David A. Thomas

David A. Thomas is the Rex E. Lee Endowed Chair and Professor of Law Emeritus at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he taught from 1974 until his retirement in 2012.  He was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1944, and was educated in Utah schools after 1950.  He earned his BA and MLS degrees at Brigham Young University (1967, 1977) and his JD at Duke University Law School (1972), after an interruption for military service in Vietnam.  There he served in the 1st Infantry Division and was awarded two Bronze Star medals and the Army Commendation Medal. Following law school graduation, he completed a federal judicial clerkship and practiced law in Salt Lake City, before joining the law school faculty at Brigham Young University in 1974.  He received professor of the year awards in 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2010. As a teacher and author in both property and civil procedure areas, he effectively combined theory and practice in conducting real property transactions, dispute resolution, and expert witness assignments.  He proposed and drafted Utah’s first statutory changes in common law easement rules, which were enacted as the state’s enabling legislation for historic preservation easements; he also drafted Utah’s long range highway corridor preservation legislation.  Professor Thomas has been admitted to practice before the Utah Supreme Court, the US District Court for the District of Utah, the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  He was a bar examiner for Utah and prepared bar examination questions for Utah and several other states.  He also served on numerous law school accreditation site inspection teams.  He was a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association, where he held several leadership positions.  He was also a founding member of the Real Estate Transactions Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Thomas has published extensively on real property, civil procedure and common law legal history topics, including over 70 legal treatises, chapters in several treatises, and over three dozen articles in professional journals.  He is the author of A Practical Guide to Disputes Between Adjoining Landowners–Easements (2 vols., with Backman), Utah Civil Procedure, Utah Civil Practice, and  Utah Real Property Law (with Backman)and History of American Land Law (2 vols.) He is the editor-in-chief and principal author of the 15-volume treatise Thompson on Real Property, Thomas Edition (LexisNexis, 1994–), which has been cited in thousands of state and federal cases. He served a 30 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North German Mission (1963-1965), principally in Hamburg and Bremen. During 2016-2018 he and his wife Paula served as senior missionaries for the Church at the Europe Area headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, where he was associate legal counsel and worked principally in real estate transactions. He is fluent in German and has been active in research and scholarly affairs in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. He and his wife Paula have eight children and reside in Orem, Utah.