James W. Coleman

Headshot of James W. Coleman, faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Professor of Law

Full-time faculty



James Coleman received two degrees from Harvard University — a J.D. (cum laude) and B.A. in biology (magna cum laude) with highest honors in the field. Upon graduation from law school he served as clerk for Eighth Circuit Judge Steven Colloton, and then practiced energy, environmental, and appellate law as an associate in the Washington, D.C., firm of Sidley Austin LLP for three years.

Prior to joining SMU, he was on the faculty at the University of Calgary, where he taught at both the law school and the business school. Before Calgary, he served on the faculty at Harvard Law School as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law.

Coleman’s scholarship addresses regulation of North American energy companies, focusing on how countries account for and influence regulation of fuel and electricity in their trading partners and how global energy companies respond to competing pressures from investors and regulators in multiple jurisdictions. He publishes the Energy Law Professor blog and you can follow him on Twitter at @energylawprof. This fall he will teach Oil & Gas Law.

Area of expertise

  • Energy Law


B.A., magna cum laude, Harvard College
J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School


Oil and Gas Law
International Petroleum Transactions
Energy Transport & Trade
Energy & Natural Resources Law


CASES AND MATERIALS ON OIL AND GAS LAW, 8th ed. (West Academic 2022) (with John S. Lowe, Owen L. Anderson, Ernest E. Smith, David E. Pierce, Christopher S. Kulander, Monika U. Ehrman, and Burke Griggs)


North American Energy in the Crossfire, 57 Cornell International Law Journal __ (forthcoming 2023) (with Guillermo J. Garcia Sanchez)

Rebuilding the Texas Railroad Commission, Oil, Gas & Energy Law Journal (2022) (peer reviewed)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Paying for Energy Peaks: Learning from Texas’ February 2021 Power Crisis, 24 Tennessee Journal of Business Law 463 (2022) (with Colleen Baker)
SSRN | SMU Repository 

State Energy Cartels, 42 Cardozo Law Review 2233 (2021)
SSRN | SMU Repository

The New Oil & Gas Governance, 130 Yale Law Journal Forum 51 (2020) (with with Tara Righetti & Hannah Wiseman)
SSRN | SMU Repository

The Third Age of Oil and Gas Law, 95 Indiana Law Journal 389 (2020)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Energy and Eminent Domain, 104 Minnesota Law Review 659 (2019)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Pipelines & Power-lines:  Building the Energy Transport Future, 79 Ohio State Law Journal 263 (2019)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Country-level Life Cycle Assessment of Liquified Natural Gas Trade for Electricity Generation (with Sarah Jordaan, Adebola Kasumu, Jeanne Liendo, and Vivian Li), 53 Environmental Science & Technology1735 (2018) (peer reviewed)
Environmental Science & Technology

Beyond the Pipeline Wars:  Reforming Environmental Assessment of Energy Transport Infrastructure, 2018 Utah Law Review 119 (2018)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Policymaking by Proposal:  How Agencies Are Using Proposed Rules to Transform Industry Long Before Final Rules Are Tested in Court, 24 George Mason Law Review 497 (2017)
SSRN | SMU Repository

How Cheap is Corporate Talk? Comparing Companies' Comments on Regulations With Their Securities Disclosures, 40 Harvard Environmental Law Review 47, (2016) (Chosen as one of the year's four best articles in environmental law and policy and republished with scholarly commentaries at 47 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review 10,681 (2017))
SSRN | SMU Repository

Importing Energy, Exporting Regulation, 83 Fordham Law Review 1357 (2014)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Unilateral Climate Regulation, 38 Harvard Environmental Law Review 87 (2014)
SSRN | SMU Repository

An Empirical Analysis of Wealth Disparities in WTO Disputes:  Do Poorer Countries Suffer from Strategic Delay During Dispute Litigation?, 29 Boston University Law Journal 267 (2011) (with Geoff Antell)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Ratifying Kyoto via Local Actors: Accomplishments and Limitations of Local Cap and Trade Programs, 40 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review 10,780 (2010) (with Roger Martella)

Comment, The Slow, Just, Unfinished Demise of the Buckley Compromise: Randall v. Sorrell, 126 S. Ct. 2479 (2006), 30 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 427 (2006)

Phylogeny of Agrodiaetus Hübner 1822 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) Inferred from mtDNA Sequences of COI and COII and Nuclear Sequences of EF1-alpha: Karyotype Diversification and Species Radiation (with Nikolai Kandul, Vladimir Lukhtanov, Alexander Dantchenko, Cagan Sekercioglu, David Haig, and Naomi Pierce), 53 Systematic Biology 278 (2004)

Book chapters

The Low Carbon Transition in North America, in HANDBOOK OF ENERGY LAW IN THE LOWCARBON TRANSITION (De Druyter, forthcoming 2023)

Matching Commitments: A New Approach to Regulation of the Commons, in LAW AND ECONOMICS OF REGULATION (Klaus Mathis & Avishalom Tor eds. 2021)

Reforming the Jones Act for American Energy Consumers, in THE CASE AGAINST THE JONES ACT (Cato Institute, 2020)

Energy Competition: From Commodity to Boutique & Back, in NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN COMPETITION LAW AND ECONOMICS (Klaus Mathis & Avishalom Tor eds. 2018)
SSRN (Draft)

Energy Market and Policy Revolutions: Regulatory Process and the Cost of Capital, in ENERGY LAW AND ECONOMICS (Klaus Mathis & Bruce R. Huber eds. 2018)
SSRN | SMU Repository

North American and Global Integration of Carbon Control Marketsin THE LAW OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN CANADA, 2d ed. (Dennis Mahony ed. 2012) (with Roger Martella & Jeffrey Gracer) 

Other publications

Overcoming Local Roadblocks to Energy Transport and a Cleaner New Energy System, American Enterprise Institute, White Paper (2022)

Deep in the Heart of North America: Texas and the Future of North American Energy Trade, SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center Report (2021) (with Guillermo J. Garcia Sanchez
SMU Repository


Repeal the Jones Act for American EnergyRegulatory Transparency Project, White Paper (2017)

Clearing the Air:  How Canadian LNG Exports Could Help Meet World Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals, C.D. Howe Institute, Issue Brief  (2016) (with Sarah Jordaan)
SSRN | SMU Repository

International Environmental Law: A Guide for JudgesFederal Judicial Center 2015 (with Roger Martella)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Book Review, Research Handbook on International Energy Law, Kim Talus, ed., (2014), 33 International Energy Law Review 220 (2015)

Calibrating Liquefied Natural Gas Export Life Cycle Analysis: Accounting for Legal Boundaries & Post-Export MarketsCanadian Institute of Resources Law, Occasional Paper No. 49 (2015) (with Sarah Jordaan, Adebola Kasumu, Jeanne Liendo, and Vivian Li)
SSRN | SMU Repository