Elizabeth G. Thornburg
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law
Dean 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.
Dean 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 Dean 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. Dean Thornburg served as Director of Center for Teaching Excellence from 2012-2014.