The Catholic University of America
Law Faculty

Lucia Ann Silecchia – Professor of Law and Director, Summer Program in Rome

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 senior editor of The Yale Law Journal,  a current topics editor of The Yale Law & Policy Review, and a Francis Coker teaching fellow.  Following her graduation from law school, she practiced law in the litigation department of 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 was the 2008-2009 chair of the 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, advised  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, taught 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.

Silecchia


Media

Quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Catholic News Service, U.S. Catholic Magazine, Newsweek, The Journal Record, and Science & Technology News, discussing topics such as the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court, environmental ethics, 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 frequent commentator on EWTN News Nightly, discussing topics including Vatican Bank reforms, Catholic media, environmental ethics, and Pope Francis' meeting the U.N. leaders. 

 


Research and Writing


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

PUBLICATIONS:

Law Review Articles:

  • Lucia A. Silecchia, The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities: Reflection 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 (Ronald J. Rychlak, ed., Rouman & Littlefield, upcoming 2014).

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).
 

SPEECHES & PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS

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)
 

BAR ADMISSIONS

• 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 as well.”

– Lucia Ann Silecchia

 

Contact

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

Phone: 202-319-5560

E-mail: Silecchia@law.edu
 

Courses

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

Education

J.D.
Yale Law School, 1990  

B.A. 
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.
     

Experience

  • 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)