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Sharmila Murthy
Portrait of Sharmila Murthy.

Professor of Law and Public Policy

School of Law; College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Professor Sharmila Murthy joined the Northeastern University in 2023 as professor of law and public policy within the School of Law and the College of Social Sciences. Initially, Professor Murthy is on leave to serve as director for environmental justice at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she previously served as senior counsel. Her scholarship focuses on examining legal barriers to achieving environmental justice, improving access to water, and addressing climate change. Murthy most recently served as professor of law and director of faculty scholarship and research at Suffolk University Law School.

Previously, Murthy was a visiting scholar and fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she co-founded the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Program at Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Murthy also litigated complex and class action cases as an associate with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

Murthy received her JD from Harvard Law School, her MPA from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and her BS in natural resources from Cornell University. She clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and was also a US Fulbright Scholar in India.

In recognition of her scholarship on access to drinking water and sanitation and on climate change, she was named the 2021 Haub Environmental Law Distinguished Junior Scholar by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She also received the Charles P. Kindregan Scholarship Award from Suffolk University Law School in 2022. She has been recognized with three different teaching awards from Suffolk University, and received several awards for her mentorship of students, including being named Faculty Advisor of the Year by the American Constitution Society (ACS) in 2021. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She also served as chair of the Environmental Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools, which received the Section of the Year Award in 2019 under her direction.

Murthy began her legal career as a public interest poverty lawyer. She was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to work with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, where she received the New Advocate of the Year award from the Tennessee Alliance of Legal Services.

Murthy has served on the boards of numerous non-profits, including the Conservation Law Foundation, HumanRight2Water and Justice at Work. She is a past president of the Boston lawyer ACS chapter. In addition, she previously served as the president of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and the founding president of the Nashville lawyer ACS chapter.

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