Professor of Environmental Law
Levin College of Law
Christine Klein’s research focuses on the areas of property law, natural resource law, and water law.
The field of property law is at a crossroad, and is ripe for reconceptualization by a generation of new casebooks. Klein is finalizing a book proposal for a property law casebook. She hopes to offer a new theoretical framework that reconciles the law’s view of immutable property rights with the reality of the changing landscape prompted by climate change and sea level rise, as well as an increasing understanding of the cross-border impacts of property rights and land uses.
Klein’s book Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster (with Sandra B. Zellmer) explores the history of our nation’s most important river, in light of evolving legal doctrines inextricably intertwined with the government’s efforts to minimize flood risk along the river. The timing of the publication of this book could not be better, given the vociferous national debate on flood insurance that now pervades coastal and inland territories throughout the country and is now in the center of the national spotlight. This publication is the latest in a long series of books, monographs, book chapters, articles, essays, and op-eds on natural resources and public policy published by Klein.
Based on her research for Mississippi River Tragedies, Klein plans to engage in a more nuanced legal analysis of the concept of “unnatural disaster,” which fits nicely into the emerging field of “disaster law.”
Klein also submitted annual summaries of Florida water law for a national treatise, Waters and Water Rights. She has participated on two related National Academy of Science Panels related to water use and endangered species issues in the California Bay-Delta region. As a result of this work, she has been a contributing co-author to three reports of the National Research Council.