Joshua C. Tate

"The true genius of the Angevin legal reforms was their resilience in the face of the worst enemy of the rule of law: powerful men who do not understand the limits of their power."


Joshua Tate's research and teaching focus on legal history, property, and trusts and estates. He has been a full-time faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law since the fall of 2005, and was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the spring of 2008. In the fall of 2012, he was a Lloyd M. Robbins Senior Research Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. He is an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, serves the Selden Society as a member of the Council and as the Honorary Treasurer for the U.S.A., and is a past chair of the Uniform Acts Committee for the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section and the Sutherland Prize Committee for the American Society for Legal History. He has given invited presentations at numerous academic conferences, colloquia, and workshops both in the United States and abroad. From 2013 to 2015, he gave a series of more than sixty lectures in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. He is currently finishing a study of the development of property rights and remedies in medieval England, focusing on issues of jurisdictional conflict with regard to rights of presentation to churches. He is admitted to practice in Texas and Connecticut.

Areas of Expertise

  • Legal History
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Property Law


B.A. summa cum laude, Pomona College
M.Phil., University of Cambridge
J.D., Yale Law School
Ph.D., Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


Trusts & Estates
History of Anglo-American Legal Institutions



GLOBAL LEGAL HISTORY: A COMPARATIVE LAW PERSPECTIVE (ed. with José Reinaldo de Lima Lopes and Andrés Botero-Bernal) (Routledge 2018)

A TEXAS COMPANION FOR THE COURSE IN WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATES (Aspen Publishers, biennial editions 2011-present)


Personal Reality: Delusion in Law and Science, 49 Connecticut Law Review 893 (2017)

Magna Carta and the Fundamental Right to Due Processin MAGNA CARTA: 800 ANOS DE INFLUÊNCIA NO CONSTITUCIONALISMO E NOS DIREITOS FUNDAMENTAIS, at 129 (Zulmar Fachin, Jairo Néia Lima & Éverton Willian Pona eds., 2015), reprinted in 11 Frontiers of Law in China 236 (2016) (symposium issue)

La Carta Magna y los orígenes del procedimiento judicial o legal, 6 Precedente, Jan.-June 2015, at 145 (in Spanish)

Perpetuities and the Genius of a Free State, 67 Vanderbilt Law Review 1823 (2014) (symposium issue)

Should Charitable Trust Enforcement Rights Be Assignable?, 85 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1045 (2010) (symposium issue)

(See full CV for complete list.)

Book Chapters

Justice, in A CULTURAL HISTORY OF LAW IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE, at 11 (Emanuele Conte & Laurent Mayali eds., 2019)

Royal Privilege and Episcopal Rights in the Later Thirteenth Century: The Case of the Ashbourne Advowson, 1270-1289, in LAW AND SOCIETY IN LATER MEDIEVAL ENGLAND AND IRELAND: ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF PAUL BRAND, at 97 (Travis R. Baker ed., 2017)

Glanvill and the Development of the English Advowson Writs, in TEXTS AND CONTEXT IN LEGAL HISTORY: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF CHARLES DONAHUE, at 129 (Sara McDougall, Anna di Robilant & John Witte, Jr., eds., 2016)

Episcopal Power and Royal Jurisdiction in Angevin Englandin STUDIES IN CANON LAW AND COMMON LAW IN HONOR OF R.H. HELMHOLZ, at 15 (Troy L. Harris ed., 2015)

Competing Institutions and Dispute Settlement in Medieval England, in LAW AND DISPUTING IN THE MIDDLE AGES: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NINTH CARLSBERG ACADEMY CONFERENCE ON MEDIEVAL LEGAL HISTORY 2012, at 235 (Per Andersen et al. eds., 2013)

William Blackstone, in 1 OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN POLITICAL AND LEGAL HISTORY 77 (Donald T. Critchlow & Philip R. VanderMeer eds., 2012)

(See full CV for complete list.)

