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Joseph P. Tomain


Joseph P. Tomain

Dean Emeritus and the Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law


BA, University of Notre Dame
JD, The George Washington University

Areas of Interest

  • Contracts
  • Energy Law and Regulation
  • Law and Literature
  • Regulatory Policy

Joseph P. Tomain is Dean Emeritus and the Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law. A highly respected professor and scholar, his teaching and research interests focus in the areas of energy law, land use, regulatory policy, and contracts. Before returning to the faculty in 2004, he had previously served the College of Law as Dean for 15 years.

Dean Tomain has written extensively in the energy law field. His energy-related publications include: Energy Law in the United States of America (Kluwer 2015), Energy Law and Policy (2014), Clean Power Energy Politics: The Democratization of Energy (forthcoming), Ending Dirty Energy Policy: Prelude to Climate Change (2011), Energy Law in a Nutshell ((2ned ed. 2011), Regulatory Law and Policy (3rd ed.2003), and Nuclear Power Transformation, among others. Dean Tomain also has published books entitled Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation (2014) and Creon’s Ghost: Law, Justice and the Humanities (2009).

In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Dean Tomain serves on a number of professional and civic organizations. He is Chair Emeritus of the Board of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and Chair of Knowledge Works Inc. He also serves on the Boards of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, and the Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment. He has been actively involved with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as well as other state and local bar associations. Dean Tomain is a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

In his years in academia, Dean Tomain also has held positions as Visiting Environmental Scholar, Lewis & Clark Law School; Distinguished Visiting Energy Professor, Vermont Law School; Visiting Scholar in the Program of Liberal Studies, University of Notre Dame; Visiting Fellow, Harris Manchester College, Oxford University; Fulbright Senior Specialist in law in Cambodia; and National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow, Stanford University.

Before beginning his academic career, Dean Tomain practiced general litigation in New Jersey. He received his J.D. from George Washington University and his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.



    • Energy Law in the United States of America (with Davies) (Wolters Kluwer 2015).
    • Energy Law and Policy (2015 West Publishing) (with Davies, Klass, Orsofsky and Wilson).
    • Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation (2014 Oxford University Press with Shapiro).
    • Energy Law in a Nutshell (with Judge Richard Cudahy) (Chinese Translation 2012).
    • Energy Law in a Nutshell (2nd ed. 2011) (with Cudahy).
    • Ending Dirty Energy Policy: Prelude to Climate Change (2011 Cambridge University Press).
    • Creon's Ghost: Law, Justice, and the Humanities (Oxford University Press, 2009)
    • Energy Law in a Nutshell (Thomson-West, 2004) (with Richard Cudahy)
    • Regulatory Law and Policy (LexisNexis, 3d ed. 2003) (with Sidney Shapiro)
    • Energy Law and Policy for the 21st Century (Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 2000) (with Hicky, Kelly, Mansfield, and Zillman)
    • Nuclear Power Transformation (Indiana University Press, 1987)

Book Chapters

    • Section, The Clean Power Plan: Issues to Watch (2015)(a White paper published by the Center for Progressive Reform) available here.
    • United States Energy Law & Policy, International Encyclopedia of Energy Law (with Davies) (Walters Kluwer 2015) (400+ ms pages).
    • Section, Regulatory Blowout: How Regulatory Failures Made the BP Disaster Possible, and How the System Can be Fixed to Avoid a Recurrence (Center for Progressive Reform 2010).
    • The iUtility in Beyond Environmental Law: Policy Proposals for a Better Environmental Future (Cambridge University Press 2010).
    • Dirty Energy Policy in Economic Thought and U.S. Climate Change Policy (MIT University Press 2010)
    • Dirty Energy Policy in Climate Change and the Neoliberal Model (David Dreisen ed.) (MIT University Press, 2009)
    • The iUtility in The New Environmentalism (Alyson Flournoy ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
    • Rethinking Energy Law and Policy in Climate Change Reader (William Rogers ed.) (Carolina Academic Press, 2009)
    • Editor, The Year in Review 2006 Report of the Special Committee on Restructuring the Electric Industry in Environment, Energy, and Resources Law: The Year in Review 2006 (ABA, 2007)
    • Editor, The Year in Review 2005 Report of the Special Committee on Restructuring the Electric Industry in Environment, Energy, and Resources Law: The Year in Review 2005 (ABA, 2006)
    • Energy and Natural Resources Law in The Oxford Companion to American Law (2004)
    • Whither Natural Monopoly: The Case of Electricity in The End of a Natural Monopoly: Deregulation and Competition in the Electric Power Industry (Peter Z. Grossman & Daniel H. Coles, eds.) (2003)
    • Electric Industry Restructuring, Finance, Mergers, and Acquisitions in Environment, Energy, and Resources Law: The Year in Review (ABA, 2002) (with Dowden)
    • Electric Industry Restructuring, Finance, Mergers, and Acquisitions in Environment, Energy, and Resources Law: The Year in Review (ABA, 2001) (with Dowden, Lonian, & Conner)

