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Sean Lyness
Contact Information

Areas of Expertise
  • Civil Procedure
  • Administrative Law
  • State & Local Government Law
  • Property Law
  • Government Lawyering
  • Environmental Law and Justice

Sean Lyness

Faculty Fellow


JD, Harvard Law School
AB, Political Science, Brown University

Professional Background

Professor Sean Lyness joined New England Law in 2019, first as an Instructor of Legal Writing and then as a Faculty Fellow. After law school, he clerked for the Presiding Justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court and worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General. During his time at the Office of the Attorney General, he prosecuted environmental cases, defended the state in tort, employment, and constitutional actions, and adjudicated public records and open meetings disputes.
Professor Lyness’s research interests are in environmental law at the state and local levels. He has published or has papers forthcoming in the Georgetown Environmental Law Review, the Harvard Environmental Law Review Online, and the Roger Williams University Law Review, among others.

Featured Publications

The Local Public Trust Doctrine, Georgetown Environmental Law Review (GELR), Forthcoming (2021)

A Doctrine Untethered: 'Passage Along the Shore' Under the Rhode Island Public Trust Doctrine, Roger Williams University Law Review, Forthcoming (2021)

Justice Kagan and Judicial Conversationalism, New England Law Review | Forum (2021)


Tangled Up in Procedure: The State and Local Climate Cases After Baltimore and Ford, Harvard Environmental Law Review, Forthcoming (2021)

Expert suggests Rhode Islanders might need to rethink the law on shoreline rights, The Boston Globe (Commentary) (2021)

Why Narragansett Town Beach can charge a $12 entry fee just to walk on, Providence Journal (Commentary) (2021)