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About William L Want

Bill Want became a professor at the Charleston School of Law in August, 2005. From 1986 until then, he practiced environmental law from his office in Charleston, doing work throughout the country. Previously, he had been a senior trial attorney for nine years in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. In other employment, he was staff counsel for the National Wildlife Federation and an attorney for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He taught environmental law as a Visiting Professor at Maryland Law School and as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington Law School. Also, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Reporter. Mr. Want is the author of the treatise, The Law of Wetlands Regulation (Thomson West Publishing, 2014 ed.), and a co-author of the book, Hazardous Waste: Confronting the Challenge (Greenwood Press, 1987).

Mr. Want is a 1970 graduate of Yale Law School where he published in the Yale Law Journal as a student, and a 1967 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Washington & Lee University where he was Secretary of the Student Body. In 1989, he was awarded the Lyndhurst prize worth $120,000 for his contributions to environmental protection and he is listed in the Best Lawyers in America compilation. Mr. Want was a founding board member of the environmental organizations Southern Environmental Law Center and South Carolina Conservation League.

Some of Mr. Want’s cases included working on the landmark enforcement action by the Justice Department against Reserve Mining Company – the country’s largest water polluter at the time - for discharging toxic pollutants into Lake Superior. In private practice, he represented Howard Hughes Properties in obtaining environmental permitting for a large mixed-use development in Los Angeles. The Wall Street Journal described the approximately 1000 acres as the most valuable undeveloped property in America. Mr. Want represented Santee Cooper in litigation to close down the GSX hazardous waste landfill in Pinewood, South Carolina. He handled for environmental groups litigation against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the State of Georgia for road building in Atlanta that violated the Clean Air Act and various transportation laws. Mr. Want represented the Governor of South Carolina in litigation seeking to block the shipment of plutonium to South Carolina and he represented South Carolina at the trail level in defending the S.C. Beachfront Management Act (the suits culminated in the Lucas case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court).


2016 - Present Faculty Member, Charleston School of Law



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  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Land Use

Contact Information

Prof. William Want
The Charleston School of Law
81 Mary Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Phone: 843.329.1000