Thomas Horton

Professor of Law and Heidepriem Trial Advocacy Fellow

Professor Thomas J. Horton is a Professor of Law and Heidepriem Trial Advocacy Fellow at the University of South Dakota School of Law.  Professor Horton transitioned to a full-time academic career at USD in 2009, following a 28-year career as an antitrust attorney and complex litigator.

At USD, Professor Horton teaches Trial Advocacy & Techniques, Antitrust & Consumer Protection, and an undergraduate honors’ seminar on “The History and Philosophy of America’s Antitrust Laws”.  He also coaches and directs USD’s national trial teams.  In 2011, Professor Horton received the John Wesley Jackson Outstanding Faculty Award at USD’s School of Law.  In 2012, he was named the first Johnson, Heidepriem & Abdallah Trial Advocacy Fellow at USD.  In 2013, he received USD’s highest teaching award for tenure track faculty—the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching.

During the summer of 2012, Professor Horton taught Comparative Antitrust and Competition Law to Chinese and American law students at the Chinese Youth University for Political Science in Beijing, China.  His research interests and publications include studying China’s 2008 Anti-Monopoly Law and its enforcement.

Professor Horton spent 15 years in the private sector, including partnerships in the Washington, DC offices of major international law firms Howrey & Simon and Orrick, Herrington & Sutclife.  His representations included a diverse array of corporations and states, including Insignia Systems, General Mills, Quaker Oats, PepsiCo,  Hershey Foods, Nestle, Prudential Insurance, Cyprus Amax Minerals, Texaco, Uniroyal Goodrich, Moore McCormack, Schering-Plough, Johnson & Johnson, Franklin Electric, Nippon Soda, Noor (Egyptian)Telephone, Foundry Networks, Affymetrix, Onyx, and the states of Rhode Island and Idaho. He has appeared in complex cases in courtrooms throughout the United States, and is an active member of the bars of Ohio (1981), the District of Columbia (1987), and South Dakota (2013).

In 1990, Professor Horton was appointed by Rhode Island’s Governor as an Assistant Special Counsel to investigate the failure of Rhode Island’s RISDIC-insured financial institutions.  The investigation and televised hearings uncovered a web of political and economic corruption and organized crime activity in the state’s banking system. During the televised hearings, his tough questioning earned him the public nickname “The Barracuda”.

In his 13 years of public service, Professor Horton served stints as a Trial Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. He has successfully represented the United States as a lead trial attorney in major antitrust cases and investigations.  From 1981-83, he served as a law clerk for United States District Judge William K. Thomas. In 1996, he ran as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 11th District.

Professor Horton earned his B.A. from Harvard University (cum laude) in 1977, majoring in the biological sciences.  He earned his J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Order of the Coif) in 1981, and a MALS (American Studies) from Georgetown University in 2007.  He is an advisory board member of the American Antitrust Institute and The Capitol Forum, and a member of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law (SEAL).

Professor Horton is the founder and co-chair of six editions of ALI-ABA’s two-day CLE course on “Trying and Winning a Civil Antitrust Case”.  In 2013, he chaired the South Dakota Law Review’s symposium on “Antitrust & Competition in America’s Heartland”. He teaches trial and deposition skills for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) and the South Dakota Trial Academy.  He has been quoted on antitrust and complex cases in the national media, including the New York Times, USA Today, the Capitol Forum, Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Dakota Farmer.

Professor Horton has been active in pro bono representations during his career, including being appointed to represent a triple murderer in Georgia habeus proceedings, and handling prisoners’ rights cases in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia. in 2000, he received the United States Attorney General’s Volunteer Service Award.