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Remembering Dale Goble – Legal Planet


Remembering Dale Goble

“Father of Wildlife Law” passed away this spring

Dale Goble, professor of law at University of Idaho, passed this April.  There are numerous excellent tributes to Dale’s life, available here, here, and here.  As a co-author of Dale’s on our Wildlife Law casebook, I wanted to add my personal recognition of his life and work.

When I first started teaching law over 15 years ago, one of my first courses was a Biodiversity Law class.  Protection of biodiversity is what prodded me to going to law school, and to work in environmental law.  The opportunity to teach the class to future lawyers was extremely appealing.  However, it’s not a common class in law schools, and there weren’t a lot of resources available for teachers.  But fortunately, I came across the first edition of the casebook on Wildlife Law that Dale had co-authored in 2002 with Eric Freyfogle (at the University of Illinois).  It was an expansive book, covering everything from the early history of wildlife law in England in the Middle Ages, to the intricate details of the federal Endangered Species Act, and all sorts of material in between.  And it was the only book of its kind, as Wildlife Law had not been really an area of study in American law schools until Dale and Eric started working on their casebook.  (Thus, Eric Freyfogle gave him his sobriquet as the “Father of Wildlfe Law.”)  I taught from that book for several years, and then had the honor of Dale asking me to join as a co-author for the third edition.  It was a joy to work with Dale on that new edition.  He was a hard-working, intellectually inquisitive, and generous collaborator, and also just generally a pleasure to work with.

We will hopefully be working on a fourth edition of the casebook in the next year.  I am sad that I won’t be sharing that opportunity with Dale, but I hope we can recognize the groundbreaking work that he and Eric undertook with a new, revised edition.

I also had the good fortune to participate in a celebration of Dale’s work and life in the fall of 2019 at the University of Idaho.  Dale did amazing scholarship on the protection of biodiversity, and he was one of the few legal scholars who had closely investigated state protection of biodiversity, an important but neglected topic.  I’ve tried to continue and extend Dale’s work on the topic.

I will miss Dale – he was a wonderful teacher, an excellent scholar, a warm colleague, and someone who worked hard to make positive change in law and policy, in Idaho, and more broadly.


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