Joseph J. Norton

Headshot of Joseph J. Norton, faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Professor Emeritus of Law

Emeritus faculty


Joseph J. Norton primarily teaches domestic and international business and banking-related courses, along with courses on international economic development law. He holds the James L. Walsh Distinguished Faculty Fellowship and Professorship in Financial Law, where he has been a tenured full Professor of Law since 1981 and an Adjunct Professor since 1973.

From 1993-2004, he jointly held the Sir John Lubbock Professorship in Banking Law at the University of London and was the head of the International Financial Law Unit at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at London; and he was the Cameron Professorial Fellow in Banking Law at London from 1988-1993. In the spring semester 2005, he held the Nomura Distinguished Visiting Professorship in International Financial Systems at the Harvard Law School. In 1999-2001 he held the Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished University Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, where he helped co-found the Asian Institute of International Financial Law, of which he remains the Chair of the Academic Advisory Board. He also currently holds Visiting University Professorships at the Peking University Law Faculty and the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. He previously has held a chaired Visiting Professorship at the Banking Law Center, University of Johannesburg (RAU) South Africa; a Visiting Professorial Fellowship at the Mandela Institute, Wits University, Johannesburg; and a Professorial Fellowship in Financial Law and Institutions at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London). In addition, he held a Visiting Professorship position at the University of Muenster Law Faculty for eight years, and he was a Visiting Professor at Soochow University Law Faculty, Taipei.

He was the Editor-in-Chief on the International Lawyer journal for 14 years; and the Editor-in-Chief of the Law and Business Review of the Americas for 21 years. He is General Editor of three major international book series; and he sits on the Advisory Boards of five international journals. In September 2001, he was honored with an LLD degree from the University of Stockholm in recognition of such accomplishments; and in 2005, he was awarded an earned LLD degree from the University of London for his writings from 1996-2001. He also holds a DPhil. (Law) degree in international banking from Oxford University, and an SJD in international and European Community law from the University of Michigan Law School.

He has published over 50 books and 150 articles on related subjects; and he has lectured on banking and finance law, international business law, financial sector reform, and corporate/enterprise governance issues worldwide. He has practical experience with international and domestic (U.S.) banking and capital markets transactions; international financial regulatory matters; bank, corporate and asset restructuring; asset securitization; and enterprise governance respecting small, medium-sized, “publicly-held”, and multinational enterprises. He has consulted with a broad range of governmental and intergovernmental authorities worldwide, including, the World Bank, the IMF, the EBRD, the Korean Government, SADC, the FDIC, the Bank of Thailand, the Bank of England, and the Czech, Estonian and Mauritian banking authorities. He has also served as a member of the World Bank/IMF Core Consultative Group on their Bank Insolvency Initiative and of the London Financial Law Panel; and is on the Banking Panel of CIETAC (China). He also has served as an academic consultant to the Latin American Association of Bank Supervisors and to the International Association of Deposit Insurers, and was an advisor with respect to the Thai, Korean and Indonesian financial crises in the mid 1990s.

He has successfully supervised over 40 PHD (Law)/SJD students over the past three decades. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, of the American College of Commercial Lawyers, and of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law; and he holds the Martindale Hubbell AV (highest professional lawyer) rating. He was a corporate/banking partner (director) of a major Texas law firm and has served as a consultant to several other major Texas law firms, two of which at their London offices; and he has served as a member of the ABA and Texas Banking Committees, as a Council member of the ABA’s International Law and Practice Section, and as a member of the UK/ICC Banking Committee. He is founder and Director of SMU’s Institute of International Banking and Finance and of the reactivated SMU Law Institute of the Americas; and for ten years was the Director of SMU’s annual Institutes of Banking Law, Commercial Lending and Finance, and of Lender Liability and for four years of the SMU’s Bankruptcy Law Institute. He is a member of the Advisory Board to the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU.

He is a former President and (for 11 years) a member of the Board Directors of the North Central Texas Legal Service. He founded and was Executive Director of the London (now Global) Forum for International Economic Development Law. His current research interests concern global and U.S. financial sector reform, the reform of international economic and financial institutions/arrangements, comparative and global corporate governance issues, and inadvertent liabilities in enterprise relationships.

Area of expertise

  • Business
  • International Economic Law


A.B., Providence College
LL.B. (hons.), University of Edinburgh
LL.M., University of Texas
S.J.D., University of Michigan
Diplôme (droit privé), Hague Academy of International Law
D.Phil. (Law), Oxford University
LL.D (hc) (Stockholm)
LL.D (London)


Business Enterprise
International Economic Law & Development
International Business & Financial Transactions


Selective Books

LAW, CULTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPENT: A Liber Amicorum for Professor Roberto MacLean ( 2007)






Selective Articles

The Fall of '71 and the Old Quad:  A Personal Tribute to Professor John H. Jackson, 19 Journal of International Economic Law 407 (2016)

Reflections on "In the Best Interest of the Corporation" and "Corporate Social Responsibility": An Essay Honouring the Memory of Professor Alan R,. Bromberg, 68 SMU Law Review 603 (2015)

NIFA-II or ‘Bretton Woods-II’?: The G-20 (Leaders) summit process on managing global financial markets, 11 (4) Journal of Banking Regulation 261–301 (2011)

Multinational Companies: of Institutional .Spheres of Influence, Corporate Social Responsibility and Meaningful Financial Sector Law Reform for Developing Countries, (2009) European Business Law Review (Issue No. 1) pp 1-62

Comment on the Developing Transnational Network(s) in the Area of International Financial Regulation: The Underpinnings of a New Bretton Woods II Global Financial System Framework, 43 International Lawyer 174-205 (2009)

Building a Framework to Address Failure of Complex Global Financial Institutions (co-author), 39 Issue of Hong Kong Law Review 95-128 (Spring 2009)

Book chapters

Architecture and Conceptual Issues, Chapter 6 in  INTERNATIONAL LAW IN FINANCIAL REGULATION AND MONETARY AFFAIRS (Oxford Univ. Press, Profs T. Cottier, J.H. Jackson and R. Lastra) (2012), pp. 113-133

Evaluating International Financial Crisis Response Mechanisms, chapter in CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND THE USE OF GOVERNMENT GUARANTEES, by D. Arner & J. Norton (OECD/Palsgrave-MacMillan, pending 2012 publications ) (23 printed pages)

The ‘Santiago Principles’ For Sovereign Wealth Funds: A Case Study on International Financial Standard-Setting Processes, Chapter 6 in INTERNATIONAL LAW IN FINANCIAL REGULATION AND MONETARY AFFAIRS (Oxford Univ.Press, Profs T. Cottier, J.H. Jackson and R. Lastra) (2012), earlier version published in 13 (3) Journal of International Economic Law (OUP) 645–662 (Dec. 2010)

A suggested First Step for Moving Toward a ‘Next Generation’ of Viable and Effective Long-term Financial Sector Legal Reform: Taking Stock of the ‘First Generation’ of Reform, Monograph in WORLD BANK (LVP) SERIES ON LEGAL AND JUDICIAL REFORM (2007), 68 pages