Retired Faculty
2009 - Present

Joseph W. McKnight 
Dedman School of Law  2014

Joseph McKnight is the Larry and Jane Harlan Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Law. He has made historic contributions to scholarship in legal history and to law reform in Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and earned three degrees from Oxford University, followed by a Master of Laws at Columbia University. He retires this year from the law faculty of SMU, where he has served for six decades. In 1991 he became the Larry and Jane Harlan Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Law in SMU's Dedman School of Law. He has been a visiting professor at five other law schools, including the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics. He directed the Texas Family Code project, which achieved reform in that vital area of law. He was principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women, and a major drafter of other important Texas statutes. McKnight has published six books and established an invaluable collection of rare legal books at SMU. A leader in historical preservation efforts, he has worked diligently to preserve significant sites throughout Texas. For his dedicated service to SMU, his distinguished scholarship and his leadership in the legal community, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Joseph W. McKnight the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. He retires as Professor Emeritus of Law.

See for a video interview with Professor McKnight