Michael Wolf

Michael Allan Wolf

Professor of Law
Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law



Mailing Address:
Box #117625 Gainesville, FL 32611


(352) 273-0934

(352) 392-3005

Michael Allan Wolf joined the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law in August 2003, as the first occupant of the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law. Professor Wolf has been teaching and writing for more than three decades in the areas of land-use planning, property, local government, constitutional, environmental, and urban revitalization law, as well as legal and constitutional history. He earned his B.A. degree from Emory University, his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his A.M. (history) and Ph.D. (History of American Civilization) degrees from Harvard University. Professor Wolf, who was Professor of Law and History at the University of Richmond, held his first law teaching appointment at Oklahoma City University and has also served as a visiting professor, first at the University of Richmond, then at American University.

Since 2000, Professor Wolf has been the General Editor of Powell on Real Property (17 volumes), the most prominent treatise in the area that is regularly cited by state and federal courts. Other recent books include The Supreme Court and the Environment: The Reluctant Protector (2012), Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook (with Charles M. Haar, 2010), Powell on Real Property: Michael Allan Wolf Desk Edition (a one-volume abridgement of the treatise, 2009), The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler (2008), and Strategies for Environmental Success in an Uncertain Judicial Climate (editor and contributor, 2005). He recently completed the manuscript for the sixth edition of Land Use Law (with Daniel R. Mandelker). His writings have also appeared in a wide variety of law and law-related journals (including the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Fordham Law Review), many of them contributions to symposia on topics in land-use regulation, environmental law, eminent domain, and regulatory takings. His commentaries have been featured in national newspapers and on National Public Radio.

Professor Wolf’s scholarship can be found on:


Ph.D., Harvard University; A.M., Harvard University; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center; B.A., Emory University

Teaching and Scholarship

  • Land-use Planning, Environmental Law, Property, Local Government, Supreme Court and the Environment, Constitutional Law, Urban Revitalization, Legal and Constitutional History

Professional Activities

  • University of Florida: Joined College of Law in 2003 as Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Governmental Law.
  • University of Richmond: Professor of Law and History (1993-2003), Professor of Law (1990-2003), Associate Professor (1988-90), Visiting Professor (1987-88), State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award (2001), University Distinguished Educator Award (1992).
  • Previous Academic Experience: Oklahoma City University School of Law: Associate Professor (1985-88), Assistant Professor (1982-85); Harvard University, Teaching Fellow, History and Literature (1978-81); American University, Washington College of Law, Visiting Professor (1993-94).
  • Organizations: The Florida Bar, American Society for Legal History; Former Welfare Reform Subcommittee, Virginia Commission to Stimulate Personal Initiative to Overcome Poverty; Consultant, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Property (4 credits) - LAW 5400

  • The acquisition and possession of real and personal property, estates in land, introduction to future interests, landlord and tenant, easements, licenses, constitutional takings, zoning, public access, and covenants and rights incident to land ownership.

Land Use Planning and Control (3 or 4 credits) - LAW 6460

  • A study of the legal aspects of the allocation and development of land resources; private controls through covenants and easements; public regulation and control through zoning and subdivision regulation; social, economic and political implications of land regulations; eminent domain; selected current problems such as growth management, historic preservation, environmental regulations, and urban development. Prerequisite: Property

Constitutional Law (4 credits) - LAW 5501

  • Introduction to United States Constitutional Law. Topics include judicial enforcement of the Constitution to preserve individual liberties; judicial review; separation of powers; structure and powers of the federal government; and federalism.

Supreme Court and the Environment (2 credits) - LAW 6930

  • This course will explore the U.S. Supreme Court's record of deciding environmental law cases, from early cases involving interstate nuisance disputes and the use of public lands through the burst of statutory activity in the 1970s, to current issues of climate change and energy exploration. Students will be exposed to a limited and interconnected universe of decisional law that addresses a surprisingly wide range of topics including statutory interpretation, constitutional law development, standing, administrative law, and the tension between the legislative and executive branches.

Local Government Law, Taxation & Finance (2 or 3 credits) - LAW 6531

  • Examination of the substantive and procedural law of local governments, including organization, powers, procedure, personnel, and of financing sources, including state and local taxation, special assessments, user fees and borrowing.

