James R. May

Prof. James R. May

Professor of Law, Widener University School of Law

James R. May is a Professor of Law and co-director of the Environmental Law Center, co-director of the Masters of Marine Policy (MMP) program with the University of Delaware, and Adjunct Professor of Graduate Engineering at Widener University. He is the immediate past H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law. He teaches and publishes in Constitutional, Environmental, Federal Lands, Natural Resources, Hazardous Substances, Administrative, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Environmental, International Environmental, Environmental Justice, Hazardous Wastes and Substances, and Graduate Engineering Law. He has been an academic, a founder and a director of two leading regional environmental advocacy non-profit organizations, a founder and director of a joint program on marine policy, a federal litigator, and an environmental attorney. Prior to entering law he worked as engineer on top secret national defense projects for the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense.

Professor May is co-author of the forthcoming book, Environmental Rights and Constitutional Protections: Implications for Present and Future Generations (Cambridge) (with Erin Daly). The American Bar Association and the Environmental Law Institute recently published his book, Contemporary Principles in Constitutional Environmental Law (ABA, Envtl. L. Inst., 2011). He has published more than 50 book chapters and law review articles. He has litigated more than 200 public interest environmental claims pro bono in federal courts throughout the nation, in matters from local tribunals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored or co-authored numerous amicus briefs. He has received numerous professional awards. He is a 2009 inductee of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Professor May is a past Council Member to the governing board of the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), and is founder and inaugural Chair of its Task Force on Constitutional Law. He has held numerous leadership positions with SEER, including as Chair to SEER’s Annual Conference on Environmental Law in 2009, and Co-Chair in 2007 and 2008. He is a member of the ABA Section on Science and the Law. He is a past member of the Committee on Environmental Law to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and a past Master to the Delaware Valley Environmental American Inn of Court.

Professor May is the founder, and immediate past executive director and president of the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center, and co-founder and past co-director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center. He has served as the director of Widener Institute at the Macquarie University Environmental Law Centre in Sydney, Australia, Visiting Associate Director of the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law Center, Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, summer faculty at Vermont Law School, and Visiting Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute. He has taught International Environmental Law in Sydney (four times) and Nairobi, Kenya. 
At the University of Kansas, he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, where he won the Bowman Award. He also earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and was a national champion in the National Environmental Moot Court Competition, and his LL.M. from Pace University School of Law, where he was the Feldshuh Environmental Fellow and graduated first in his class. He lives in Wilmington Delaware with his wife and two children, where he coaches and plays a variety of sports, including ice hockey and inner city baseball, and is an outdoor enthusiast.

  • B.S., University of Kansas
  • J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
  • LL.M., Pace University School of Law
2012 National Lawyers Convention
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2012 National Lawyers Convention

The Future of U.S. Constitutional Law in the Supreme Court

The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036