Thomas D. Russell



American Legal History, Contracts, Torts

Professional Biography

The classroom experience should be both fun and interesting for the students. I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and I have never used intimidation as a way to educate. If I thought that fear focused the minds of my students, I would fire automatic weapons over their heads in class. In the House of Russell—which is what I call my classes—I rely on humor and raw smarts. I love teaching.

The University of Denver has a great teaching faculty. I taught for ten years at the University of Texas at Austin and quit that job to come to Denver. I have been a visiting professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and at UC-Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. I was also a lecturer at Stanford Law School.

My scholarship explores the relationship between law and that place we call the real world. I’m a legal historian with a special interest in race and law. I have written about the history of university desegregation and law’s role in the practical operation of slavery. I also have written about the history of personal injury litigation.

In addition to scholarship, teaching, and community service, I have a small solo legal practice in which I represent startup taxicab companies and injured persons seeking compensation for their personal injuries.

View CV


  • PhD, 1993, Stanford University
  • JD, 1989, Stanford University
  • MA, 1986, Stanford University
  • BA, 1983, Northwestern University

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Attorney

Featured Publications

  • Keep Negroes Out of Most Classes Where There are a Large Number of Girls: The Unseen Power of the Ku Klux Klan and Standardized Testing at the University of Texas, 1899–1999, Law, Society, and History: Themes in the Legal Sociology and Legal History of Lawrence M. Friedman, Robert W. Gordon and Morton J. Horwitz, eds., Cambridge University Press (2011).