Faculty > Faculty Profiles > Joe Spurlock II

Joe Spurlock II

Professor of Law
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Courses: Contracts, Legislation, Family Law, Children & the Law, Payment Systems, and Family Law Practicum, and Appellate Practicum. 

Judge Joe Spurlock II has been on the faculty of the law school since its inception in 1989. During that time, he has taught a wide array of classes, drawing upon his vast experience as an attorney, legislator, and judge. Judge Spurlock’s classes have included contracts, family law, children & the law, legislation, appellate law and family law practicum courses, national security law, jurisprudence, and legal analysis.  In honor of his teaching abilities, he has four times been voted Professor of the Year by the students and has received the Shirley Zabel Memorial Distinguished Professor Award, given by the law school’s alumni association in 2001. 

Judge Spurlock is the founder and executive director of the Asian Judicial Institute at the law school. The mission of the Institute is to teach members of the judiciary and the legislatures of emerging former communist nations about rule of law principles and judicial independence as critical elements in growing democracy in those formerly communist states. He has traveled widely in Mongolia and other Asian nations during this time and has led the Institute in several re-training sessions in Texas and Mongolia for its judiciary and government officials.

Before teaching, Judge Spurlock had a distinguished military, political, and judicial career. He served four years active duty with the United States Army and was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star Medal while serving with the 525th Mil. Intel. Group in Vietnam (1967). On returning to the United States, Professor Spurlock worked as an assistant Criminal District Attorney with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, prosecuting both misdemeanors and felonies. 

In 1970, Judge Spurlock was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving six years in the Texas Legislature, and one year as counsel to Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe. In 1977, he was appointed to the bench of the 231st District Court (Family) in Tarrant County, Texas, serving six years.  In 1983, he was appointed to the 2d Court of Appeals of Texas in Fort Worth, where he served until 1992, retiring to become a full time professor. Currently, he is a Senior Judge of Texas serving occasionally on assignments to trial and appellate courts by  the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.

Professor Spurlock also served as a delegate to the 1974 Constitutional Convention of Texas, and has served as a member of the Legislative Council of Texas (’71-77), and member of the Texas Judicial Council (’78-’97), the last 10 years as President of the Council. He is admitted to practice law in Texas, and in the Northern and Eastern U.S. District Courts, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a Member Emeritus of Delta Theta Phi International Law Fraternity, and was selected the Outstanding Professor in the Nation by the Fraternity in 1993. In 2005, Spurlock was recognized and honored by the President and Parliament of Mongolia which awarded him the Friend of Mongolia Medallion for his work with the Supreme Court, the Legislature, and the Judiciary of Mongolia on Mongolian democratic judicial reform.

Judge Spurlock has a B.A. in Economics from Texas A&M, a J.D. from the University of Texas, and an LLM in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia.