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. In the fall of 2015, she was appointed Catholic University's Vice Provost for Policy.

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 participated in 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; 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 provides commentary to media outlets on matters related to religion, environmental ethics, elder law, and Catholic social thoughts.

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.

In 2015, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Queens College Political Science Department for teaching that "prepares your own students to combine faith with a passion for justice."




Commentator on EWTN News Nightly, TeleSur Television, and National Public Radio (NPR).

Published op-ed pieces in The Wall St. J., National Review On-line, and The Environmental Forum.

Quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, U.S. Catholic Magazine, Crux, Catholic News Service, Catholic News Agency, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Newsweek, The Journal Record, Deseret News, and Science & Technology News, discussing topics such as the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court; moral considerations in estate planning; environmental ethics; Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, Catholic social teaching; proposed assisted suicide legislation in the District of Columbia; purchase agreements for preconstruction condominiums; and indoor air quality.

Research and Writing


Lucia A. Silecchia, Laudato Si’ and Care for Our Common Home:  What Does It Mean for the LegalProfessional?, 6 Seattle J. Envt’l. L.  1  (2016).

Lucia A. Silecchia, “Social Love” as a Vision for Environmental Law:  Laudato Si’ and the Rule of Law, 10 Liberty U. L. Rev. 371 (2016).

Lucia A. Silecchia, Pope Francis and the Vocation of the Lawyer:  Reflections on Responsibility and          Service, 54 J. Catholic Legal Studies 23 (2015).

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 (2014) (available at           

Lucia A. Silecchia, On “Unease” and “Idealism:”  Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI’s “Educating        Young People in Justice and Peace” and Its Message for Law Teachers, 27 Notre Dame J. L.Ethics, & Pub. Pol'y 101 (2013) (available at (available at 

Lucia A. Silecchia, Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae and the “Horizon of the Good,” 1 J. Christian L. Thought 17 (2011) (available at (available at

Lucia A. Silecchia, Reflections on the Right to Environmental Health as a Condition for Development,        2 Comparative Law Portugese-American Perspectives 301 (2010) (available at  (available at 

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 (2010) (available at  

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 (2008) (available at 

Lucia A. Silecchia, Discerning the Environmental Perspective of Pope Benedict XVI, 4 Villanova J.            Of Catholic Social thought 227 (2007) (available at 

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. L. J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 69 (2006) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Catholic Social Teaching and Its Impact on American Law:  Observations on the Past and Reflections on the Future, 1Villanova J. of Catholic Social Thought 277 (2004) (available at 

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 (2004) (available at 

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 (2003) (lead article) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Things Are Seldom What They Seem:  Lawyers and Judges in the Tales of Mark Twain, 35 Conn. L. Rev. 559 (2002) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Reflections on the Future of Social Justice, 23 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1121 (2000) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Integrating Spiritual Perspectives With the Law School Experience:  An Essay andan Invitation, 37 San Diego L. Rev. 167 (2000) (available at 

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 (1998) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Of Painters, Sculptors, Quill Pens and Microchips:  Teaching Legal Writers in theElectronic Age, 75 Nebraska L. Rev. 801 (1997) (available at 

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 (1997) (Text of the “Mirror of Justice” Lecture delivered at Catholic University on November 18, 1996) available at ttp:// 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Ounces of Prevention & Pounds of Cure:  Developing Sound Policies for            Environmental Compliance Programs, 7 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 583 (1996 Symposium Issue) (available at

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Judicial Review of CERCLA Cleanup Procedures:  Striking a Balance to Prevent

Irreparable Harm, 20 Harvard Envtl. L. Rev. 339 (1996) (lead article) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Legal Skills Training in the First Year of Law School:  Research?  Writing? Analysis? or More?, 100 Dickinson L. Rev. 245 (1996) (available at

Lucia Ann Silecchia, New York Attorney Malpractice Liability to Third Parties:  Toward a Rule ofReason and Predictability, 15 Pace L. Rev. 391 (1995) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Designing and Teaching Advanced Legal Research and Writing Courses, 33 Duquense L. Rev. 203 (1995) (available at


Additional Writings

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Give Thanks for Your Brothers and Sisters, U.S. Catholic (on-line), July 28, 2016     (available at

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Tapping Our Better Nature to Solve Global Woes, 33 Envtl. Forum 55            (March/April 2016). 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, (with Leslie Carothers, Bob Perciasepe and Caroline Farrell, Dialogue:  The            Morality of Market Mechanisms, 46 ELR 10005 (Jan. 2016) (available at 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, A Witness First Lives the Life He Proposes, (May 21, 2015) (available at   

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, 2014 (available at!). 