Other Publications

Review of NICHOLAS VINCENT, MAGNA CARTA: ORIGINS AND LEGACY, in 33 Medieval Perspectives (2018)



Review of KARL SHOEMAKER, SANCTUARY AND CRIME IN THE MIDDLE AGES, 400-1500, in 8 Law, Culture and Humanities 517 (2012)

Review of PAOLO GROSSI, A HISTORY OF EUROPEAN LAW, in 29 Law and History Review 899 (2011)

The Grand Jury in Historical Perspective, El Paso Bar Journal, Apr./May 2016, at 13 (Part I), and June 2016, at 18 (Part II)

Magna Carta and the Surprising Survival of Jury Trial, El Paso Bar Journal, Feb./Mar. 2015, at 5 (Part I), Apr./May 2015, at 5 (Part II), and June 2015, at 5 (Part III)

The Selden Society in Texas, El Paso Bar Journal, June 2014, at 8

(See full CV for complete list.)


The History of the Court of Chancery and the Division of Law and Equity
     Midland County Bar Association
          Midland, TX (November 2019)
     Atlanta Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section
          Atlanta, GA (September 2016)

Magna Carta and the American Revolution
     Daughters of the American Revolution
     Nancy Horton Davis Chapter
          Dallas, TX (April 2019)

Keys to Law School Success
     University of Alaska at Fairbanks
          Fairbanks, AK (March 2019)
     Mississippi State University
          Starkville, MS (February 2019)
     Mississippi University for Women
          Columbus, MS (February 2019)
     Louisiana Tech University
          Ruston, LA (February 2019)
     Missouri State University
          Springfield, MO (April 2017)
     University of California at Merced
          Phi Alpha Delta Chapter
          Merced, CA (April 2017)
     Oakwood University
          Huntsville, AL (April 2017)
    University of Alabama in Huntsville
          Huntsville, AL (April 2017)
     University of Central Florida
          Orlando, FL (March 2017)
     University of Arkansas at Little Rock
          Little Rock, AR (March 2017)
     Hendrix College
          Conway, AR (March 2017)
     Westminster College
          Fulton, MO (January 2017)
     University of California at Riverside
          Phi Alpha Delta Chapter
          Riverside, CA (April 2016)
     University of California at Irvine
          Phi Alpha Delta Chapter
          Irvine, CA (April 2016)
     University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
          Chattanooga, TN (October 2015)
     University of Texas at Arlington/
          AT&T Mentoring Program
          Dallas, TX (April 2015)

Magna Carta and the Definition of Fundamental Rights
     Sixty-Second Missouri Valley History Conference
          Omaha, NE (February 2019)
     Seventh Congress, Latin American Institute for Legal History
          Puebla, Mexico (November 2018)
     Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools
          New York, NY (January 2016)

Codification of Texas Trust Law, 1943-2017
     Conference on Legal History and Empires: 
          Perspectives from the Colonized
          Cave Hill, Barbados (July 2018)
     Fifth Biennial Conference of the European
          Society for Comparative Legal History
          Paris, France (July 2018)
     University of Warsaw
         Warsaw, Poland (May 2017)
     University of Tokyo
         Tokyo, Japan (November 2015)

Personal Reality: Delusion in Law and Science
     American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
          Legal Education Committee
          Nashville, TN (October 2017)
     Twenty-Seventh World Congress of Philosophy
          of Law and Social Philosophy
          (IVR World Congress)
          Washington, DC (July 2015)
     Annual Meeting of the Association of American
          Law Schools
          New York, NY (January 2014)
     Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association
          of Law Schools
          Amelia Island, FL (July 2012)

Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest
     New Mexico State University
          Las Cruces, NM (October 2017)
     Dallas Bar Association
          Real Property Law Section         
          Dallas, TX (October 2017)
     Rice University
          Pre-Law Society (Legalese)
          Houston, TX (September 2017)
     Grinnell College
          Grinnell, IA (September 2017)
     Lyon College
          Batesville, AR (August 2017)
     Annual Convention of the State Bar of Arizona
          Tucson, AZ (June 2017)
     Sacramento County Bar Association
          Sacramento, CA (June 2017)
     Smith County Bar Association
          Tyler, TX (June 2017)
     Tenth Circuit Historical Society
          Denver, CO (May 2017)
     U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society
          Portland, OR (April 2017)
     Oklahoma State University
          Stillwater, OK (April 2017)
     Western Illinois University
          Macomb, IL (March 2017)
     University of Central Florida
          Orlando, FL (March 2017)
     Midland County Bar Association
          Midland, TX (March 2017)
     Mississippi University for Women
          Columbus, MS (February 2017)
     Mecklenburg County Bar Association
          Charlotte, NC (February 2017)
     Davidson College
          Davidson, NC (February 2017)
     Louisiana State University
          Baton Rouge, LA (February 2017)
     Atlanta Bar Association
          Atlanta, GA (February 2017)
     Westminster College
          Fulton, MO (January 2017)
     Millsaps College
          Jackson, MS (January 2017)

Donald Trump and the State of American Democracy
     Rotary Club International of Munich
         Munich, Germany (August 2017)

Legal Education in the United States
     University of Warsaw
        Warsaw, Poland (May 2017)
     Monteávila University
          Caracas, Venezuela (November 2014)

Why a History and/or Humanities Degree Is a Great Preparation for Law School
     University of California at Merced
          Center for the Humanities
          Merced, CA (April 2017)
     Oklahoma State University
          Stillwater, OK (April 2017)
     Western Illinois University
          Macomb, IL (March 2017)
     Rollins College
          Winter Park, FL (March 2017)

The Doctrine of Discovery and the Founding of Virginia
     Jamestowne Society, First Mississippi Company
          Jackson, MS (April 2017)
     Jamestowne Society, Lone Star Company
          Dallas, TX (October 2016)

The Grand Jury in Historical Perspective
     Aoyama Gakuin University
          Tokyo, Japan (December 2016)
     Constitutional Court of Peru
          Center for Constitutional Studies (CEC)
          Lima, Peru (December 2016)
     Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association
          Huntsville, AL (December 2016)
     Memphis Bar Association
          Memphis, TN (December 2016)
     San Juan County Bar Association
          Aztec, NM (December 2016)
     Fort Lewis College
         Durango, CO (December 2016)
     Oklahoma Bar Association
          Oklahoma City, OK (November 2016)
     Northeastern State University
          Tahlequah, OK (November 2016)
     San Antonio Bar Association
          San Antonio, TX (October 2016)
     Southern University Law Center
          Baton Rouge, LA (October 2016)
     University of South Florida
          Tampa, FL (October 2016)
     Hendrix College
          Conway, AR (September 2016)
     University of Louisiana at Monroe
          Monroe, LA (September 2016)
     Selden Society, Texas Chapter
          Houston, TX (September 2016)
     32nd Judicial Circuit Bar Association
          Cape Girardeau, MO (September 2016)
     Smith County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
          Tyler, TX (August 2016)
     Washington County Bar Association
          Fayetteville, AR (August 2016)
     Jackson County Law Library
          Kansas City, MO (July 2016)
     Office of the Tennessee Attorney General
          Nashville, TN (July 2016)
     National Society of Sons of the American Revolution
     Dalllas Chapter
          Dallas, TX (July 2016)
     St. Louis Law Library Association
          St. Louis, MO (June 2016)
     Lighthouse Rotary Club
          Kaohsiung, Taiwan (May 2016)
     Dallas Bar Association
          Legal History Discussion Group
          Dallas, TX (May 2016)
     El Paso Bar Association
          El Paso, TX (May 2016)
     Comanche County Bar Association
          Lawton, OK (May 2016)
     Rotary Club of Altus
          Altus, OK (May 2016)
     University of Mississippi
          Department of Legal Studies
          Oxford, MS (April 2016)
     Midland County Bar Association
          Midland, TX (April 2016)
     Dillard University
          New Orleans, LA (March 2016)
     Arkansas State University
         Jonesboro, AR (March 2016)
     St. Edward's University
         Austin, TX (February 2016)
     Society of Magna Charta Dames & Barons
         Dallas-Fort Worth Colony
         Dallas, TX (February 2016)

