R. Nils Olsen


Professor Emeritus

Research Focus: Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Community Development, Environmental Law, Post-Conviction Remedies

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R. Nils Olsen Jr. served as dean of the University at Buffalo School of Law from 1998 to 2007. He previously served as vice dean for academic affairs. A 1974 graduate of the Columbia University School of Law, Olsen received his bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Wisconsin. He joined the School of Law faculty in 1978 after serving as a lecturer of law and clinical fellow at the University of Chicago School of Law. Prior to that, he was law clerk to Chief Judge Thomas E. Fairchild of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Olsen also has served as director of clinical education for the law school and has continued his research in federal post-conviction remedies and environmental policy.

He has represented numerous citizen environmental groups and several local municipalities in ongoing environmental disputes, ranging from the proposed siting of hazardous waste incinerators in Niagara County to assisting in the drafting of local land-use planning legislation. He was instrumental in negotiating and drafting a comprehensive agreement between a national hazardous waste disposal corporation and Niagara County municipalities that resulted in a 15-year ban on applications for approval of hazardous waste incinerators.