The Catholic University of America

SilecchiaProfessor Silecchia  received her B.A. degree summa cum laude from Queens College (C.U.N.Y.) and her J.D. from Yale Law School where she was a Francis Coker Teaching Fellow, senior editor of The Yale Law Journal, and current topics editor of The Yale Law & Policy Review. After law school, she was a litigation associate at Rogers & Wells (now Clifford, Chance) in New York City.

Professor Silecchia has taught at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law since 1991. She has been an ordinary professor since 2004, and served as the law school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2004 and 2005.  She also directs Catholic University’s Summer Law Program in Rome.

During her 2000-2001 sabbatical, she spent the fall semester as a Visiting Scholar at Yale Law School and the spring term in Rome conducting research on environmental ethics issues from the perspective of Catholic social thought. Her 2007-2008 sabbatical saw travel to Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

In April 2007, Prof. Silecchia was one of nine Americans to participate in a Vatican conference on Climate Change and Development, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. She has served on the planning committee for the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and hosted the 2008-2009 Conference on Catholic Legal Thought.

Professor Silecchia has written in the areas of environmental law and ethics, elder law, Catholic social thought, legal education, law and literature, and legal writing. She has presented at national and international conferences for legal educators, law librarians, lawyers, religious groups, students, and environmental professionals. She has also participated in projects of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace and the Environmental Justice Project of the U.S. Catholic Conference, assisted the American Bar Association's CEELI Project in critiquing draft business association laws for Estonia, participated in Catholic University's cooperative programs at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland, and lectured in Portugal as part of Catholic University's U.S. - Portuguese Law Initiative at the University of Lisbon.

She was named one of three national "Persons of Distinction" by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and was Catholic University's "Mirror of Justice Scholar" in 1996. She has also been a member of the teaching faculty for international law students in the Washington D.C.-based Institute for United States Law.

Professor Silecchia is admitted to the bars of New York, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States.



Quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Catholic News Service, U.S. Catholic Magazine, Newsweek, The Journal Record, and Science & Technology News, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, discussing topics such as the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court, environmental ethics, Pope Francis' encyclical on ecology, estate planning, Catholic social teaching, purchase agreements for preconstruction condominiums, and indoor air quality. Also written for the Wall St. Journal and National Review (online). 

Professor Silecchia has been a commentator on EWTN News Nightly, discussing topics including Vatican Bank reforms, Catholic media, environmental ethics, and Pope Francis' meeting the U.N. leaders.  Click here.


Research and Writing

Bulleted publications may be viewed in their entirety on Professor Silecchia's page on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).


Law Review Articles:

