Legal Writing Faculty
Members of the legal writing faculty have been recognized both for their contributions to the profession and for their outstanding teaching. In 2012, Professor Laurel Currie Oates received the Thomas M. Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service; in 2009, she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing; and in 2007 she received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Legal Writing Education. In addition, she received Seattle University Alumni Association's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997, and the Association of American Law Schools' Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis Section Award in 2003. In 2012, Professor J. Christopher Rideout was named Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, as he was in 1998 and 1995. In 2009, he received the Mary Lawrence Award from the Legal Writing Institute for outstanding contributions to legal writing scholarship. In 2010, Professor Deirdre Bowen received an award for Best Paper for the National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference Junior Faculty Writing Competition Award Winner for her article American Skin: Dispensing with Colorblindness and Critical Mass 73 U. Pittsburgh L. Rev. 109 (2012). In 2007, Professor Anne Enquist won the Service Award from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. In 1998, the Legal Writing Institute gave special awards to Professors Anne Enquist, Christopher Rideout, and Laurel Currie Oates for their contributions to the profession.
Legal Writing Faculty
Director, Legal Writing Program
Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Enquist has been a member of the legal writing faculty and the Writing Advisor at Seattle University School of Law since 1980. She serves as the Director of Seattle University's nationally ranked legal writing program. As the Writing Advisor, she works one-on-one with law students on their legal writing. She has a B.A. and B.S. (both magna cum laude) from New Mexico State University and a M.A.T. from University of Washington. She is the co-author of five books and the author of numerous articles about legal writing. She has served on the national Board of Directors for the Legal Writing Institute, and in 2007, she received the American Association of Law School's Legal Writing Section Award. Her research and scholarly interests concern all areas of legal writing, particularly diagnosing student writing ability, critiquing law students' writing, and writing issues that affect ESL law students
J. Christopher Rideout
Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director, Legal Writing Program
Professor Rideout has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. While a graduate student there, he taught writing and then joined the English department at the University of Puget Sound. From 1981-84 he co-directed a regional writing project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He joined the Law School faculty in 1981 and serves as an Associate Director of the Legal Writing program. Co-founder of the Legal Writing Institute, he chaired its board of directors. Professor Rideout has been editor-in-chief of the journal Legal Writing and also served on its editorial board for many years. More recently, he has served as a mentor to the Legal Writing Institute's Scholarly Writing Workshop. He has presented numerous CLE's for the Washington State Bar Association on legal writing, legal drafting, and persuasive writing. He has also done plain-language consulting for the legal departments of Microsoft and Amazon.com. "In 2009, he was presented with the Mary S. Lawrence Award for Excellence in Legal Scholarship." He teaches courses in advanced writing and persuasion, legal drafting, and law, language, and literature.
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program
Professor Bowman received her B.A. summa cum laude from Seattle University in 1995 and her J.D. in 1998 from Stanford Law School in 1998, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Thomas S. Zilly, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington. Professor Bowman is the co-faculty advisor to the Seattle University Law Review. Professor Bowman also co-facilitates Seattle University's Arrupe Seminar on the Foundations and Visions of Jesuit Education, a biweekly, year-long seminar for university faculty and staff. Before joining the law faculty in 2001, Professor Bowman practiced environmental law and employment law at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, in Seattle. Within the law school, Professor Bowman has served as a faculty advisor for students interested in pursuing clerkship opportunities. Nationally, Professor Bowman serves on the final committee selecting the winner of the Scribes Law Review Award for best student note or comment, and she screens entries for the Scribes' National Best Brief Award.
Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
After earning her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, Professor Bannai was a partner with the San Francisco firm of Minami, Lew & Tamaki. While in practice, she was part of the legal team in Korematsu v. United States, an action that successfully challenged Fred Korematsu's conviction for violating military orders removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II. Before joining the Seattle University faculty in 1996, Professor Bannai directed the academic support program at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law; taught at the University of San Francisco School of Law, the John F. Kennedy School of Law, and the New College of California School of Law; and co-directed the Law and Diversity Program at Western Washington University. She has written and presented on issues related to the Japanese American internment, fostering diversity in the legal profession, and legal writing presenting last year on designing effective legal writing assignments at the AALS Workshop for New Legal Writing Teachers. She currently serves as co-faculty advisor to the Seattle Journal for Social Justice and currently serves as Associate Director of the law school's Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality.
