Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Leigh H. Taylor

Leigh H. Taylor

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law

B.A., History and Political Science, 1964, and J.D., 1966, University of Tulsa; LL.M., 1969, New York University; Fellow in Law and Economics, 1975, University of Chicago; Member, Illinois and Oklahoma State Bars



One of the most highly respected leaders in American legal education, Leigh H. Taylor is admired particularly for his efforts to help ensure the rights of women and minorities. A civil rights activist in college, he served as editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Journal and was recruited by the Attorney General's Honors Program for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where he served as lead counsel in one of the largest school desegregation cases filed by the Department.

"It is very rewarding to be able to inspire our students and be a positive force in their lives."

Dean Taylor's interest in education led him to law teaching in the early seventies, first at DePaul University College of Law where he taught a variety of courses, served as associate dean and directed the law clinic. In 1977, he became the youngest law school dean in the country when he was appointed to that post at Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, and the following year was selected for the deanship at Southwestern. For 27 years under Dean Taylor's leadership, Southwestern realized tremendous growth and development in all areas, including an outstanding faculty and excellent faculty-student ratio, the expansion of the curriculum and cocurricular programs, and the creation of one of the most beautiful and technologically advanced law school environments anywhere. "It is very rewarding," he says, "to be able to inspire our students and be a positive force in their lives." He became Dean Emeritus in July 2005 and served as director of the International Entertainment Law Summer Program in London in 2010.

Dean Taylor has held many prominent positions within the four major legal education organizations. A long-term member of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) board of trustees, he was elected chair of LSAC in 1995. In that role, he established several innovative outreach and support programs, including initiatives to encourage lesbian and gay law school applicants and students. A member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Law School Accreditation Committee for several years, Dean Taylor is often called upon to chair law school site evaluation teams for both the ABA Section on Legal Education and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). He has also chaired many committees and served on several executive boards for the ABA and AALS, and chaired the board of trustees of the National Association for Law Placement Foundation for Law Career Research and Education.

In recognition of Dean Taylor's "extraordinary dedication to Southwestern and to legal education," the Board of Trustees named the Law Library in his honor in 2004.


Books and Chapters


Case Study Method in THE METHODS BOOK: STRATEGIES FOR LAW FOCUSED EDUCATION (Law in American Society Foundation, 1977)

It's About Service, Stupid, LAW SERVICES REPORT (September/October 1996)

Nudging the Pendulum, LAW SERVICES REPORT (May/June 1996)

Fiscal Reality, LAW SERVICES REPORT (January/February 1996)

The Predicament of the Profession, LAW SERVICES REPORT (November/December 1995)

A Faulty and Narrow Understanding of Merit and Qualification Based Admissions, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (October 1995)

A Look at Law School Support: Independent Law Schools, SYLLABUS (June 1985)

Selected Achievements

Member, Board of Trustees, NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education, 1999-present, Chair 2004-2006

Trustee Liaison/Member, Investment Policy Oversight Group, Law School Admission Council, 1997-present

Member, LSAC Investment Policy Oversight Group, 1989-present

Member, Government Relations and Student Financial Aid Committee, Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 1996-2000, Chair, 1999-2000

Member, Foreign Law Initiative Advisory Committee, Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 1997-2000

Member, Standards Review Committee, Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, 1997-2000, Vice-Chair, 1999-2000

Executive Board, Section on Academic Assistance, Association of American Law Schools, 1997-99

Past Chair/Member, Board of Trustees, Law School Admission Council, 1997-98

Testified in support of the continued recognition of the American Bar Association, Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as the accrediting body of American law schools, National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, United States Congress, December 1998