McGeorge School of Law

John Kirlin

Founding Director of the Program in Public Policy, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy
John J. Kirlin
Phone: 916.733.2811

University of Notre Dame, BA
University of California, Los Angeles, MPA; PhD (Political Science)


Professor John J. Kirlin has decades of experience in policy analysis, administration and financing directed at complex public problems, especially in California. His expertise includes state-local fiscal relationships, regional governance, land use, and environmental and species protection policies. As an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, Professor Kirlin has served as an environmental policy advisor to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He held faculty positions at the University of Southern California for nearly 30 years and at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for 5 years. He was the founding editor of California Policy Choices (1984-94) and is author of dozens of articles, book chapters and monographs and books on fiscal limits and municipal services.

Professor Kirlin served as Executive Director of California's Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (2005-07), launching a policy process which created Marine Protected Areas in California waters. He then served (2007-08) as Executive Director of Delta Vision, under a Governor's Executive Order, resulting in proposals for major changes to California's water, ecosystem and other policies, first in a "vision" (2007) and then in a strategic plan (2008). That work served as the foundation for a major package of water/ecosystem/Delta legislation enacted in 2009. Professor Kirlin also served as Executive Director of the Delta Vision Foundation (2008-2010), the mission of which is to keep the recommendations of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force visible and relevant to policy makers, and is now a member of its Board of Directors. He also consults and serves as an expert witness on policy matters.