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Bowen has an undergraduate degree from Boston University, cum laude, and a J.D., cum laude from the University of Buffalo School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Adolf Homberger Award for excellence in Civil Procedure. After practicing complex litigation in Washington, D.C., at Shaw, Pittman, Potts, & Trowbridge, she headed the consumer mediation department at Call For Action, a national non-profit consumer advocacy group. As a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Washington, Professor Bowen received the Norman S. Hayner award for excellence in her field in 1995. After completing her Ph.D. in 2002, Professor Bowen taught at the University of Washington Bothell, and Seattle University, where she was honored with the 2007 Faculty Appreciation award from the Criminal Justice department. Since 2001, Professor Bowen has taught Family Law and Consumer Law as an adjunct faculty member of the law school. She has presented her work on families, plea bargaining, and race issues both nationally and internationally at sociology as well as law conferences. Dr. Bowen was appointed by Governor Christine Gregoire to serve on the Washington State Child Support Guidelines Commission. Deirdre Bowen, the National People of Color Legal Scholarship Junior Faculty Competition's Best Paper Award, September 2010.
Lucas is excited to be returning to the law school to teach his favorite course, Legal Writing II, as an adjunct professor. He previously taught Legal Writing I and II at the law school as a Legal Writing Professor from 2005-2007.
Prior to joining the Seattle University School of Law Faculty in 2005, Lucas practiced as a public defender for The Defender Association and Northwest Defenders in Seattle. As a public defender Lucas represented hundreds of indigent clients accused of a range of crimes. He appeared daily in court representing clients at arraignments, probation reviews, plea hearings, and sentencing hearings. He also conducted numerous jury trials and pursued several successful appeals of his clients' convictions. Lucas is especially proud of the work he did while working in the domestic violence court located at the Regional Justice Center where he successfully advocated for positive procedural changes benefitting his clients.
After leaving the law school in 2007, Lucas lived abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, and worked in the financial sector during the height of the global financial crisis. From 2009 to 2012 he lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada, in the field of health regulation. In this role Lucas was an integral part of the initial efforts of health regulatory organizations in British Columbia to grapple with the oversight resulting from the provincial government's creation of the Health Professions Review Board (HPRB). The HPRB is an administrative tribunal charged with reviewing the decisions of health regulatory organizations regarding complaints against health professionals and regarding the process of issuing professional licenses.
Lucas is thrilled to be home in the US where he is establishing a law practice in Seattle.
Janet K. G. Dickson
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Dickson joined the faculty on a full-time basis in 2001. Since that time, Professor Dickson has presented at Legal Writing conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally. Her topics have consistently been student-focused, including topics such as teaching to students with ADD, effective student conferencing, and teaching to millennials. Professor Dickson has also presented to international audiences in Kenya, South Africa, and Turkey.
As the faculty advisor to the student organization, Global Brigades, Professor Dickson has accompanied groups of students to Costa Rica, Panama, and Honduras for week-long service trips. Additionally, Professor Dickson has served on the initial board of directors for APPEAL, an international organizations developed to support the teaching of legal writing and the exchange of information among U.S. and African academics.
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Krontz has been a member of the legal writing faculty at Seattle University School of Law since 1994. She received her B.S. from University of Washington and was named Outstanding School of Social Work Undergraduate. She received her J.D. magna cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where she was a Law Review note and comment editor and the Andrew Walkover Faculty Scholar. Before joining the legal writing faculty, Professor Krontz clerked for the Honorable Barbara Durham, Justice of the Washington Supreme Court and was a staff attorney at the Washington Appellate Defender Association. She has presented workshops for the Moot Court Board, the Seattle University Law Review, and the Seattle Journal of Social Justice and CLEs for the King County Bar Association and the Washington Office of Public Defense.
Laurel Currie Oates
Professor of Law
Professor Laurel Currie Oates is one of the founding members of Seattle University's Legal Writing program, which is ranked by U.S. and World Reports as the top legal writing program in the United States.
In 1984, Professor Oates helped co-found the Legal Writing Institute, which has more than 2000 members from more than 150 law schools and which works to improve the teaching of legal writing. As a member of the Legal Writing Institute, Professor Oates helped establish The Second Draft, which is the Institute's bulletin, and helped organize and host seven national conferences. Professor Oates is currently a member of the Institute's Board of Director
Professor Oates is the co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its fifth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and a Practice Book. She has also authored a number of articles, including articles on legal reading, writing to learn, and the transfer of learning. Her most recent article, Greetings and Grievances: A Letter from Afghan Professors, sets out and critiques the views of conservative Afghan professors.
Professor Oates has received a number of awards. In 2012, Professor Laurel Currie Oates received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service; in 2009, she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing, and in 2007 she received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Legal Writing Education. In addition, she received Seattle University Alumni Association's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997, and the Association of American Law Schools' Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis Section Award in 2003.
