contextualizing the Roots of Environmental Law, 38 Reviews in American History 153 (2010)contextualizingtheroots.pdf

  • Critical Enculturation: Using Problems to Teach Law, 2 Drexel Law Review 1 (2009)papers.cfm

  • A Challenge to Sustainable Governments?, 87 Washington University Law Review 203 (2009)papers.cfm

  • At Home with Nature: Early Reflections on Green Building Laws and the Transformation of the Built Environment, 39 Environmental Law 507(2009)papers.cfm

  • The Relevance of Land Use Law to Climate Change Preparedness: The Case of Sustainable Water Practices, Trends Vol. 40, No. 5 (2009) (ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources)papers.cfm

  • Property Pieces in Compensation Statutes: Law's Eulogy for Oregon's Measure 37, 38 Environmental Law 1111 (2008)papers.cfm

  • Dealing with Uncommon Ground: The Place of Legal Constructivism in the Social Construction of Nature, 21 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 387 (2003)papers.cfm

  • Some Pragmatic Observations About Radical Critique in Environmental Law, 21 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 225 (2002), reprinted in ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND LAW (Goldstein, ed. 2004)papers.cfm

  • The Prima Facie Burden and the Vanishing SEPA Threshold: Washington's Emerging Preference for Efficiency Over Accuracy, 37 Gonzaga Law Review 403 (2001/2002)papers.cfm

  • The Gap Between Informational Goals and the Duty to Gather Information: Challenging Piecemealed Review under the Washington State Environmental Policy Act, 25 Seattle University Law Review 343 (2001)papers.cfm

  • How Good is an Old Water Right? The Application of Statutory Forfeiture Provisions to Pre-Code Water Rights, 4 University of Denver Water Law Review 1 (2000) (Co-authored with Janet C. Neuman)papers.cfm

Forthcoming Publications

  • Town, Gown and Place-Based Sustainability: Collaboratingin the Shared Space, in HIGHER EDUCATION AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: EFFECTIVE TOWN AND GOWN LEGAL STRATEGIES, Cynthia Baker and Patricia Salkin, eds. (with Jonathan D. Rosenbloom) (forthcoming 2013, American Bar Association)papers.cfm

  • Local Planning to Preserve Wetlands Assets: Community,Baselines, and Ecosystem Services, in BEYOND RAPANOS: The NEXT GENERATION OF WETLAND REGULATION, Kimberly Connolly, ed. (forthcoming 2013)papers.cfm

  • Land Use Planning in a Climate Change Context, in RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION LAW, Jonathan Verschuuren, ed., (with Jonathan D. Rosenbloom) (forthcoming 2013)

  • The Role of Green Building in Climate Change Adaptation, in RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION LAW, Jonathan Verschuuren, ed., (with Aurelia Marina Pohrib) (forthcoming 2013)papers.cfm

  • Aligning Regulation with the Informational Need: Ecosystem Services and the Next Generation of Environmental Law, __ AKRON L. REV. __ (forthcoming 2013) (with Elizabeth J. Porter)

Selected Achievements

  • Professor Keith Hirokawa delivered a talk on “Sustaining Ecosystem Services through Local Environmental Law” as part of a seminar series presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its employees and partners.
  • Professor Keith Hirokawa accepted an invitation to deliver the Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville in Spring 2016.
  • Professor Keith Hirokawa delivered a presentation on environment and health at the First Annual Health & Human Rights Week, sponsored by the Institute for Health & Human Rights at the University at Albany, on Dec. 4, 2012.

  • Professor Keith Hirokawa discussed "The Development of Federal Environmental Law" on a panel for "Justice and Legal Change on the Shores of Lake Erie: A Hist​ory of the Northern District of Ohio" at the University of Akron School of Law on Sept. 27.

In the News

  • Keith Hirokawa, an associate professor at Albany Law School specializing in land use and environmental law, said there is no property right for something built without a permit.

    “In practice, what happens is, everybody’s a little more willing to work together, especially when the owner says they want to comply,” said Hirokawa.

    He added, “The dilemma is that sometimes zoning is very political, which means that local governments often have a political incentive to say, ‘I realize you broke the law, but let’s figure this out…because it will cost you a lot of money to tear that down.’”

    From the article "Landowner fed up after years of zoning gripes" in The Altamont Enterprise on July 11, 2013.
  • Professor Keith Hirokawa was interviewed on Oct. 17, 2012, for the Benchmark TV program about his book Greening Local Government.