  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Pope Francis the Vatican of the Lawyer: Reflections on Responsibilty and Service54 J. Catholic Legal Studies__ (2015) (upcoming)
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities: Reflections on Four Flaws that Tarnish its Promise, 30 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol’y 96 (2013) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, on "Unease and Idealism: Reflections on Pope Benedict XVIs "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace and its Message for Law Teachers," 27 Notre Dame J. L. Ethics, & Pub. Pol'y 101 (2013)
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae and the 'Horizon of the Good', 1 J. Christian L. Thought 17 (2011) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Reflections on the Right to Environmental Health as a Condition for Development, 2 Comparative Law Portuguese-American Perspectives 301-344 (2010) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Integrating Catholic Social Thought in Elder Law and Estate Planning Courses: Reflections on Law, Age, and Ethics, 7 Villanova J. of Catholic Social Thought  353-405 (2010)
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, The "Preferential Option for the Poor:" An Opportunity and a Challenge for Environmental Decision-Making, 5 U. St. Thomas L. J.  87-142 (2008) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Discerning the Environmental Perspective of Pope Benedict XVI, 4 Villanova J. of Catholic Social thought  227-269 (2007) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Faith in the Public Square: Some Reflections on Its Role and Limitations From the Perspective of Catholic Social Teaching, 6 U. Md. J. of Race, Religion, Gender & Class 69-80 (2006) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Catholic Social Teaching and Its Impact on American Law: Observations on the Past and Reflections on the Future, 1 Villanova J. of Catholic Social Thought 277-312 (2004) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Environmental Ethics from the Perspective of NEPA and Catholic Social Teaching: Ecological Guidance for the 21st Century, 28 William & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol’y Rev.  659-798 (2004) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia,The Catalyst Calamity: Post-Buckhannon Fee-Shifting in Environmental Litigation and a Proposal for Congressional Action, 29 Columbia J. Envtl. L. 1-87 (2003) (lead article) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia,Things Are Seldom What They Seem: Lawyers and Judges in the Tales of Mark Twain, 35 Conn. L. Rev. 559-646 (2002) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Reflections on the Future of Social Justice, 23  Seattle U. L. Rev. 1121-1154 (2000) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Integrating Spiritual Perspectives With the Law School Experience: An Essay and an Invitation, 37 San Diego L. Rev. 167-209 (2000) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Pinning the Blame & Piercing the Veil in the Mists of Metaphor: The Supreme Court's New Standards for the CERCLA Liability of Parent Companies and A Proposal for Legislative Reform, 67 Fordham L. Rev. 115-202 (1998) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Of Painters, Sculptors, Quill Pens and Microchips: Teaching Legal Writers in the Electronic Age, 75 Nebraska L. Rev801-846 (1997) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, On Doing Justice and Walking Humbly With God: Catholic Social Thought on Law as a Tool For Achieving Justice, 46 Catholic U. L. Rev. 1163-1187 (1997) (Text of the "Mirror of Justice" Lecture delivered at Catholic University on November 18, 1996) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Ounces of Prevention & Pounds of Cure: Developing Sound Policies for Environmental Compliance Programs, 7 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev583-634 (1996 Symposium Issue) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Judicial Review of CERCLA Cleanup Procedures: Striking a Balance to Prevent Irreparable Harm, 20 Harvard Envtl. L. Rev. 339-395 (1996) (lead article) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Legal Skills Training in the First Year of Law School: Research? Writing? Analysis? or More?, 100 Dickinson L. Rev. 245-301 (1996) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, New York Attorney Malpractice Liability to Third Parties: Toward a Rule of Reason and Predictability, 15 Pace L. Rev. 391-457 (1995) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Designing and Teaching Advanced Legal Research and Writing Courses, 33 Duquense L. Rev. 203-248 (1995) 

Additional Writings:

  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Peter Stuyvesant vs. the Quakers: How a Revolt in Dutch New York Planted the Seeds for the Right to Religious Free Expression, The Wall St. J., Jan. 10, 2014, A11.

  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Opening Doors to Life,  Natl. Rev. On-Line, Dec. 4, 2013  
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Law and Life: the Dignity of Life and the Teaching of Law, 1 Pro Vita , 7-8, Jan. 2013
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, Reflections on the Link Between Faith and Intellect, (unpublished speech) (2011) 
  • Lucia A. Silecchia, After Copenhagen, Some Lessons from Rome (2010) (published on-line with the Catholic Conservation Center) 
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, When Do Claims Challenging a Statute's Effect on Pre-Existing Contracts Accrue?, Preview Of United States Supreme Court Cases, April 2002.
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Raising the Bar in Law School, Legal Times, Sept. 6, 1999 at S29. (reprinted as Lucia A. Silecchia, Law School Survival and Success, Texas Lawyer, Nov. 15, 1999 at 38).
  • Joseph DiMento & Lucia Ann Silecchia, A Time to Put Things Together and ... A Time to Question Strategies of Environmental Law in the Mid '90's in Rapporto Mondiale Sul Diritto Dell’Ambiente 659 (Stefano Nespor, ed., 1996) (American contribution to "A World Survey of Environmental Law" published by the Italian environmental law journal, Rivista Giurdica Dell’ Ambiente ).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Challenges for Environmental Professionals in a Climate of Increased Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Violations in Practical Environmental Directions: A Changing Agenda 55 (1996 Conference Proceedings of the National Association of Environmental Professionals).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia & Michael J. Malinowski, Square Pegs and Round Holes: Does the Sentencing of Corporate Citizens for Environmental Crimes Fit Within Guidelines?, 8 Fed. Sent. Rptr. 230 (1996).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Regulation and Certification of Environmental ProfessionalsJ. Envtl. L. & Prac38 (Nov./Dec. 1994).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, The Environmental Professionals Training and Certification Act: A CritiqueNAEP News 5 (May/June 1994) (reprinted as Lucia Ann Silecchia, Congress Seeks to Certify Environmental Professionals, Environmental Update  3 (Oct. 1994).


