Our program will be led by accomplished, full-time faculty who are committed to helping their students develop practice-related competencies for the real world of practice.
In addition to their leadership roles, the Dean, Associate Dean, and Assistant Dean all will be involved in teaching.
The Honorable W. Royal Furgeson, Jr., United States District Judge, Northern District of Texas, was named as the founding Dean of the UNT Dallas College of Law in January 2012. He assumed his position as Dean in mid-year 2013, after retiring from the federal district bench. Dean Furgeson will play a lead role in teaching the Practice and Profession of Law.
Royal Furgeson is the former Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Prior to taking Senior Status, he served in the El Paso, Midland, and San Antonio Divisions of the Western District of Texas. He served as a federal judge for over eighteen years.
A native of Lubbock, Judge Furgeson graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and earned his law degree at the University of Texas School of Law, where he was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. After law school, he served the U.S. Army for two years, attaining the rank of Captain. Following a tour in Vietnam, he returned to Lubbock as law clerk to the Honorable Halbert O. Woodward.
Before taking the bench, he was a practicing lawyer for twenty-four years with the Kemp Smith firm in El Paso, Texas. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute, and Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law. While in private practice, he was general campaign chair and president of the El Paso United Way, president of the El Paso chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and president of the El Paso Bar Association.
During his time on the bench, in addition to his ongoing district court obligations, he was a panel judge on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, President of the Federal Judges Association, and a member of the Judicial Branch Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He has also served as chair of the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
He has been honored on numerous occasions, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Texas Tech Alumni Association, the West Texas Legal Legend Award by the Texas Tech University School of Law, the 2010 Distinguished Counselor Award by the State Bar of Texas Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, the Luke Soules Award by the State Bar of Texas Litigation Section, the Leon Green Award by the Texas Law Review, and the Faculty Award by the University of Texas School of Law.
Professor Ellen S. Pryor is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. As Associate Dean, she oversees, along with Judge Furgeson, the design and implementation of the educational program. Before joining the UNT Dallas College of Law in January 2013, Pryor was the Homer R. Mitchell Endowed Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. Professor Pryor will teach Torts.
Ellen S. Pryor graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1974, from Rice University in 1978, and from the University of Texas School of Law in 1982. At the University of Texas School of Law, Professor Pryor served as Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Law Review, and received the "Am Jur" award for highest grades in the first year courses Torts, Property, Contracts, and Civil Procedure. She was also a member of the honor societies Chancellors and Order of the Coif. She received awards for outstanding student, student most likely to contribute to legal scholarship, and best student law review note. Following graduation, she served as judicial clerk for the Honorable Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She then returned to her hometown of Dallas and worked for a civil litigation firm for four years. During that time, she received the Dallas Bar Association's Pro Bono Award of the Year, and the State Bar of Texas' Frank Scurlock Award for Delivery of Legal Services to the Poor.
She joined the faculty of the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1986, where she taught torts, advanced torts, insurance, and courses in professional responsibility. From Summer 2005 to Summer 2011, Professor Pryor served as an Associate Provost in the Office of the Provost, SMU. In Fall 2010 she was the D&L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law. At SMU, she received the law school's Don Smart teaching award, the University's Rotunda teaching award, and the University's United Methodist Church Scholar-Teacher of the Year award. She was an inaugural recipient of the University's Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, and in 2005 was named a Piper Professor by the Minne Piper Foundation in the State of Texas.
Professor Pryor has recently begun work as Co-Reporter, along with Professor Kenneth Simons of Boston University School of Law, for the American Law Institute's Restatement (Third) of Torts: Intentional Harm to Persons. She has also served as Associate Reporter for Chapter 10 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm, and as Coordinating Reporter for the Restatement Third project.
She has been a co-author of several casebooks, and her writings in the area of torts, insurance, and compensation theory have appeared in, among other journals, the Harvard Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Journal of Legal Studies, George Washington Law Review, Maryland Law Review, Texas Law Review, Tulane Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, and the University of Chicago Press.
In 2006, she was named as the 20th annual recipient of the Robert B. MacKay Law Professor Award from the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association; the award recognizes "a commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship, and the legal profession as demonstrated by outstanding contributions to the fields of tort and insurance law."
Assistant Professor Edward T. Hart is the Assistant Dean for Law Library. He will oversee the services and collections of the Law Library, including legal research skills instruction. Before coming to UNT Dallas College of Law in August 2013, Hart was Head of Technical Services and Adjunct Professor of Law at University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Edward Hart is a native of Valdosta, Georgia, where he graduated from Valdosta State University in 1992 before going on to the New England School of Law, graduating in 1999. He earned his Master's in Library Science from Simmons College in 2002 and an LLM in European Union from Northumbria University in 2006. He started his library career while attending NESL as a student assistant and later served as the Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian (2000-2005). He then moved to the University of Florida where he started as Acquisitions Librarian (2005-2008) before his promotion to Head of Technical Services (2008-2013). While at University of Florida he also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law teaching Advanced Legal Research.
Hart is the author of the chapter “Technical Services 2.0” in Law Libraries in Digital Age. He has published several articles that have appeared in such journals as International Journal of Legal Information, Legal Information Management, and Journal of Southern Legal History.
He has been a member of the American Association of Law Libraries since 2000. He was a Fellow of the AALL's first Leadership Academy in 2007. He served as president of the Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries in 2012-13 and is currently the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Government Documents – Special Interest Section as well as Vice-Chair of the AALL Committee on Indexing of Legal Periodical Literature.
Professor David Epstein joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT College of Law as a Visiting Faculty member. Professor Epstein will teach Contracts to the inaugural class of the UNT Dallas College of Law - including both the full-time day section, and the part-time evening division. Professor Epstein currently holds the George E. Allen Chair at the University of Richmond School of Law.
At the University of Richmond School of Law, Epstein teaches contract law, corporations, commercial law, and bankruptcy. Epstein is nationally recognized as a teacher and author in these areas. For over 30 years, he has lectured on contracts for BarBri bar review courses from Massachusetts to California. He is the author or co-author of thirteen law school casebooks, student guides, and treatises, including a first-year Contracts casebook and a Contracts student guide published by West Publishing Company.
Epstein’s distinguished career as a legal educator includes serving as a tenured faculty member on the faculties of schools such as the University of Texas School of Law, the University of North Carolina School of Law, and SMU School of Law. He also has taught as a visiting law professor at various schools including Harvard, Georgetown, University of Michigan, New York University, and the University of Chicago. He served as Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law and Emory Law School.
Epstein’s career also includes high-level legal practice. He was a partner for ten years at the Atlanta-based national law firm of King & Spalding, and was Of Counsel to the Dallas-based national law firm of Haynes & Boone.
In announcing the appointment, Royal Furgeson, Dean of the UNT Dallas College of Law, stated: “We are thrilled that the law students in our inaugural class will learn Contracts from one of the most renowned teachers and scholars in the field. Given that we are a new public law school committed to developing practice-related competencies through best instructional practices, David’s excellence in teaching, experience in practice, and dedication to students will benefit our entire law school community.”
When asked why he volunteered to teach at UNT Dallas College of Law in the fall 2014, Epstein responded: “The new UNT Dallas law school is exactly what Texans wanting to be practicing lawyers need – a comparatively inexpensive, student-focused, practice-oriented legal education. I am grateful to the administrators at UNT Dallas and at the University of Richmond for this opportunity to work with the students in UNT Dallas College of Law’s first class next fall.”
Professor Tom Perkins joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law after eight years of service as the Dallas City Attorney. Professor Perkins will teach in the areas of legislation, civil procedure, negotiation, and problem-solving.
Professor Perkins obtained his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law. He started his legal career with the Federal Trade Commission, and then moved into private practice, engaging in public finance law, commercial and insurance litigation, and trial and appellate work.
In 1992, Professor Perkins was appointed Division Chief of the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas. As Division Chief for five years, he had primary responsibility for enforcement of the State’s consumer protection and antitrust laws; this also entailed supervision of staff attorneys in regional offices across the State of Texas.
Following his work with the Attorney General, Professor Perkins returned to private practice before being named as First Assistant City Attorney and Chief of Litigation for the Dallas City Attorney. In 2005, the City Council appointed him as Dallas City Attorney.
In his position as Dallas City Attorney, Professor Perkins was the chief legal officer for the City, and supervised approximately 100 attorneys in the Litigation Division and the General Counsel Division. His responsibilities included advising the City Council, council members, and all city departments. In overseeing the work of the Litigation Division, Professor Perkins’ responsibilities included litigation relating to employment, personal injury, zoning, environmental, and class actions. The General Counsel division, which Professor Perkins also oversaw, advised all city departments (including boards and commissions) and drafted all procurement contracts, ordinances, and opinions. As City Attorney, Professor Perkins also managed outside counsel and the City’s risk fund, and managed all Municipal Court prosecutions, including the Office’s nationally recognized Community Prosecution team and Community Courts.
In 2010, the Dallas Business Journal named him as the “Best Corporate Counsel” with a staff of 11 or more.
Professor Perkins’ service to the legal and civic community includes serving as Council Member of the State Bar of Texas’ Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, membership on the Court Advisory Committee for the Northern District of Texas, and membership on the Boards of Texas Appleseed, C.C. Young Retirement Center, and St. Mark’s School of Texas.
Associate Professor Eric Porterfield joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law in June 2014, after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he taught Legal Writing and advanced classes in the areas of Civil Procedure and Evidence. Professor Porterfield will teach Civil Procedure, including advanced procedural courses, as well as Legal Writing.
In 2001, Professor Porterfield earned his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors with a double major of Government and German, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the National Golden Key Honor Society. In 2004, Professor Porterfield graduated as the Valedictorian of his law school class at Baylor Law School, earning his J.D. degree summa cum laude. He earned the highest score in the class in many of his first year classes, including Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Torts. He also served as Senior Executive Editor of the Baylor Law Review, making initial publication decisions, and as Managing Editor of the 2004 edition of Texas Practice, Baylor’s inaugural special issue focusing on Texas evidence and procedure.
Also while at Baylor, Professor Porterfield competed successfully in several advocacy competitions. His team won the inaugural 2003 National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Tournament and he was named the Best Oral Advocate of the competition as his team went undefeated to claim the championship. His team also claimed the Regional Championship of the 2004 Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now AAJ) Mock Trial Competition, beating another Baylor team in the finals, and was a National semi-finalist, placing third on points overall. His brief was also named Third Best Brief of the 2002 New York Bar Association Moot Court Tournament.
After graduating from Baylor, Professor Porterfield served as a law clerk to the Honorable David C. Godbey, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. While a law clerk to Judge Godbey, Professor Porterfield was an assistant coach of Baylor’s National Championship Mock Trial Team in the 2005 ATLA Competition. The Texas House of Representatives issued a congratulatory Resolution describing the school’s success in the 2003, 2004, and 2005 competitions. See Texas House Resolution 2058 (May 26, 2005).
Professor Porterfield then joined Carrington Coleman, a large Dallas law firm. He defended a variety of medical and legal professionals in malpractice and administrative licensure actions, health care institutions in a variety of matters, and corporations in multi-national disputes, helping to resolve a global dispute in London involving parties from three continents. While at Carrington Coleman, he was active in pro bono work for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, helping victims of domestic violence and exploited consumers. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Wind Symphony from 2006-2009.
In 2009, Professor Porterfield joined Lee Brown at the Brown Law Firm in Dallas – a firm specializing in complex automotive product defect cases. He represented catastrophically injured consumers in these complex cases against car manufacturers and automotive component suppliers from around the world. Professor Porterfield has tried several multi-week product liability cases and has litigated these cases in courts all across the country – including Hawaii – at all stages, from pretrial through trial and appeals, including briefing to the Courts of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.
In 2012, Professor Porterfield left the Brown Law Firm to pursue an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he researched and specialized in international civil litigation and published his first article with the Temple Law Review, entitled “Too Much Process, Not Enough Service: International Service of Process Under the Hague Service Convention,” a critique of the treaty governing international service of process, including suggestions for reform. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013 and his LL.M. Thesis, which earned Honors marks, focuses on reforming personal jurisdiction and judgment enforcement rules, including a critique of the Hague Judgments Convention. He continues to research and write in the areas of Civil Procedure and Evidence.
Professor Cheryl Brown Wattley joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where she served on the faculty from 2007 through 2013, and was Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education. At UNT Dallas College of Law, Professor Wattley will teach Criminal Law in the first-year curriculum; she will also be the Director of Experiential Education and teach courses in professional skills, criminal law, and professionalism.
Professor Wattley graduated from Smith College, cum laude, with high honors in Sociology. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Boston University College of Law, where she was a Martin Luther King, Jr. fellow and recipient of the Community Service Award. She also served as a summer intern for the General Counsel's Office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Professor Wattley began her legal career as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut representing the United States in civil litigation. Through her actions, the United States participated as litigating amicus curiae in Connecticut ARC v. Thorne, the lawsuit that led to the entry of a consent decree overhauling the system for serving persons with mental retardation in Connecticut.
She later transferred to the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas, located in Dallas, where she focused on the prosecution of white collar crime and served as Chief of the Economic Crime Unit. During her service as a prosecutor, she received two Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards, the United States Postal Inspection Service National Award, and commendations from the Department of Treasury, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Customs Department.
Professor Wattley then went into private litigation practice, where her work included white-collar criminal defense, civil rights litigation, federal and state criminal defense, and post-conviction proceedings. After joining the OU College of Law faculty in 2007, Professor Wattley continued to represent clients on a pro bono basis, primarily involving post-conviction relief.
Professor Wattley continues to work with Centurion Ministries, a non-profit organization based in Princeton, New Jersey, devoted to the vindication and liberation of persons wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Through Centurion, she served as one of the attorneys for Kerry Max Cook, a former Texas death row inmate. In 2009, Professor Wattley represented Richard Miles in his release from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Professor Wattley has served on a variety of civic and professional boards and committees, including the State Bar of Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals; District 6 Grievance Committee; Dallas Bar Foundation; and the Board of Regents for Texas Woman's University. She was appointed to serve on "Dallas Together," a mayoral committee appointed to address racial issues within the City of Dallas, and also was appointed Vice Chairperson for the 1990 and 2000 City of Dallas Redistricting Commissions. She has been an instructor for National Institute of Trial Advocacy programs.
Professor Wattley received the Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in 1994. She is also the recipient of the DaVinci Institute Fellow Award for Innovative Teaching (2013), the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award (2012), the Association of Black Lawyers’ Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Award (2012), and the University of Oklahoma Regents’ Award for Superior Professional and University Service and Public Outreach (2011).
This page will provide additional information about the founding faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law as appointments are completed and made public.