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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 Clean Energy Politics: The Necessity of Invention (forthcoming), Ending Dirty Energy Policy: Prelude to Climate Change (2011), Energy Law in a Nutshell, Regulatory Law and Policy, Energy Law and Policy for the 21st Century, 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.



    • 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

    • 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


  • 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