James N. Castleberry

Photo from Barrister News 1955

JAMES N. CASTLEBERRY was born on December 28, 1921 in Chatom, Alabama. Originally enrolled at the University of Alabama, Professor Castleberry left school in 1941 to join the U.S. military. While in the service, first in the U.S. Army then in the Air Force as a pilot, Professor Castleberry completed his undergraduate degree within the U.S. Government educational system. During this time, while stationed at Lackland Airforce base, Professor Castleberry also enrolled at St. Mary’s University School of Law. He graduated in 1952, magna cum laude.

Professor Castleberry began his career as Assistant Attorney General of Texas in 1953 before St. Mary’s School of Law Dean Raba recruited him to the faculty in 1955. Professor Castleberry was a founding member of the St. Mary’s University School of Law international legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi-Tarlton Inn. He served as Vice-President and President of Phi Delta Phi from 1977-1979, and contributed to establishing a chapter of Phi Delta Phi in Mexico City. He received a Distinguished Law Alumnus Award from St. Mary’s University in 1985 and helped create the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library at St. Mary’s University. He also helped found the Innsbruck Program, a study abroad program at St. Mary’s School of Law. 

During his career between 1955 and 1992, Professor Castleberry taught courses in real estate and personal property, land use planning, oil and gas, water rights, and comparative law. He served as School of Law Dean from 1978-1989. During the summer, Castleberry served as Visiting Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law in 1979 and 1984, Southwestern University School of Law in 1981, and the University of Alabama School of Law in 1982. Additionally, he served as director of summer programs in international and comparative law at St. Mary's University School of Law from 1986-1989, the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1987, and as Dean Emeritus at St. Mary’s in 1989.

During his career as a lawyer, Professor Castleberry served as a member of the Editorial Board of Community Property Journal from 1974-1979, on the Senior Advisory Board of the Texas Lyceum Association from 1982-1989, and executive director for the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism from 1990-1992. Additionally, Professor Castleberry was a member of the State Bar of Texas, San Antonio Bar Association, American Bar Association, San Antonio Bar Foundation, trustee of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, and served on the board of directors of Preservation Texas in 1996.  

In 1970, Professor Castleberry co-authored Waters and Water Rights, a seven-volume treatise on water rights in the United States and wrote numerous articles in legal periodicals.  He passed away in 2008.

By John Cadena, St. Mary’s University Law Fellows in Public History (2018)


Charles E. Cantu, Reflections on James E. Castleberry, JR., Dean (1978–1989), St. Mary’s School of L., 40 Sᴛ. Mᴀʀʏ’ꜱ L. J. 1, 1–2 (2008).

Jack Pope, Dedication, 21 Sᴛ. Mᴀʀʏ’ꜱ L.J. 757, 764–66 (1990). 

James P. White, Dedication, 21 Sᴛ. Mᴀʀʏ’ꜱ L.J. 757, 767–68 (1990).

Orville C. Walker, Dedication, 21 Sᴛ. Mᴀʀʏ’ꜱ L.J. 757, 762–63 (1990).

The President’s Page, 71 Tʜᴇ Bʀɪᴇꜰ, Winter 1975–1976, at 73–75.

State Bar of Texas, Find A Lawyer (May 7, 2008).

Legacy.com, James N. Castleberry Jr. (June 28, 2008).

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