Book Chapters:

  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, The Call to Stewardship: A Catholic Perspective on Environmental Responsibility, in American Law From a Catholic Perspective through a clearer lens (Ronald J. Rychlak, ed., Rouman & Littlefield) (March 2015).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Skill Development, in J.P. Ogilvy et al., Learning From Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs  (2nd ed., Thompson West, 2007).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Management Skills, in J.P. Ogilvy et al., Learning From Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs (2nd ed., Thompson West, 2007).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Skill Development, in J.P. Ogilvy et al., Learning From Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs   (West 1998).
  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, Management Skills, in J.P. Ogilvy et al., Learning From Practice: A Professional Development Text for Legal Externs  (West 1998).

Encyclopedia Entries:

  • Lucia Ann Silecchia, completed encyclopedia entrees on Catholic Higher Education, Parochial Schools, John Foster Dulles, Fulton Sheen, John Carroll, Charles Carroll, the Baltimore Cathechism, and Clever v. N.J. Township for The Encyclopedia of Christianity in The United States (upcoming 2015). 



  • Evangelization and the Catholic Legal Professional
    4th Annual Lecture for Catholic Legal Professionals Hosted by the Archbishop of Baltimore
    May 21, 2015 (Baltimore, MD)
  • Environmental Ethics from a Religious Perspctive: Pope Francis and the Challenge of Sustainability
    1st Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Education
    Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
    May 8, 2015 (Tempe, AZ)

  • Pope Francis and the Vocation of of the Lawyer
    Fordham Law School
    April 29, 2015 (New York, NY)

  • Cummins Institute Lecture, Promises to Keep: Intergenerational Solidarity as a Touchstone for Law-Making
    Cummins Institute, St. Mary's College
    April 14, 2015 (Moraga, CA)
  • Panelist, Religious Beliefs and Political Agendas: What Role Should Faith Play in the Public Space
    AALS Annual Meeting
    January 3, 2015 (Washington, DC)

  • Fordham Law School Moderator, Pope Francis: The First Year 
    October 14, 2014 (New York, NY)

  • Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, The Future of Catholic Higher Education:  Changes & Challenges 
    September 9, 2014 (Bethesda, MD) 

  • The When and the Where of Love: The Complexity of Subsidiarity as a Framework for Law 
    Pepperdine University, Nootbar Conference on Law, Religion and Ethics
    February 8, 2014 (Malibu, CA)
  • Environmental Protection of Oceans in the Twenty First Century 
    University of Lisbon Conference on the 30th Anniversary of UNCLOS 
    December 10, 2012 (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Discussant, Climate Change and the Church in the Southeast:   Exploring Moral and Theological Resources and Principles 
    Duke University 
    Nov. 2012 (Durham, NC)

