A global expert on water and natural resources, Barton “Buzz” Thompson focuses on how to improve resource management through legal, institutional, and technological innovation. He was the founding Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, where he remains a Senior Fellow and directs the Water in the West program. He also has been a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) at Stanford’s Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. He founded the law school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Program. He also is a faculty member in Stanford’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER).
Professor Thompson served as Special Master for the United States Supreme Court in Montana v. Wyoming, an interstate water dispute involving the Yellowstone River system. He also is a former member of the Science Advisory Board of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He chairs the boards of the Resources Legacy Fund and the Stanford Habitat Conservation Board, is a California trustee of The Nature Conservancy, and is a board member of the American Farmland Trust, the Sonoran Institute, and the Santa Lucia Conservancy.
Professor Thompson is of counsel to the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, where he specializes in water resources and was a partner prior to joining Stanford Law School. He also serves as an advisor to a major impact investment fund. He was a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist ’52 (BA ’48, MA ’48) of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joseph T. Sneed of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.