Royal Privilege and Episcopal Rights in the Later Thirteenth Century: The Case of the Ashbourne Advowson, 1260-1278
     Fifteenth Annual Congress of Medieval Canon Law
          Paris, France (July 2016)

Magna Carta and the Origins of Due Process
     Autonomous University of Madrid
         and Comillas Pontificial University
         Madrid, Spain (December 2015)
     University of Valladolid
         Valladolid, Spain (December 2015)
     University of Tokyo
         Tokyo, Japan (November 2015)
     Thammasat University
          Bangkok, Thailand (November 2015)
     Selden Society, Texas Chapter
          Dallas, TX (November 2015)
     Florida Gulf Coast University
          Fort Myers, FL (November 2015)
     University of California at Santa Barbara
          Santa Barbara, CA (November 2015)
     Rotary Club of Chattanooga
          Chattanooga, TN (October 2015)
     Pontificial Catholic University of Valparaíso
          Valparaíso, Chile (October 2015)
     Selden Society, Illinois and Wisconsin Chapters
          Chicago, IL (September 2015)
     University of the North (Uninorte)
          Barranquilla, Colombia (September 2015)
     Pomona College
          Claremont, CA (September 2015)
     Renmin University Law School
          Beijing, China (September 2015)
     Panamerican University, Bonaterra Campus
          Aguascalientes, Mexico (September 2015)
     Jindal Global Law School
          Sonepat, India (August 2015)
     Pontificial Bolivarian University
          Medellín, Colombia (August 2015)
     University of the Andes (Uniandes)
          Bogota, Colombia (August 2015)
     Executive Committee of the Colombian Bar
          and University of the Republic
          Bogota, Colombia (August 2015)
     University of Cape Town
          South Africa (August 2015)
     University of Pretoria
          and University of South Africa (UNISA)
          Pretoria, South Africa (August 2015)
     University of the Witwatersrand,
          Oliver Schreiner School of Law
          Johannesburg, South Africa (August 2015)
     Netanya Academic College, School of Law
          Netanya, Israel (June 2015)
     Soochow Univeristy (Taiwan), School of Law
          Taipei (June 2015)
     Dalian Maritime University Law School
          Dalian, China (May 2015)
     Korea University School of Law
          and Ewha Law School
          Seoul, Korea (May 2015)
     University College Dublin
          Sutherland School of Law
          Dublin, Ireland (May 2015)
     University of the Pacific
          Lima, Peru (May 2015)
     Iberoamerican University
          Mexico City, Mexico (April 2015)
     University of São Paulo, Faculty of Law
          São Paulo, Brazil (April 2015)
     Diego Portales University
          Santiago, Chile (March 2015)
     ICESI University
          Cali, Colombia (February 2015)
     Nanjing University Law School
          Nanjing, China (December 2014)
     Zhejiang University Guanghua Law School
          Hangzhou, China (December 2014)
     University of Costa Rica
          San José, Costa Rica (November 2014)
     Catholic University of Santa María La Antigua
          Panama City, Panama (November 2014)
     Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás
          Goiânia, Brazil (September 2014)
     Escuela Libre de Derecho and 
          Anáhuac University
          Mexico City, Mexico (September 2014)
     University of Brasília
          Brazil (August 2014)
     Federal University of Paraná
          Curitiba, Brazil (August 2014)
     State University of Rio de Janeiro
          Brazil (August 2014)
     Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
          Porto Alegre, Brazil (August 2014)
     Federal University of Minas Gerais
          Belo Horizonte, Brazil (August 2014)
     University of Antioquia and EAFIT University
          Medellín, Colombia (August 2014)
     National Taiwan University
          Taipei (May 2014)
     Yonsei University, Soongsil University, and
          Seoul National University
          Seoul, Korea (May 2014)
     Wuhan University Law School
          Wuhan, China (May 2014)
     Xi'an Jiaotong University Law School
          Xi'an, China (May 2014)
     San Andrés University
          Buenos Aires, Argentina (April 2014)
     Rosario University
          Bogota, Colombia (Feburary 2014)
     Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher
          Education (Tec de Monterrey)
          Monterrey, Mexico (October 2013)
     Shanghai Jiaotong University KoGuan Law School
          and Fudan University Law School
          Shanghai, China (May 2013)

Magna Carta and the Surprising Survival of Jury Trial 
     Wichita County Bar Association
          Wichita Falls, TX (October 2015)
     Memphis Bar Association
          Memphis, TN (October 2015)
     Amarillo Area Bar Association
          Amarillo, TX (September 2015)   
     Southwestern University
          Georgetown, TX (September 2015)      
     Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association
          Beaumont, TX (August 2015)  
     Grayson County Bar Association
          Sherman, TX (July 2015)
     University of Texas at Arlington
          Arlington, TX (March 2015)
     Dallas Bar Association
          Dallas, TX (February 2015)
     El Paso Bar Association, Nineteenth
          Annual Civil Trial Practice Seminar
          Las Vegas, NV (February 2015)

Commercial Trusts in the United States: Creating Confidence for Business Transactions 
     Hanoi Law University
          Hanoi, Vietnam (June 2015)
     Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam
          Ministry of Foreign Affairs
          Hanoi, Vietnam (June 2015)
     Ho Chi Minh City University of Law
          Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (December 2014)
     Peruvian University of Applied Sciences
          Lima, Peru (March 2014)

Magna Carta and the Future of Liberty, Taiwan, and the World
     American Club, Taipei (June 2015)

Episcopal Power and Royal Jurisdiction in Angevin England
     Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM)
          Law Faculty Seminar
          Mexico City, Mexico (January 2015)
     Seminar on Sociology of Law
          Legal Research Institute, National Autonomous
          University of Mexico (IIJ-UNAM)
          Mexico City, Mexico (November 2014)
     Third Biennial Conference of the European
          Society for Comparative Legal History
          Macerata, Italy (July 2014)
     Torcuato Di Tella University
          Law Faculty Workshop
          Buenos Aires, Argentina (March 2014)
     Thirty-Second Annual Australian and
          New Zealand Law and History Conference
          Dunedin, New Zealand (November 2013)
     Annual Meeting of the American Society
          for Legal History
          Miami, FL (November 2013)

Migratory Clients and the Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act
     American Bar Association, Real Property
          Trust and Estate Law Section Spring Symposia
          Chicago, IL (May 2014)

Perpetuities and the Genius of a Free State
     Symposium on the Role of Federal Law in Private
          Wealth Transfer (sponsored by the ACTEC
          Foundation and the Vanderbilt Law Review)
          Nashville, TN (February 2014)

Competing Institutions and Dispute Settlement in Medieval England
     Twenty-Sixth World Congress of Philosophy
          of Law and Social Philosophy
          (IVR World Congress)
          Belo Horizonte, Brazil (July 2013)
     U.K. IVR Annual Conference
          London, England (April 2013)
     Ninth Carlsberg Academy Conference on
          Medieval Legal History
          Copenhagen, Denmark (May 2012)

(See full CV for complete list.)


Interview, "Mid-Morning with Aundrea," WCBI-TV, Columbus, MS (February 2017)