William J. Snape, III

Director of Adjunct Faculty Development
Fellow in Environmental Law

Office: Room 381
Phone: 202-274-4443
E-mail: vCard


William (Bill) J. Snape, III is a fellow and practitioner-in-residence at American University, Washington College of Law, as well as the director of adjunct faculty development. Snape is also senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity, where he works on endangered species, public lands and energy issues. He is co-producer of “Hot Air,” a radio podcast show on global warming policy and regulation. Previously, Snape was vice president and chief counsel at Defenders of Wildlife for over a decade. Snape has litigated a number of environmental and related cases in federal court, and argued Center for Biological Diversity v. Interior (D.C. Cir. 2009), which rejected the federal government’s plan for oil and gas drilling off the coast of Alaska in part because of climate change concerns. Snape is the author of numerous articles on natural resource issues, including the book Biodiversity and the Law published by Island Press. He presently serves on the President’s Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, as well as several non-profit boards. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Honors College at the University of California, Los Angeles, and received his law degree from George Washington University. Snape is a masters’ swimmer and water polo player, has coached at both the Division I and Division III levels of college swimming, and was named the 2011 world swim coach of the year by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. He has two teenage boys.



Areas of Specialization

  • International Environmental Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Litigation Against the Federal Government
  • Administrative Law
  • Non-Profit Law and Philanthropy
  • Public Interest Law
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Information Law and Privacy

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., George Washington University 1989
  • B.A., University of California at Los Angeles 1986 (magna cum laude)

  • + Selected Publications

    • Books

    • William Snape, Biodiversity and the Law (Snape, ed., Island Press 1996).
    • William Snape, A Proactive, State-Based, Incentive-Driven Policy for Habitat Conservation, in Population Viability Analysis (U. Chi. Press 2002).
    • William Snape, Anatomy of an Environmental Scapegoat, in Endangered Species Act Handbook (ABA 2002).
    • Other Publications

    • William Snape, Protecting Ecosystems Under the Endangered Species Act, 41 Washburn L.J. 14 (Fall 2001).
    • William Snape, An Ecological Minute to the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty: Impossible or Inevitable?, in Water and Environmental Issues of the Colorado River Border Region (P. Inst. 1998).
    • William Snape, Using Citizen Suits to Protect Biodiversity, 6 U. Balt. J. Envtl. L. 1 (Fall 1997).
    • William Snape, Standard Scientific Procedures for Implementing Ecosystem Management on Public Lands, in The Ecological Basis of Conservation (Springer 1997).
    • William Snape & Naomi Lefkovitz, GATT's Environmental Miranda: Are Process Standards Getting Due Process, 27 Cornell Intl. L.J. 777 (1994).