Articles, Essays & Book Reviews


  • Lecture, Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy, Miami University Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (March 1, 2016).
  • Lecture, Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy, Denver University Sturm School of Law (February1, 2016).
  • Lecture, Shale and Coal Gas Development in the United States, University of Lorraine Faculty of Law and Faculty of Mining, Nancy, France (November 16, 2015).
  • Lecture, Energy Law and Policy Past and Future, FERC Trial Lawyers and Office of Legal Counsel (September 24, 2015).
  • Clean Power and the Democratization of Energy, 4th Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures, Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute , Florence, Italy June 12, 2015.
  • The Democratization of Energy, This is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law February 13, 2015.
  • The Future of Progressive Regulation, 5th Biennial ECPR Standing Group for Regulatory Governance Conference, Barcelona, Spain June 25- 27, 2014.
  • Discussant,3rd Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructure: Taking Stock of Current Challenges, Florence School of regulation, Florence, Italy June 13, 2014.
  • Discussant, “Extreme Deference” to Agency Interpretations of Vague and Ambiguous Regulations, Law 7 Economics Center, George Mason University School of Law, May 20-21, 2014.
  • The Political Economy of Clean Energy, Ohio Energy: Emerging Issues in Law, Ohio State University School of Law, April 9, 2014.
  • The Future of Electric Utilities, Nova Southeastern University Law School, Energy Climate Disruption and Sea Level Rise–New Directions in Law and Policy, February 7,2014.
  • Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Annual Meeting Milan Italy, July 27-29, 2013.
  • Engineering and Energy Law, UC College of Engineering (February 15, 2013).
  • Nuclear Power Law, Vanderbilt School of Law (February 22, 2013).
  • The Law of Clean Energy,14th Annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit, Florida Coastal School of Law (February 28, 2012).
  • Shale Gas and Clean Energy Policy, Law Review Symposium: Hydraulic Fracturing, Case Western School of Law (November, 2012).
  • Smart Grid Innovation: Policy, Politics and Law, Fourth Annual Conference on Competition and Network Industries, Brussels, Belgium (November 25, 2011).
  • Panelist: “The Role of Washington in Promoting Energy Innovation," University of San Diego Law School (April 15, 2011).
  • Panelist: “Regulating Energy Innovation” University of Utah School of Law Conference The Future of Energy Law (January 21, 2011).
  • Panelist: Student Learning Outcomes @ Southeastern Association of Law Schools (August 3, 2010).
  • Lecture: Ending Dirty Energy Policy @ Graduate Students Lewis & Clark School of Law (March 3, 2010).
  • Panelist: Energy Regulation @ University of Toledo Law Review Symposium (March 26, 2010).
  • Lecture: Three Faces of Justice @ Faculty Colloquium Lewis & Clark School of Law (March 30, 2010).
  • Panelist: Venture Regulation @ Wake Forest University Conference Energizing the Future (February 11, 2010).
  • Panelist: New Insights Into and Scholarship About the Goals and Responsibilities of Legal Education, Southeastern Association of Law Schools, July 31, 2008.
  • Paper: The iUtility: Current Climate Change Initiatives at Suffolk University Law School (April 25, 2008).
  • Paper: Perplexity: Narrative & Narration, University of Cincinnati College of Law Review Symposium on Law & Literature: Narration and the Poetry of Lawrence Joseph (February 29, 2008).
  • Paper: Thinking and Practicing Law: Lessons from Literature and Philosophy, Denison University All College Colloquium (February 27, 2008).
  • Lecture: The Conflict Between Man=s Law and Higher Law: Three Responses, Denison University Philosophy Colloquium (February 27, 2008).
