James McGrath

Professor of Law & Director of Academic Support and Bar Services

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“I want you to remember why you decided to be a lawyer in the first place. Nobody comes to law school to be an average lawyer. Remember your dream and honor it by doing your best in the short time you have in law school.”

Get to Know James McGrath

What drew you to the law?

I originally planned to teach social psychology and was very interested in the law’s effect on human behavior. As part of a joint degree program, I spent one year in law school and fell in love with the law. I abandoned the joint degree program and became a full-time law student.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

For me, the most enjoyable part of teaching is watching the “light bulb moment,” as a student embraces a difficult concept. I really enjoy my conversations with well-prepared students in class.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Aside from the substantive knowledge of the course materials, I hope my students develop their ability to think on their feet, and interact in a professional manner. I have been told that my classes are challenging, and from the experience I hope my students gain confidence in their ability to become great lawyers.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

Before law school, I enlisted in the Air Force, was an actor in children’s theater, was in a rock band, owned a nightclub and was an AIDS and LGBTQ activist. I finally went to college and law school and practiced with a medium-size firm in Connecticut. I then went to public health school before beginning my teaching career.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

Traveling, especially with my soon-to-be husband. I love going to new places and exploring different cultures — especially sampling new food. I will get on a plane anytime, going anywhere.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in the law’s effect on the health of groups of people with little or no political power. I also am interested in legal issues concerning human sexuality.

Publications

My publications are available on BePress SelectedWorks™.

Presentations

  • “The Future of LGBT Civil Rights in the United States,” Symposium: Global Citizens and Equality: 50 Years After the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (Nov. 6, 2014)
  • “Crossing the Bar: Current Character and Fitness Issues in Admission to the Profession,” SEALS Workshop on the Legal Profession Discussion Group, Amelia Island, Florida (Aug. 2, 2014)
  • “Opportunities to Study in the United States,” Shanghai University of Political Science and the Law, Shanghai, China (March 26, 2014)
  • “A History of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Employment Legal Rights in the United States,” Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China (March 28, 2014)

Expertise

  • Sexual orientation issues
  • Public health
  • Torts

Courses

  • Torts & Advanced Torts
  • Public Health Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Queer Law
  • Preparing for the Bar

Academic Experience

  • Texas A&M University School of Law
    Professor of Law (August 2013-present)
  • Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
    Professor (August 2009-August 2013)
    Associate Professor of Law (August 2006-July 2009)
    Visiting Associate Professor of Law (August 2005-May 2006)
  • Texas Wesleyan University School of Nursing
    Health Care Law & Ethics (Summer 2014)
  • Fulbright Scholar (August 2011-July 2012)
    Teaching Fellowship at Beijing University of Chemical Technology in Beijing, China
  • University of San Francisco
    Visiting Professor (Summer 2011)
  • University of Texas at Arlington
    Visitor (Summers 2006-09)
  • Appalachian School of Law
    Associate Professor (August 2004-06 [on leave 2005-06])
    Assistant Professor (August 2002-August 2004)
  • University of San Diego
    Visiting Professor (Summer 2005)
  • Temple University, Beasley School of Law
    Visiting Assistant Professor (Summer 2002-04)
    Abraham L. Freedman Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law (August 2000-July 2002)

Education

  • Temple University, Beasley School of Law
    LL.M. in Graduate Legal Education, May 2002
  • Harvard School of Public Health
    M.P.H. (Master of Public Health), June 2000
  • Howard University School of Law
    Juris Doctor, cum laude awarded, May 1997
    Dean’s Scholarship of full tuition, Howard Law School, 1994-97
  • San Jose State University
    B.A. Psychology, Minor Sociology, cum laude awarded, May 1994

Other Professional Activities

  • Member of Tarrant County Bar Association’s Tortfeasors
  • Society of American Law Teachers (SALT)
  • American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME)