Tracy L. Turner

Associate Dean for Learning Outcomes | Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills

Professor Tracy Turner

B.A., summa cum laude, International Relations/Russian Studies, 1994, Tufts University
J.D., cum laude, 1997, Harvard University

Member, California State Bar

(213) 738-5736
BW 419

Associate Dean Tracy Turner has been a leader in developing Southwestern’s program of legal education. Dean Turner’s collaborative approach and dedication to teaching quality have enabled lasting, positive change including the school’s innovative six-unit, three-track LAWS course and the faculty’s adoption of the six J.D. learning outcomes that guide the school’s curriculum. 

Describing her role as Associate Dean of Learning Outcomes, she explains, “The process of learning outcomes assessment is a structured method for examining our effectiveness as educators, and if we do it well, it can make us better.”  She continues, “Southwestern has always been committed to innovation and improvement, so although learning outcomes assessment is new to law schools in general, it feels very natural to me as a faculty member at this institution.” Dean Turner brings innovation to her teaching as well through methodologies and assessments that reach a variety of different learning styles. 

Dean Turner had a rich and diverse legal practice before joining Southwestern’s faculty in 2004. She mentions, with a chuckle, that she split one of her law school summers between the New York Civil Liberties Union and a District Attorney’s Office. “When I get called for jury duty, neither side knows what to do with me!” In addition, she has experience helping domestic violence victims in family law matters, representing employers in civil litigation, and presenting complex appellate arguments in state and federal courts of appeal.

Dean Turner has been an active scholar as well. She has published a textbook and several scholarly articles on legal writing pedagogy and has presented on related topics at forums around the country including the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference, the Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference (ALWD), and the Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI). In addition, since 2022, she has been engaging in scholarship devoted to protecting the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community. She worries that state initiatives threaten to further marginalize gender minorities and federal constitutional doctrines that have provided some protection in the past may be weakened by a shifting majority on the United States Supreme Court. She explains, “Constitutional doctrine is already marred by serious flaws in logic when it comes to this community, and I fear this could worsen.” She states, “I hope to give litigators strong arguments and effective tools they can use to help courts see the incompatibility of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation with the equal citizenship principle at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Her first article in this area has led to speaking opportunities at the Law & Society Association conference in Puerto Rico and the ISA World Congress of Sociology conference in Melbourne, Australia.