  • The Place of Religion in Law School and in the Practice of Law: Focus on Ethics 
    2012 Meeting Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, Touro Law School 
    May 2012 (Islip, NY)
  • International Human Rights and Environmental Law: Connecting Contemporary Legal Principles and Catholic Social Teaching
    Faculty Workshop, Marquette University 
    February 18, 2011 (Marquette WI)
  • More Will be Expected: Catholic Social Thought and International Environmental Stewardship 
    The 2011 Marquette University Simons Lecture, Marquette University 
    February 17, 2011 (Marquette, WI)
  • What Faith Has to do with the Intellectual Life 
    The Catholic University of America, Presidential Inaugural Event 
    January 18, 2011 (Washington, DC)
  • Catholic Coalition on Climate Change: Climate Ambassador Training 
    December 2-5, 2010 (Bethesda, MD)
  • The Changing World of Trusts and Estates: Scholarship 
    Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting 
    August 2, 2010 (Palm Beach, FL)
  • Toward a Pro-Life Environmental Movement 
    University Faculty for Life Annual Meeting 
    June 5, 2010 (Washington, DC)
  • Panelist, Discussion of Francis Cardinal George’s The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture 
    Conference on Catholic Legal Thought Loyola Law School 
    May 25, 2010 (Chicago, IL)
  • Integrating Catholic Social Thought in Elder Law and Estate Planning Courses: Reflections on Law, Age and Ethics 
    Joseph T. McMullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law Villanova Law School 
    September 25, 2009 (Villanova, PA)
  • The Environment, Poverty and Sustainable Development: Reflections on Our Common Responsibilities
    The Rosalie Rendu Roundtable on Religion and Science Lecture
    St. John’s University
    February 19, 2009 (Queens, NY)
  • Moderator and Discussant, Scholarly Career Planning as a Christian
    Conference on Catholic Legal Thought
    Seattle University
    May 29, 2008 (Seattle, WA)
  • Panelist, The Challenge of Inclusion: Avoiding the "Us" and "Them"
    Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools
    Boston College Law School
    April 8, 2008 (Boston, MA)
  • Reflections on the Right to Environmental Health as a Condition for Development
    University of Lisbon
    March 10, 2008 (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Ecological Guidance for the 21st Century
    Fordham Law School
    Catholic Lawyer's Program on Globalizing Justice
    November 1, 2007 (New York, NY)
  • The Preferential Option for the Poor: An Opportunity and a Challenge for Environmental Decision-making
    University of St. Thomas School of Law
    September 21, 2007 (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Participant, International Conference on Climate Change and Development
    Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
    April 26-27, 2007 (Vatican City)
  • Religion in the Public Square: Some Reflections on its Role and Limitations from the Perspective of Catholic Social Teaching
    University of Maryland
    Symposium on Religion and the Law
    April 11, 2006 (Baltimore, MD)
  •  Respondent to Sen. Lisa Maurkowski's Presentation, Climate Change: An Alaskan Perspective
    Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
    February 13, 2006 (Washington, DC)
  • Discerning the Environmental Perspective of Pope Benedict XVI
    Villanova University
    Conference on Catholic Social Thought and Ecology
    November 11, 2005 (Villanova, PA)
  • Catholic Social Teaching and Its Impact on American Law: Observations on the Past and Reflections on the Future
    Villanova Law School
    Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and the Law
    October 3, 2003 (Villanova, PA)
  • Environmental Stewardship
    St. Patrick's Church
    Lenten Lecture Series on Catholic Social Teaching
    April 16, 2003 (Washington, DC)
  • Perspectives on Law Teaching
    AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference
    October 18, 2001 (Washington, DC)
  • Introduction to Environmental Law in the United States
    Institute for United States Law
    August 1, 2001 and August 5, 2002 (Washington, DC)
  • Introduction to American Property Law
    Institute for United States Law
    July 26, 2001 and July 31, 2002 (Washington, DC)
  • Introduction to Corporate and Business Law
    Institute for United States Law
    July 24, 2001 and August 1, 2002 (Washington, DC)
  • Teaching Advanced Legal Research Through the Use of Research Journals: Sources & Strategies
    American Association of Law Librarians
    July 16, 2000 (Philadelphia, PA) (via videotape)
  • Spiritual Perspectives on Law Practice and Professionalism
    St. Thomas More Society of Rhode Island
    May 16, 2000 (Providence, RI)
  • Catholic Perspectives on the Future of Social Justice  "Major Address" at the Dedication of Seattle University Law School Building
    October 18, 1999 (Seattle, WA)
  • Bridging the Gap Between Teaching and Scholarship
    Association of Legal Writing Directors' Bienniel Conference
    July 31, 1999 (Boston, MA)
  • Litigation, Achieving Justice, and Catholic Social Thought
    St. Thomas More Society of Rockville
    May 20, 1999 (Rockville, MD) 
  • Reports from the Field: Advice to New Law Teachers
    AALS Workshop for New Law Teachers
    July 26, 1997 (Washington, DC)
  • Introduction to American Law: Legal Writing
    American Association of Law Librarians (Workshop for the Non-JD)
    July 16, 1997 (Washington, DC)
  • Ethics and The National Environmental Policy Act
    A.L.I. - A.B.A. Course on N.E.P.A.
    April 17, 1997 (Washington, DC)
  • Launching an Academic Career
    Yale Law School
    March 4, 1997 (New Haven, CT)
  • Ethical Dilemmas for the Environmental Lawyer as Policy Maker
    A.L.I. - A.B.A. 27th Annual "Environmental Law" Course of Study
    February 15, 1997 (Bethesda, MD)
  • Professors and Professing: Faith and Students in the Academy
    Law Professors' Christian Fellowship Conference on "Following Christ in the Legal Academy"
    January 3, 1997 (Washington, DC)
  • On Doing Justice and Walking Humbly With God: Catholic Social Thought on Law as Tool for Advancing Justice
    The Eighth Annual Mirror of Justice Lecture, Guild of Catholic Lawyers
    November 18, 1996 (Washington, DC)
  • Law Teaching as a Service Profession: Advice to New Law Teachers
    AALS New Law Teachers' Conference
    July 27, 1996 (Washington, DC)
  • Legal Writing in the Electronic Age
    Legal Writing Institute Biannual Conference
    July 19, 1996 (Seattle, WA)
  • Law, Legal Discourse and the New Technology (discussant)
    Joint Meeting of the Law & Society Ass'n/Research Committee on the Sociology of Law
    July 13, 1996 (Glasgow, Scotland)
  • Challenges for Environmental Professionals in a Climate of Increased Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Violations 
    21st Annual Conference, National Association of Environmental Professionals 
    June 4, 1996 (Houston, TX)
  • Corporate Compliance and the Self Evaluative Privilege 
    Symposium on Recent Developments in Environmental Crime (hosted by the FORDHAM JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW)
    February 29, 1996 (New York City, NY)
  • Preparing for a Career in the Legal Profession 
    Women & the Law Conference (sponsored by the Public Leadership Education Network)
    November 5, 1995 (Washington, DC)
  • Implementing Curricular Reform in Legal Research & Writing Programs 
    Association of Legal Writing Directors' Conference
    July 29, 1995 (San Diego, CA)
  • Scope of Coverage in Legal Research & Writing Programs 
    Luncheon Speaker, Mid-Atlantic Regional Legal Writing Conference
    May 22, 1995 (Villanova, PA)



• Supreme Court of the United States (May 1995)

• District of Columbia (November 1991)

• State of New York (May 1991)

• State of Connecticut (December 1990)


In Her Words ...

“The world today does not lack for real problems to be solved and people to be served.  For over twenty years, it’s been a great privilege to see CUA’s law students prepare here for lives spent solving and serving. I hope that students will always find here an education that teaches them how to do well, but also an education that challenges them to do good.”

– Lucia Ann Silecchia



Office: 419 Law School
The Catholic University of America
3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, D.C. 20064

Phone: 202-319-5560



  • Property
  • Environmental Law
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Elder Law Seminar
  • International Environmental Law


Yale Law School, 1990  

Queens College (C.U.N.Y.) 1987, Political Science and American Literature


Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental Law and Ethics
  • Catholic Social Thought and the Law
  • Elder Law and Estate Planning
  • Legal Writing
  • For additional information about our professors' areas of speciality, see the Catholic University Experts page.


  • Director, Catholic University International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome

  • Yale Law School Visiting Scholar, Fall Semester 2000
  • Participant, International Conference on Climate Change and Development (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City, 2007)