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Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha (Ret.)

Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha (Ret.)

General Biography
Practice Areas
Administrative Law
American Indian Tribal Law
Civil Rights
Federal Law
Governmental/Public Agency
Personal Injury/Torts
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha (Ret.) joins JAMS after more than 20 years of distinguished service on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, including seven years as Chief Judge of that court. On her retirement from the federal judiciary in 2011, Judge Tacha was named Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law.

Tacha has significant experience in higher education as both an administrator and professor of law. She has taught in the areas of property law, oil and gas and administrative law.

Tacha is known for her keen intellect, creative problem solving and ability to grasp issues quickly. She is praised as an effective collaborator with special attention to civility.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Judge Tacha has extensive experience in the following areas:

  • Administrative Law
  • Appellate
  • Civil Rights
  • Education/Schools
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Federal
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • American Indian Tribal Law
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Real Property

Representative Matters

  • Antitrust
      • Been v. O.K. Indus., Inc., 495 F.3d 1217 (10th Cir. 2007) (holding as matter of first impression that a viable claim under the Packers and Stockyard Act requires showing injury to competition).
  • Class Action Litigation
      • Brown v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 838 F.2d 451 (10th Cir. 1988) (determining that courts may use the same attorneys’ fees analysis under fee-shifting statutes and in common fund class action cases).
  • Due Process and Equal Protection Claims
      • Watson v. City of Kansas City, 857 F.2d 690 (10th Cir. 1988) (creating standard for domestic violence victims to establish a viable Equal Protection Clause claim).
      • Roska ex rel. Roska v. Peterson, 328 F.3d 1230 (10th Cir. 2003) (determining that officers acted unconstitutionally by removing a child from its home without sufficient pre-removal procedures).
  • Eighth Amendment
      • Clemmons v. Bohannon, 956 F.2d 1523 (10th Cir. 1992) (en banc) (examining whether exposure to secondhand smoke constituted cruel and unusual punishment).
  • Employment
      • Simms v. Okla. ex rel. Dep’t of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Servs., 165 F.3d 1321 (10th Cir. 1999) (explaining that Title VII permits a company to hire any equally qualified candidate and the court is not to act as a “‘super-personnel department’ that second-guesses employers’ business judgments”).
      • Notari v. Denver Water Dep’t, 971 F.2d 585 (10th Cir. 1992) (adopting “background circumstances” test for reverse discrimination claims).
  • Environmental
      • N.M. Cattle Growers Ass’n v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 248 F.3d 1277 (10th Cir. 2001) (analyzing the Endangered Species Act’s definition of “economic impact” as a matter of first impression amongst circuit courts).
  • Excessive Force and Qualified Immunity
      • Pueblo Neighborhood Health Ctrs., Inc. v. Losavio, 847 F.2d 642 (10th Cir. 1988) (explaining that the qualified immunity analysis must consider a law enforcement officer’s state of mind when intent is an element of the alleged constitutional violation).
      • Medina v. Cram, 252 F.3d 1124 (10th Cir. 2001) (addressing whether police officers’ use of force was unreasonable where the plaintiff argued that the officers voluntarily placed themselves in a dangerous situation).
  • First Amendment
      • Gaylor v. United States, 74 F.3d 214 (10th Cir. 1996) (analyzing whether use of “In God We Trust” violated the Establishment Clause).
      • Cardtoons, L.C. v. Major League Baseball Players Ass’n, 95 F.3d 959 (10th Cir. 1996) (holding that parody trading cards were protected by the First Amendment).
  • Intellectual Property
      • Universal Money Ctrs., Inc. v. Am. Tel. & Telegraph Co., 22 F.3d 1527 (10th Cir. 1994) (explaining that “some actual confusion does not dictate a finding of likelihood of confusion” and examining whether several instances of actual confusion may, nonetheless, be de minimis and insufficient to support a trademark infringement claim).
      • Jordache Enters., Inc. v. Hogg Wyld, Ltd., 828 F.2d 1482 (10th Cir. 1987) (explaining differences between parody and infringement and holding that “[a]n intent to parody is not an intent to confuse the public”).

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Selected Honors

  • University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, April 2009
  • Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award, 2008
  • Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, 2008
  • ABA Justice Center John Marshall Award, 2008
  • Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, 2008
  • Distinguished KU Law School Friend Award, 2004
  • Kansas Bar Association Distinguished Service Award, 2003
  • Pepperdine University Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree Recipient, 2000
  • Suffolk University Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree Recipient, 1996
  • Don Volker Leadership Award, presented by Leadership Lawrence Class, 1992
  • Fred Ellsworth Medallion, presented by Kansas University Alumni Association, 1992
  • Honorary Member, The Commercial Bar Association of England and Wales


  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Lifetime Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Member, Kansas Bar Association
  • Lifetime Fellow, American Law Institute
  • Member, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

Bar Admissions

  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • District of Columbia

Selected Professional Activities

  • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
  • Judicial Council, United Methodist Church, 2016–Present
  • Kansas University Endowment Association Board of Trustees
    • Chair, 2015–Present
    • Vice Chair, 2006–2014
    • Executive Committee, 2005–Present
    • Member, 1992–Present
  • Member, Power of Democracy Task Force, Appointed by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, 2012–Present
  • Member, California State Bar Task Force on Admission Regulation and Reform, 2011–Present
  • Member, National Board of Trustees, Equal Justice Works, 2013–Present
  • Member, Tenth Circuit Judicial Council, 1986–1989, 1991–1993, 1995–1997, 1999–2008, 2009–2011
  • Founding Member, Judge Hugh Means American Inn of Court, 1992–Present
  • American Bar Association
    • CEELI Advisory Board, 1999–2004
    • Judicial Division, 1992–1998
      • Chair, 1995–1996
    • Appellate Judges Conference, 1989–1994
      • Chair, 1992–1993
    • Commission on Women in the Profession, 1987–1991
    • National Meeting Planning Committee, 1995–1996
    • National Board, 2012–Present
    • Rule of Law Initiative
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
    • Judicial Delegate, Anglo-American Legal Exchange, Fall 1999, Fall 2000, Fall 2004
    • Judicial Delegate, Canada-United States Legal Exchange, 2007
  • Member, Board of Governors, Beverly Hills Bar Association, 2014–Present
  • Emeritus Member, Board of Visitors, Brigham Young University School of Law, 1988–Present
  • Visiting Committee, University of Chicago School of Law, 1986–1989
  • Committee of Visitors, University of Michigan School of Law, 1981–2006
  • Dean’s Advisory Council, University of California-Irvine, Donald Bren School of Law, 2007–2010

Selected Publications

  • No Law Student Left Behind, 24 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 353 (2013)
  • The Lawyer of the Future, 40 Pepp. L. Rev. 337 (2013)
  • Don’t Eat Your Seed Corn: A Call to the Legal Profession, The Opperman Report, Nov. 5, 2012
  • Diversity in the Judiciary: A Conversation with Deanell Tacha, 59 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1037 (2011)
  • Training the Whole Lawyer, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 1699 (2010)
  • In Memoriam: Requiem for a Goldsmith, 2010 B.Y.U. L. Rev. 353 (2010)
  • Women and Law: Challenging What Is Natural and Proper, 31 Nova L. Rev. 259 (2007)
  • Refocusing the Twenty-First-Century Law School, 57 SMU L. Rev. 1543 (2004)
  • Oh, The Faces You'll See, 49 Kan. L. Rev. 1149 (2001)

Background and Education

  • Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law, 2011–2017
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
    • Chief Judge, 2001–2007
    • Circuit Judge, 1986–2011
  • University of Kansas
    • Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 1981–1985
    • Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 1979–1981
  • University of Kansas School of Law
    • Associate Dean, 1977–1979
    • Professor of Law, 1977–1985
    • Associate Professor of Law, 1974–1977
  • Director; Douglas County Legal Aid Clinic; Lawrence, Kansas; 1974–1977
  • Associate; Thomas Pitner Law Firm; Concordia, Kansas; 1973–1974
  • Associate; Hogan & Hartson; Washington, DC; 1973
  • White House Fellow; Washington, DC; 1971–1972
    • Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
  • University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan; J.D., 1971
  • University of Kansas; Lawrence, Kansas; B.A. with honors, American Studies, 1968


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