Joseph P. Tomain

Headshot of Joseph P. Tomain

Joseph P. Tomain

Dean Emeritus and Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law, College of Law

521 College of Law Building


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: Regulatory Law and Policy (4th ed. 2020), Energy Law and Policy (2nd ed. 2018), Clean Power Energy Politics: The Democratization of Energy (2017), Energy Law in the United States of America (Kluwer 2015),  Ending Dirty Energy Policy: Prelude to Climate Change (2011), Energy Law in a Nutshell (3rd ed. 2016), and Nuclear Power Transformation (1987) 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.


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

Courses Taught

  • Contracts
  • Government Regulation
  • Introduction to Law
  • Law, Literature & Philosophy
  • Research Seminar: Energy Policy


  • Faculty Excellence Award, University of Cincinnati College of Law (January 2017)
  • 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)



  • Energy Law in a Nutshell (3rd ed. 2017).
  • Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy (Cambridge University Press 2017).
  • 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)
  • Clean Power Politics: The Democratization of Energy (forthcoming Cambridge University Press).

Book Chapters

  • Section, The Future of Energy Law (Forthcoming 2017).
  • Section, Memo to the Next President: A Progressive View of Government and Protective Safeguards (2016) ( a report of the Center for Progressive Reform) available here.
  • 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, and Book Reviews

  • Gridlock, Lobbying and Democracy, 7 Wake Forest J. of Law & Pol. 87 (2017).
  • Standard 405 and Terms and Conditions of Employment: More Chaos, 66 J. LEGAL ED. 634 (2017) (with Polden).
  • Clean Power and the Future of US Energy Politics and Policy, 39 Utilities Policy 5 (2015).
  • Clean Power and the Democratization of Energy in the US, 17 Network Industries Quarterly 3 (No. 3 2015).
  • Traditionally-Structured Electric Utilities in f Distributed Generation World, 38 Nova L. Rev.473 (2014).
  • Shale Gas and Clean Energy Policy,63 Case Western L. Rev. 1187(2013).
  • Reading Poets, 87 St. John’s L. Rev.1051 (2013).
  • Smart Grid, Clean Energy and US Policy,13 Journal of Competition and Regulation in Network Industries 187 (2012).
  • Shadow Rates: Financing Clean Energy, 51 Infrastructure 1 (Spring 2012).
  • The Politics of Clean Energy: Moving Beyond the Beltway,3 San Diego J. Climate Change and Energy Law 299 (2011).
  • “Our Generation’s Sputnik Moment:” Regulating Energy Innovation, 31 Utah Envtl. L.Rev. 1 (2011).
  • Clean Power and the Democratization of Energy in the US, 17 Network Industries Quarterly 3 (No. 3 2015).
  • Shadow Rates, 51 Infrastructure 1 (Spring 2012).
  • Four Reasons Bipartisan Accountability Act Will Fail, Cincinnati Enquirer A7 (November 1, 2011).
  • For A Cold Winter’s Night: Reading the Great Books, CBA Magazine 14 (December 2010).
  • Narrating Justice, 77 U. Cin. L. Rev. 783 (2009)
  • "Steel in the Ground": Greening the Grid with the iUtility, 39 Envtl. L. 931 (2009)
  • Building the iUtility, 146 Pub. Util. Fort. 28 (Aug. 2008)
  • To a Point, 52 Loyola L. Rev. 1201 (2007)
  • Katrina's Energy Agenda, 20 Nat. Resources & Env't 43 (2006)
  • Lost in the Flood, 23 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 219 (2006) (reviewing The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development (Adrian J. Bradbrook et al, eds.) (2005), and Compendium of Sustainable Energy Laws (Richard L. Ottinger et al, eds.) (2005))
  • Smart Energy Path: How Willie Nelson Saved the Planet, 36 Cumb. L. Rev. 417 (2006)
  • Bargaining in the Shadow of Regulation, 5 Antitrust Source (Sept. 2005) (reviewing Jim Rossi, Regulatory Bargaining and Public Law (2005))
  • Junk Economics, 92 Geo. L.J. 698 (2005) (reviewing Frank Ackerman & Lisa Heinzerling, Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing (2004))
  • Nuclear Futures, 15 Duke Envtl. L. & Pol'y F. 221 (2005)
  • Rethinking Reform of Electricity Markets, 40 Wake Forest L. Rev. 497 (2005) (symposium) (with Sidney A. Shapiro)
  • Introduction to Symposium on Law, Ethics, and Affirmative Action in America, 72 U. Cin. L. Rev. 873 (2003) (symposium)
  • Between Law and Virtue, 71 U. Cin. L. Rev. 585 (2002) (symposium) (with Barbara G. Watts)
  • Dionysian Education, 6 Green Bag 79 (2002) (reviewing Robert Ebert Byrnes & Jaime Marquart, Brush with the Law: The True Story of Law School Today at Harvard and Stanford (2001))
  • The Past and Future of Electricity Regulation, 32 Envtl. L. 435 (2002)
  • The Persistence of Natural Monopoly, 16 Nat. Resources & Env't 242 (2002)
  • The Associate Dean for Research Position: Encouraging and Promoting Scholarship, 33 U. Tol. L. Rev. 233 (2001) (symposium) (with Paul L. Caron)
  • Augustine in Chicago, 51 J. Legal Educ. 610 (2001) (reviewing Mark Lilla, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (2001) & Richard A Posner, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline (2001))
  • A Changing Landscape: Struggles for the Legal Profession Identified in Ohio Courts Futures Commission Report, Ohio Law. 8 (March/April 2001)
  • A Code of One's Own , 15 Notre Dame J.L., Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 153 (2001)
  •, 48 Kan. L. Rev. 829 (2000)
  • Skills Skepticism in the Postclinic World, 40 J. Legal Educ. 307 (1990) (with Michael E. Solimine)
  • Land Use Mediation for Planners, 7 Conflict Resol. Q. 163 (1989)
  • Nuclear Transition: From Three Mile Island to Chernobyl, 28 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 363 (1987) (with Constance Dowd Burton)
  • Institutionalized Conflict between Law and Policy, 22 Houston L. Rev. 661 (1985)

Selected Papers, Presentations, and Lectures