• Full-Time Faculty
  • Elizabeth G. Thornburg

  • Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law

  • fulltime Faculty
  • Elizabeth G. Thornburg

  • Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law

Elizabeth G. Thornburg

Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law

  • Biography

    • Professor Thornburg teaches and writes in the area of civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution. Drawing on her experience with civil rights and commercial litigation, her scholarship focuses on the procedural fairness of the litigation process, especially at the pleadings, discovery, and jury charge stages. She also writes and speaks in the areas of comparative procedure, online dispute resolution, and the intersection of law and culture.

      Professor Thornburg's articles have appeared in a number of prominent law reviews in the U.S. and abroad. She is the co-author (with Professor Dorsaneo) of a study guide for Civil Procedure and two Texas procedure casebooks, and has contributed chapters to books on civil procedure issues in consumer law, sports law, computer law, and classic civil procedure cases. Her most recent book is LAWTALK:  THE UNKNOWN STORIES BEHIND FAMILIAR EXPRESSIONS, published by Yale University Press (with co-authors).

      She teaches Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Complex Litigation, Texas procedure, Remedies, and an advanced procedure seminar. Thornburg has visited at the law schools at William & Mary, University of Edinburgh, West Virginia University, and the University of Melbourne.

      In 2016, the university honored Professor Thornburg with the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, an annual award that recognizes four SMU faculty members for their notable commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning.  In 2013, SMU selected Thornburg to receive the University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, an award established by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church for the purpose of recognizing outstanding faculty members for their dedication and contributions to the learning arts and to the institution. Professor Thornburg served as Director of Center for Teaching Excellence from 2012-2014.  She held the position of Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2014-2017.
  • Education

    • B.A., College of William and Mary
      J.D., Southern Methodist University
  • Books

    • QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: CIVIL PROCEDURE (LexisNexis 4th ed. 2015) (with William V. Dorsaneo, III) (and prior editions).

      LAWTALK (Yale University Press) (with Galanter, Shapiro, and Clapp) (2011) (excerpts from reviews posted on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Lawtalk-Unknown-Stories-Familiar-Expressions/dp/030017246X

      TEXAS CIVIL PROCEDURE: PRE-TRIAL LITIGATION 2013-2014 (with Dorsaneo, Carlson, and Crump) (and prior editions).
      TEXAS CIVIL PROCEDURE: TRIAL AND APPELLATE PRACTICE 2013-14 (with Dorsaneo, Carlson, and Crump) (and prior editions).
  • Presentations

    • The Pedagogy of Procedure:  Using Civil Procedure to Showcase Innovative Teaching Methods
      AALS Annual Meeting
      Joint Program of Sections on Civil Procedure and Teaching Methods
      (January 2016)

      The Curious Judge: Limits to Social Media and Independent Research
      2015 Texas Judicial Education Conference (almost 500 Texas judges)
      (September 2015)

      Hearts, Minds, and the Politics of Procedural Rulemaking
      Through a Glass Starkly: Civil Procedure Reassessed
      Northeastern University School of Law
      (April 2014)

      Judicial Research on the Internet Outside the Record
      Midwestern Conference of Chief Justices
      (NCSC-sponsored conference)
      (October 2013)

      National Judicial Ethics Workshop for U.S. Bankruptcy Judges
      (April & August 2013)

      Lessons from Lawtalk
      SMU Town & Gown
      (April 2013)

      Digital Humanities: Implications for Teaching
      Futures for Humanistic Learning Research Cluster
      Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
      (October 2012)

      Private as Public and Public as Private: U.S. MTBE Litigation
      Law & Society Conference
      (part of Global Class Actions Research Group)
      (June 2012)

      Judicial Research on the Internet Outside the Record
      National Workshop for U.S. Magistrate Judges
      (April & July 2012)

      Ethics and Judicial Research
      Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference
      (May 2011)

      Teaching Civil Procedure in Common Law Countries Project
      Invited Participant
      England (June 2010)

      The Rhetoric of Tort Reform: Considering the U.S. and Australia
      Sydney Law School
      (March 2010)

      Manipulating Public Perception of Law and Courts
      University of Melbourne Law School
      (March 2010)