  • Paper, The Justice Institute and Legal Education, Denison University PPE Colloquium (February 27, 2008)
  • Law, Language, Energy and the Environment, Second Annual Energy Summer Conference, Vermont Law School (July 20, 2007)
  • Environmental Stewardship: An Exploratory Program for Religious Leaders, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, Bozeman, Montana (June 24-27, 2007)
  • Imagining a Public Interest Energy Law Firm, Plenary Session, 13th Annual University of Florida Public Interest Environmental Conference (March 2, 2007)
  • Two Thumbs on the Scale, High Temps, High Tech Solutions to the Energy and Environmental Equation, Vermont Law School (October 13, 2006)
  • Katrina' Energy Agenda: One Year Later, Katrina Consequences: What Has the Government Learned? Loyola University New Orleans College of Law (August 25, 2006)
  • Lawyers, Judges, Law and the Humanities, Harris Manchester Law Society, Oxford University (March 8, 2006)
  • Eminent Domain in Kelo and Norwood, The Use of Eminent Domain for Economic Redevelopment: A Necessary Tool for Cities—Or an Unconstitutional Trampling of Property Rights? University of Dayton School of Law (September 26, 2005)
  • Nuclear Futures, Symposium Environmental Regulation, Energy, and Market Entry, Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum (November 19, 2004)
  • Humanities, Ethics, and the Legal Profession: Teaching Ethics to the Public, Private and Professional Sectors, Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice & Governance, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia (April 7-8, 2001)
  • A Code of One's Own, Notre Dame Legal Education Symposium (March 23, 2001)
  • Ethics and Professionalism in a Changing Legal Profession, Dinsmore & Shohl Continuing Legal Education Program (December 11, 1997)
  • Six Ineluctable Takings Rules, National Business Institute Seminar on Real Estate Litigation in Ohio (July 9, 1997)
  • The Revolution in the Regulation of Energy, Ninth Institute for Natural Law Resources Teachers, Park City, Utah (May 16-18, 1997)
  • Law Schools in Transition?, Judicial Conference of the Sixth Circuit, Asheville, North Carolina (June 28-July 1, 1995)
  • The Brave New World of Energy Law:Domestic Electricity Regulation, Eighth Institute for Natural Resources Law Teachers, Reno, Nevada (June 2-4, 1995)
  • Recent Developments in Contract Law Teaching in the United States, Soochow University, Republic of China (July 13-15, 1992)
  • Distributional Consequences of Environmental Regulation, ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, Williamsburg, Virginia (May 15, 1992)
  • The Politics of Evaluation, Annual Meeting of The Law and Society Association, Berkeley, California (May 31, 1990)
  • Electricity and the Environment, Annual Northeast International Committee on Energy Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia (April 24-26, 1990)
  • A Legal Perspective on The Nuclear Option: The American Experience, Institute on National Resource Law, Ottawa, Canada (May 10-12, 1989)
  • Land Use Mediation for Planners, Annual Meeting, American Planners Association, Denver, Colorado (1989)
    • Distinguished Visiting Energy Professor, Vermont Law School (July, 2007)
    • Visiting Scholar, University of Notre Dame (Spring 2007)
    • Visiting Fellow, Harris Manchester College Oxford University (Spring 2006)
    • BLAC-CBA Round Table Forward Together Award in Education (2004)
    • Fullbright Senior Specialist in Law (Cambodia) (Summer 2002)
    • 1989 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching
    • NEH Summer Fellow in History (Stanford University 1987)
  • Contracts
  • Government Regulation
  • Introduction to Law
  • Law, Literature & Philosophy
  • Research Seminar: Energy Policy