Professor Torres is former president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). A leading figure in critical race theory, Torres is also an expert in agricultural and environmental law. He came to UT Law in 1993 after teaching at The University of Minnesota Law School, where he also served as associate dean. Torres has served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as counsel to then U.S. attorney general Janet Reno.
His latest book, The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2002) with Harvard law professor Lani Guinier, was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years.” Torres’ many articles include “Translation and Stories” (Harvard Law Review, 2002), “Who Owns the Sky?” (Pace Law Review, 2001) (Garrison Lecture), “Taking and Giving: Police Power, Public Value, and Private Right” (Environmental Law, 1996), and “Translating Yonnondio by Precedent and Evidence: The Mashpee Indian Case” (Duke Law Journal, 1990).
Torres has served on the board of the Environmental Law Institute, the National Petroleum Council and on EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute. Torres was honored with the 2004 Legal Service Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for his work to advance the legal rights of Latinos. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford law schools.