Austin D.J. Gerken is a senior environmental attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center with expertise on Southern Appalachian national forest and transportation and growth issues. His work primarily involves advocating for responsible land use policies before county and state officials, representing environmental clients in administrative processes and litigation, and litigating Endangered Species Act claims.

Gerken earned his Bachelor’s magna cum laude from Davidson College with honors in economics and then pursued a joint JD Law degree and a Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning degree from the University of Virginia on a full scholarship. He has served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review and has published in journals such as Urban Lawyer. After working as an associate with Shea and Gardner in Washington DC, Gerken moved to Asheville and joined the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Active in the community, Gerken is the Chair of the ADC Board of Directors, served as Chair of the WNC Alliance Board of Directors 2007-2009, and is Board Secretary for the Stop I3 Coalition.