David Swank

  • Dean Emeritus
  • David Ross Boyd Professor of Law Emeritus


B.A., Oklahoma State University, 1953

J.D., University of Oklahoma, 1959


Professor David Swank joined The University of Oklahoma in 1963 as its legal counsel and as assistant professor of law. Since that time he has served OU in a variety of positions, including associate professor, professor, Associate Dean, Dean of the College of Law, Director of the Law Center, and Interim President of The University of Oklahoma.

Swank began his law career in 1959 as a partner in the firm Swank & Swank of Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 1961, he was named assistant county attorney for Payne County, and in 1963, he became county attorney. Professor Swank was a Major in the United States Army serving in the 11th Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division and Special Forces.

He has been active in working with the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association. He was the principal drafter of the Oklahoma Discovery Code. In 1977 he was honored by the Oklahoma Bar Association for his work in Ethics and Discipline. In 2008 and 2012 he received th Oklahoma Bar Association President's Award for distinguished service to the Bar Association.  Swank was the university faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Big Eight Conference and was vice president of the NCAA for seven years. He also served on the NCAA Executive Committee and in 1991 was named to the NCAA Committee on infractions. He served as a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions for nine years until 1999, and served as chair for seven years. In 1994 he was named by College Sports magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in college sports. In October 2011, Professor Swank was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.  

Swank was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 1959 and is a member of the Order of the Coif, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, the Oklahoma Bar Association, and the American Inns of Court XXIII. He is a fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation.

He is the coauthor of Criminal Justice for the United States Postal Inspector, with R.E.L. Richardson.

Additional Information

Awards & Honors

50 Most Influential People in College Sports, College Sports Magazine, 1994

Oklahoma Bar Association President's Award, 2008

Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, 2011

Oklahoma Bar Association President's Award, 2012


Professional Associations

Order of the Coif

Omicron Delta Kappa

Phi Kappa Phi

Member of the Oklahoma Bar Association

Member of the American Bar Association

Member of the American Inns of Court XXIII

Thank you for your interest in applying to OU Law

Please select your program of interest to learn more about the application process.

J.D. ProgramM.L.S. ProgramLL.M. ProgramLegal Assistant Education Not sure? Learn more about admissions at OU Law