Sharmila  Murthy

Professor and Director of Faculty Scholarship and Research (on leave)

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Sharmila L. Murthy is Professor and Director of Faculty Scholarship and Research at Suffolk University Law School. She is currently on leave serving in the Biden Administration as Senior Counsel in the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Professor Murthy is an award-winning scholar, teacher, mentor, and leader. In recognition of her scholarship on access to drinking water and sanitation and on climate change, Professor Murthy was named the 2021 Haub Environmental Law Distinguished Junior Scholar by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. A list of her scholarly publications is available.

Professor Murthy has also received two different teaching awards from Suffolk University. In the spring of 2020, she earned the university-wide Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching. Later that year, she was also awarded the Innovative Teaching Award from the Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence at Suffolk University.

Professor Murthy is known for her strong mentorship and dedication to her students. In 2021, the American Constitution Society recognized her nationally as its Faculty Advisor of the Year. The Suffolk Black Law Students Association also gave Professor Murthy its Appreciation Award in 2021. In addition, the Suffolk Law Women of Color Law Student Association recognized Professor Murthy in 2017 with its Woman of the Year: Faculty Division award.

Professor Murthy has held several leadership roles with the American Association of Law Schools. In 2019, she served as Chair of the Environmental Law Section, which received the AALS Section of the Year Award under her direction. In 2018, she was also Chair of the Human Rights Section.

Previously, Professor Murthy was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she served as the lead investigator for water for the Project on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development through the Sustainability Science Program. She also co-founded the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Program as a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy Schools Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. In addition, Professor Murthy taught for many years in the Water Diplomacy Workshop. In 2014, Professor Murthy was selected as a finalist for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Professor 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 created the Refugee and Immigrant Partnership Program for Legal Empowerment and litigated predatory lending and foreclosure rescue scam cases. For these efforts, she received the New Advocate of the Year award from the Tennessee Alliance of Legal Services. Professor Murthy also litigated complex and class action cases as an associate with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, where she represented members of the public in mortgage fraud and natural resource cases.

Professor 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She was also a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in India, where she studied the rural microfinance program of the Self-Employed Women's Association.

Professor Murthy also volunteers with several civic and legal organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Conservation Law Foundation, on the Board of HumanRight2Water, and on the Board of Justice at Work. She is the Faculty Advisor for the Suffolk Law Chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS) and previously served as 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.


  • BS, Cornell University
  • MPA, JD, Harvard University




Bar Admittance

  • MA
  • NY
  • TN

Professor of Law Sharmilla Murthy

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Courses Taught

  • Property
  • International Environmental Law & Policy
  • Environmental Law Survey