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Delaware Law School professor receives environmental law award


Widener University Delaware Law School is pleased to announce the American Bar Association has given its distinguished achievement award in environmental law and policy to Distinguished Professor of Law James R. May. The ABA formally recognized May at a ceremony on Dec. 7.

Professor James R. May

Professor James R. May

Through the award, the ABA’s section of Environment, Energy and Resources recognizes individuals or organizations who have distinguished themselves in environmental law and policy, contributing significant leadership in improving the substance, process, or understanding of environmental protection and suitable development.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this award,” May said. “This collective achievement reflects Widener University’s and Delaware Law’s commitment to high impact and socially conscience programs, classrooms, and practices.”

May joined the law school faculty in 1991 and has had a distinguished career that has blended advocacy, innovation and a deep commitment to the success of his students. He founded the law school’s Global Environmental Rights Institute and served as the university’s chief sustainability officer. He also spearheaded the effort that led to the American Bar Association adopting a resolution to advance environmental justice in 2021, and he currently serves as the special legal advisor to the American Bar Association Task Force on Environmental Justice.

He brought among the first lawsuits to enforce Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment, and has assisted efforts to recognize environmental rights in Maryland, Delaware and elsewhere in the United States, as well as multiple locations globally. May recently published “Modern Administrative Law: Contexts and Cases,” an all-in-one and up-to-date casebook that examines how law is implemented. This book focuses on the most salient doctrines and developments of administrative law, including federalism, congressional authority, executive authority, rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review.

“We are extremely proud of Jim and his contributions to the field and to our law school. His work is transformative, and he has played a critical role in expanding the understanding and impact of environmental-related issues throughout the world,” said Delaware Law School Dean Todd J. Clark.

May received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his law degree from the University of Kansas. He also holds an LLM degree from Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, applied leadership, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. Delaware Law School provides juris doctor, legal graduate, and paralegal undergraduate degree programs with an emphasis on developing legal professionals who reflect the Delaware way and its traditions of civility, integrity, and mutual respect. The school offers signature programs in corporate and business law, environmental law, family health law and policy, trial advocacy, and dignity rights. For information, visit: