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.”