Ernest B. Abbott

Portrait of Ernest B. Abbott
Professorial Lecturer in Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
[email protected]

Ernest B. Abbott is founder of FEMA Law Associates, PLLC, a private firm that, since 2002, has provided legal services to the emergency management community, with particular emphasis on the laws and regulations governing preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation programs of the Department of Homeland Security. 

From 1997 to 2001 Professor Abbott served as General Counsel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As General Counsel, he provided legal advice to the Director and all of FEMA’s Offices and Directorates. In addition, Professor Abbott managed all FEMA regulatory development and coordinated the legislative program for all FEMA agencies. He also created FEMA’s Office of Dispute Resolution in an effort to get disputes resolved short of litigation. Prior to coming to FEMA, Professor Abbott served for eleven years as a senior legal and regulatory executive at a major natural gas pipeline in Houston, Texas, and served for six years as an attorney advisor in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington, D.C. 

He is co-editor of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A legal Guide for State and Local Governments: A Legal Guide (2d edition, ABA Press 2010; 1st edition 2005). Recent law journal publications include “Floods, Flood Insurance, Litigation, Politics—and Catastrophe: the National Flood Insurance Program” (Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal, Summer 2008), and “Law, Federalism, the Constitution, and Control of Pandemic Flu” (Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, Summer 2008). Professor Abbott also co-authored, with D. Brosnan, the chapter on “Legislative Authorities and Regulatory Issues” in K. Koenig and C. Schultz’s Disaster Medicine (Cambridge University Press, 2009). 

Professor Abbott is currently a member of the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness. He served for six years as Chair and is now Vice-Chair of the State and Local Government Law Section’s Committee on Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He served on the ABA Hurricane Katrina Task Force Legal Subcommittee.


BA, Swarthmore College; JD, Harvard Law School; MPP, Harvard University