James May

Delaware Law School

Contact Details

Delaware Law School


James R. May is Distinguished Professor of Law and co-Founder and co-Director of the Dignity Rights Project and the Environmental Rights Institute at Widener University Delaware Law School, and the President of Dignity Rights International, a non-profit dedicated to advancing dignity in education, advocacy and litigation. May is also Adjunct Professor of Graduate Engineering and inaugural and immediate past Chief Sustainability Officer at Widener University, where he founded the Widener Sustainability Initiative. May has taught 20 courses, founded or co-founded three law centers, four non-profit environmental organizations and a joint degree program, directed an environmental law clinic, and held numerous visiting appointments at law schools, including Georgetown, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Vermont and Duquesne. May is also a former national defense engineer and litigator who has prosecuted hundreds of public interest claims in federal court. May is an inductee of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and the Delaware Valley Environmental Inn of Court. 


May is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of a 15 books, including Constitutional Principles of Environmental LawGlobal Environmental ConstitutionalismEnvironmental ConstitutionalismJudicial Handbook of Global Environmental ConstitutionalismNew Frontiers in Global Environmental ConstitutionalismEnvironmental RightsEncyclopedia of Human Rights and the Environment (forthcoming); Implementing Environmental ConstitutionalismThe Advanced Introduction to Dignity Under Law; and, Dignity Law: Emergence, Constitutions, Courts and Perspectives. 


May is also the author or co-author of more than 100 chapters and legal articles on fields including environmental law, constitutionalism and rights, human dignity, and litigation. May has delivered more than 500 invited presentations at academic or professional forums, and chaired or co-chaired a dozen conferences, workshops, colloquia, or symposiums. He has received numerous awards, including Pace University’s highest environmental law recognition award from the Haub School of Law at Pace University, the Sierra Club (Delaware Chapter), and the American Canoe Association.


May has litigated hundreds of public interest environmental claims in (mostly federal) courts across the United States, and is a member of the bar in the States of Pennsylvania and Kansas (inactive), several federal district courts and courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He holds an LL.M. from Pace University (Feldshuh Fellow, first in class), a J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law (National Environmental Moot Court Champion), and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Bowman Scholar) from the University of Kansas. 


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