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The Hon. Patrick Higginbotham

Practicing Faculty


Contact Information


  • LL.B., University of Alabama School of Law, 1961
  • B.A., University of Alabama, 1960

License to Practice

  • Texas

Specialties and Courses

  • Federal Courts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Equal Protection in the U.S. and Europe


Patrick E. Higginbotham was appointed to the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, in 1975 and in 1982 to the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. When appointed to the District Court, he was the youngest sitting judge in the United States. He was born in Alabama on December 16, 1938 and received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Alabama and an honorary Doctor of Law, SMU.

His career over the past 57 years has been in the courtroom, first as a trial lawyer then as judge, he remains an ardent defender of juries. He is an editor of Moore’s Federal Practice and the author of more than 4,000 judicial opinions and 58 articles and book reviews for law reviews and legal journals. He has lectured and taught courses in Constitutional Law and Federal Courts at numerous law schools throughout his career and for more than 10 years at St. Mary’s School of Law, San Antonio, Texas.

In 1975, Judge Higginbotham was a conferee at both the American Assembly on Law and the American Future at Stanford University and served by federal appointment as a special prosecutor; in 1976, he was a conferee at the Pound Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He is a lifetime member of the ALI and advisor to its project on Complex Litigation; Member of the Board of Trustees of the Center for American & International Law for 37 years and Chairman of its Board of Trustees for 13 years (formerly Southwestern Legal Foundation) (1997-2010); President of the American Inn of Court Foundation (1996-2000); the oldest American Inn of Court in Dallas, Texas bears his name; Fellow, American Bar Foundation; member of the Committee on Ethics 2000, ABA; former Chair, Appellate Judges Conference, ABA; and former member of the Board of Editors, ABA Journal; advisor to the National Center for State Courts on its study of habeas corpus; member of the Board of Overseers, Institute for Civil Justice, RAND; Chair of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules (1993-1996) (appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist).

He worked with the governments of Albania, Republic of South Korea, Brazil, Hong Kong and the Philippines. He has also lectured in France, Austria and the U.K. on numerous occasions.


  • Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers (1997)
  • A. Sherman Christensen Award from the American Inns of Court, presented in the Supreme Court (2002)
  • TEX-ABOTA Judge of the Year Award (2006)
  • Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics at a Celebration of Excellence presented by Justice Alito in the United States Supreme Court (2008)
  • Chief Justice John Marshall Award for Lifetime achievement from the JAG Association in Washington, DC
  • St. Thomas More Award from St. Mary’s School of Law, San Antonio, Texas (2011)
  • 2013 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism and Integrity Award from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics


Shorter Work in Collection

  • Supreme Court Practice. (Book review): An article from: Journal of Appellate Practice and Process (2010).
  • Thoughts about Professor Resnik’s paper. 148 U. Pa. L. Rev. 2197 (2000).