Lucia A. Silecchia, Law and Life:  The Dignity of Life and the Teaching of Law, 1 Pro Vita, Vd 3, 7-9            (January 2013). 

Lucia A. Silecchia, Reflections on the Link Between Faith and Intellect, January 18, 2011 (available at 

Lucia A. Silecchia, After Copenhagen, Some Lessons from Rome, (published online with the Catholic Conservation Center and (available at 

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 Professionals, J. Envtl. L. & Prac. 38 (Nov./Dec. 1994). 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, The Environmental Professionals Training and Certification Act:  A Critique, NAEP 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, Laudato Si’ and the Tragedy of the “Throwaway Culture,” in Laudato Si’:             Reflections on The Legal, Political and Moral Authority Of Catholic Social Thought In An Era Of Climate Crisis (Frank A. Pasqule & Michael J. Perry, eds.) (upcoming 2017). 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, The Call to Stewardship:  A Catholic Perspective on Environmental Responsibility,   in American Law From A Catholic Perspective (Ronald J. Rychlak, ed., Rowman & Littlefield) (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) and (1st ed., West 1998). 

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) and (1st ed., West 1998). 

Encyclopedia Entries

Lucia A. Silecchia, completed entries on Catholic Higher Education, Parochial Schools, John Foster     Dulles, Fulton Sheen, John Carroll, Charles Carroll, the Baltimore Catechism, and Clever v. N.J.      Township for The Encyclopedia Of Christianity In The United States (upcoming 2016).

Unpublished Reports

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Comments Submitted to the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace:Response to the Chairman’s Paper for the Second Prepatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (March 14, 2002). 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, The Environmental Agenda Of The 104th Congress:  A Legislative Analysis Submitted To The United States Catholic Conference (February 20, 1996). 

Lucia Ann Silecchia, Comments:  Draft Forms Of Business Enterprises Law For Estonia
(March 25, 1995).


Conflicts and Laudato Si’ Keynote Speaker
Fordham University School of Law
Dispute Resolution Society Symposium
November 2, 2016 (New York City NY) (upcoming) 

Human Rights and Human Dignity:  Protecting the Human Person in a Fragile World
International Congress on the Environment and Law:  Responsibility and Participation
November 15, 2015 (Castelgandolfo, Italy) 

Co-Organizer and Moderator, Conference on Laudato Si’ and the Protection of “Our Common”:
Faith and Science in Conversation, The Catholic University of America,
October 26, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) 

Panelist, Pope Francis and Laudato Si’
Loyola Law School
October 11, 2015 (Chicago, IL) 

Laudato Si’ and Care for Our Common Home:  What Does it Mean for the Legal Professional?        Dinner Speech, Diocese of Austin Red Mass
October 8, 2015 (Austin, TX) 

“Social Love” as a Vision for Environmental Law:  Laudato Si’ and the Rule of Law
Liberty University Law Review Symposium
October 2, 2015 (Lynchburg, VA) 

Panelist, The Morality of Market Mechanisms
Environmental Law Institute Public Seminar
October 1, 2015 (Washington, D.C.)

Panelist, Pope Francis and the Ecology of Life
Discussion Sponsored by Catholic University Students for Life
September 15, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) 







  • Participant, The Parma Seminar, The University of Parma (June 18-28, 2012)
  • National Conference on Catholic Legal Thought
    - Chair and Conference Host, 2008 - 2009
  • Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools (2006 - present)
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association (1993 - present)
  • Member, New York State Bar Association (1991 - present)
  • Member, John Carroll Society (1995 - present)
  • Advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Global Warming Project (2006)
  • Member, Association of Legal Writing Directors (July 1995 - present)
  • Chair, Association of Legal Writing Directors Scholarship Committee (July 1999 - June 2000)
  • Appointed to New York State Bar Association Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar (1995- 2000)
  • Member, Legal Writing Institute (1991 - present)
  • Legal Writing Institute Mentor for Legal Writing Teachers (1996 - 2000)
  • Member, Federalist Society (1998 - present)
  • Mentor, National Italian American Foundation Mentor Program (2000)
  • Member, Supreme Court Historical Society (1999 – 2004)
  • Graduate “Mentor in Residence,” Yale Law School (March 1997)
  • Advisor to the Environmental Justice Project of the United States Catholic Conference (1996)
  • New York State Bar Association Law Student Pro Bono Award Selection Committee (1996)
  • Assisted American Bar Association’s CEELI in Critiquing Draft Business Association Laws for Estonia (1995)
  • Advisor to the Education Committee of the National Association of Environmental Professionals regarding its Proposals for Environmental Professional Certification and Academic Centers (1994)



• 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 twenty-five 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.


  • Vice Provost for Policy, The Catholic University of America
  • 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)