Advanced Takings Law (2 or 3 credits) - LAW 6930

  • Advanced Takings closely examines the property clauses of the Constitution and the hotly-contested issues of just compensation, takings, and due process. In recent years, the takings clause of the 5th amendment has become a significant conduit for challenges to environmental and land use regulations. This course examines the history and recent development of the Supreme Court's complex and convoluted doctrine in this area.

Seminar: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Incorporation of Fundamental Rights (3 credits) - LAW 6936

Environmental Law (3 or 4 credits) - LAW 6471

  • Introduction to modern environmental regulation and its foundations, covering common law precursors to environmental law and a survey of major regulatory issues and techniques, focusing on the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, with examples drawn from other statutes such as the Clean Air Act.


  • Land Use Law (6th ed.) (with Daniel R. Mandelker) (LexisNexis, forthcoming)
  • The Supreme Court and the Environment: The Reluctant Protector. CQ Press/Sage, 2012.
  • Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook. Environmental Law Institute, West Academic, 2010 (with Haar)
  • Powell on Real Property: Michael Allan Wolf Desk Edition. Matthew Bender, LexisNexis, 2009.
  • The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler. University Press of Kansas, 2008.
  • Powell on Real Property (17 vols., gen. ed. Michael Allan Wolf). Matthew Bender, LexisNexis, since 2000.

Book Chapters

  • "Becoming a Legal Troublemaker," in Law Touched our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education 51 (Mildred W. Robinson & Richard J. Bonnie eds.) Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.
  • "Hysteria v. History: Public Use in the Public Eye," in Private Property, Community, and Eminent Domain (Robin Paul Malloy ed.) Ashgate Publishing, 2008.
  • "Introduction: A New Realism About Environmental Law," and "They Endured: Mining the Supreme Court’s Serviceable Past," in Strategies for Environmental Success in an Uncertain Judicial Climate (Michael Allan Wolf ed.) Environmental Law Institute, West Academic, 2005.
  • "Leo Frank, Emma Goldman, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.," in One Hundred Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History (Melvin Urofsky ed.)CQ Press, 2004.


  • “Climate, Takings, and the U.S. Supreme Court,” Planning, Oct. 2014 at 50
  • Conservation Easements and the "Term Creep" Problem, 2013 Utah Law Review 787, 33 Utah Environmental Law Review 101 (2013)
  • The Brooding Omnipresence of Regulatory Takings: Urban Origins and Effects, 40 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1835 (2013).
  • Strategies for Making Sea-level Rise Adaptation Tools "Takings-Proof," 28 Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law 157 (2013).
  • A Yellow Light for “Green Zoning”: Some Words of Caution About Incorporating Green Building Standards into Local Land Use Law, 43 Urban Lawyer 949 (2011).
  • William Faulkner, Legal Commentator: Humanity and Endurance in Hollywood’s Yoknapatawpha, 77 Mississippi Law Journal 957 (2008).
  • Looking Backward: Richard Epstein Ponders the “Progressive” Peril (Book Review), 105 Michigan Law Review 1233 (2007).
  • Supreme Guidance: Supreme Guidance for Wet Growth: Lessons from the High Court on the Powers and Responsibilities of Local Governments, 9 Chapman Law Review 233 (2006)
  • Yes, Thankfully, Euclid Lives, 73 Fordham Law Review 771 (with Haar, 2004).
  • Euclid Lives: The Survival of Progressive Jurisprudence, 115 Harvard Law Review 2158 (with Haar, 2002).
  • Earning Deference: Reflections on the Merger of Environmental and Land-Use Law, 32 Environmental Law Reporter 11190 (2002); also published in 20 Pace Environmental Law Review 253 (2002).
  • Pondering Palazzolo: Why Do We Continue to Ask the Wrong Questions, 32 Environmental Law Reporter 10367 (2002).
© 2014 University of Florida Levin College of Law, 309 Village Drive Gainesville, FL 32611
Report Facility Concern   Make a gift
Assistive Options

Top of page

Assistive Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a Usablenet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.