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Dennis Turner

Professor Emeritus


School of Law



While at the School of Law, Dennis Turner has served as Assistant Dean, Acting Dean, director of the Law Clinic, director of the Legal Profession Program, chair of the Admissions Committee, and as adviser for both the Mock Trial teams and the Moot Court Board. In 1983 Professor Turner was named an honorary alumnus by the UD Alumni Association in recognition of his outstanding service to the School of Law. He won the University of Dayton Award for Teaching in 1990 and has also been chosen Professor of the Year twice by the School of Law students. When not teaching at the School of Law, he teaches law related courses to seniors citizens at the University of Dayton Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Professor Turner also writes a regular column for the Dayton Daily News entitled “On the River” which focuses on promoting the enjoyment of Dayton’s rivers.  

Interested in how other countries litigate and resolve disputes, Professor Turner took a 1994 sabbatical to Winchester, England, where he worked with barristers at Pump Court Chambers trying criminal cases. He returned to Winchester many times to continue his study of the British criminal justice system. Professor Turner said “It was tempting to move to England and become a barrister, but I love teaching too much and I could never master the so called Oxbridge accent, although I did not look too bad in a wig.”

Professor Turner has also spent time in Italy studying the Italian criminal justice system.  He believes that the Italian courts often get unfairly criticized in the American media.  To mitigate that American bias among UDSL students he has periodically organized trips to Sorrento Italy where students get an inside look at how Italian courts really operate.

Professor Turner likes to incorporate role playing into his courses, requiring students to interact with actors in the roles of clients and witnesses. He believes learning to deal with situations those students will likely encounter after they graduate should be an important and required part of law school education. “It gives students the opportunity to make mistakes, but mistakes that don’t hurt a real client, and they are mistakes they won’t make again,” he says.  Professor Turner is also experimenting with mixing the older students from his Lifelong Learning classes with law students in his regular law school courses. He hopes that the cross-generational mix will enhance learning by providing law students with the opportunity to tap into the wisdom and experience of an older generation.

Before coming to UD, Professor Turner was an assistant county prosecutor for Montgomery County, Ohio, and a magistrate for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. He has also been a visiting professor at the University Of Notre Dame’s London Program.

He is the only remaining faculty member from 1974, when the School of Law reopened. “There were five faculty members and one classroom,” he remembers. Professor Turner calls teaching at UD rewarding. “UD is a great institution,” he says. “Here I am more than 40 years later and still having a great time.”


J.D., Georgetown University, 1970
B.A., Georgetown University, 1967

Areas of Law

Civil Procedure
Civil and Criminal Litigation
Comparative Law

Tort Litigation: Medical Malpractice

Selected Publications

Why Can’t Law Schools Be More Like Med Schools?, 3 The Complete Law (2007)

Steele v. Kitchener: Case Materials and Problems, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (2005)

Infusing Ethical, Moral and Religious Values into a Law School Curriculum, University of Dayton Law Review (1999)

Can Civility Return to the Courtroom? Will American Jurors Like It? Ohio State Law Journal (1997)

Imported From England? Legal Times (1997)

Using British Trial Procedures in America, Law and Human Behavior (1997)

Against the Wind, Traverse Magazine (1996)

Can Civility Return to the American Courtroom? 146 New Law Journal 983 (London 1996)