Michael T. Roberts is the founding Executive Director of the newly established Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is well versed in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He has recently authored the first major treatise on food law, titled, Food Law in the United States, published by Cambridge University Press. He is also co-editor of Food Law & Policy, a new casebook to be published by Wolters Kluwer. He has also written several other chapters and articles on food law topics.
Mr. Roberts is actively involved in the development of food law and policy. He has guest lectured on food-law subjects at various law schools in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is a Research Fellow for Renmin University School of Law’s Center for Coordination and Innovation for Food Safety. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law for East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai), where he lectures annually on food law topics. He also lectures frequently and is involved with the University of Tuscia, European Food Law Center (Viterbo, Italy). He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Michigan State University, where he teaches a distant education course on China food law. He serves on the advisory board for the World Food Law Institute and on the Editorial Board for MDPI Laws, an open access scholarly journal, which has addressed food law topics.
Mr. Roberts entered the field of food law when, in 2000, he left his law practice and enrolled in the LL.M. program on agricultural law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, the only such program in the U.S. Since then, Mr. Roberts has engaged in a variety of professional capacities related to food law and policy. A few years after completing the LL.M. program, he was invited to join the University of Arkansas School of Law as a Research Professor of Law and as the Director of the National Agricultural Law Center, where he taught food law and policy and founded the law school's Journal of Food Law and Policy. He is the former first chair of the Lex Mundi (world's largest association of private law firms) international Agribusiness practice group. Mr. Roberts also was of counsel in Washington D.C. with Venable LLP, as a member of the firm's food and agricultural law practice group, and special counsel to the Roll Global farming and food companies headquartered in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for global food regulation, trade, and public policy. He was also a visiting scholar and consultant to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.
Mr. Roberts’s interest in food extends beyond its intersection with law. He is the lead instructor at UCLA in the development of a graduate food studies course. He serves on the Los Angeles Food Policy Council’s Leadership Board and chairs the Los Angeles Garden School Foundation. Mr. Roberts enjoys reading the history of food and in 2012 led the organization of a conference co-sponsored by UCLA Law and the UCLA Department of History on Why History Matters - We Are What We Eat: The History, Culture, and Politics of Food. Mr. Roberts was raised in the food business – a small family farm, produce brokerage company, and other food entities.