During the last 10 years, Professor Oates has spent much of her time teaching internationally. With Professor Mimi Samuel, she has taught courses for judges, attorneys, and students in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, India, and China. Most recently, she has taught short courses for law and Sharia professors and students in Afghanistan. She is also one of the co-directors of the Law School's South Africa program in which she teaches a course in cross-cultural communication.
- The Legal Writing Handbook: Research, Analysis, and Writing (Aspen Publishers 4h ed. 2006) (with accompanying Workbook and Teacher's Manual) (with Anne Enquist & Kelly Kunsch).
- Just Research (Aspen 2005) (with Anne Enquist).
- Just Memos, Second Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2007) (with Anne Enquist).
- Just Briefs, Second Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2007) (with Anne Enquist and Connie Krontz).
- Just Writing, Second Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2005) (with Anne Enquist).
- Did Harvard Get It Right?, 59 Mercer L. Rev. 675 (Winter 2008).
- Leveling the Playing Field: Helping Students Succeed by Helping Them Learn to Read as Expert Lawyers, 80 St. John's L. Rev. 227 (Spring 2006).
- From Oppression to Outsourcing: New Opportunities for Uganda's Growing Number of Attorneys in Today's Flattening, 4 Seattle J. for Social Justice 836 (Spring 2006) (with Mimi Samuel).
- The Paperless Writing Class, 15 The Second Draft 18 (2001).
- I Know That I Taught Them How to Do That, 7 Legal Writing 1 (2001).
- Beyond Communication: Writing as a Means of Learning, 6 Legal Writing 1 (2000).
- Education's Promise, 3 Legal Writing 1 (1997) (with Sam Wineberg).
- Beating the Odds: Reading Strategies of Law Students Admitted Through Alternative Admissions Programs, 83 Iowa L. Rev. 139 (1997).
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Rankin currently teaches lawyering skills, including applied legal analysis, legal research and writing, and general principles of trial and appellate procedure and advocacy. She has nearly a decade of experience in private practice at major law firms such as Kirkland & Ellis, LLP and Sidley Austin, LLP, where she specialized in complex litigation. Professor Rankin also gained an in-house perspective, serving as assistant general counsel for a national accounting firm.
Prior to her legal career, Professor Rankin received her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studied under the internationally-known education expert, Howard Gardner. Currently, Professor Rankin continues to support innovation in legal education as a member of various boards and committees for entities such as the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), and ALICE (American Legislative Issue Campaign Exchange). Professor Rankin's teaching and scholarship interests include the social and political aspects of legal education reform, lawyering skills, legal issues affecting the homeless, policy making, and legislative drafting and advocacy.
Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
Professor Samuel earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where she received both the International Academy of Trial Lawyers' Award for Advocacy and the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Evidence. After law school, she practiced business litigation in Washington, D.C. at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, and in San Francisco, at Thelen, Marrrin Johnson and Bridges. In 2003, Professor Samuel taught the foundations of the U.S. legal system to Russian law students at Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok. In spring 2007, Professor Samuel conducted a series of trainings and workshops in India, Uganda, and South Africa. In addition, she co-organized the Conference on the Pedagogy of Legal Writing for Academics in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought academics from the U.S. together with academics from East Africa. Professor Samuel is a founding member and the first U.S. Co-President of APPEAL, an organization formed to promote exchanges between U.S. and African academics committed to improving the teaching of legal writing.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills
Kirsten Schimpff is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was an editor on the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Following law school, Ms. Schimpff clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, then entered private practice. Ms. Schimpff was a litigation associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., where her practice included First Amendment, white collar criminal defense, employment, and general commercial litigation. After moving to Seattle, Ms. Schimpff joined Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP as a corporate and technology associate, where she practiced corporate and securities law. Most recently, Ms.Schimpff was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the Seattle U.S. Attorney's Office. At the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ms. Schimpff litigated cases on behalf of the United States at both the trial court and appellate level, on a wide range of civil matters, including employment, torts, medical malpractice, and immigration cases.
William "Bill" Sherman
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Professor Sherman is a Visiting Assistant Professor, teaching Administrative Law and Legal Writing II. In 2011, he taught Open Government Law at Seattle University as an adjunct professor. He serves as Chair of the City of Seattle's Ethics and Elections Commission, which administers the City's campaign finance, elections, ethics, lobbying, and whistleblower codes.
Professor Sherman practiced political and election law, commerical litigation, consumer protection, and local government law at the Sherman Law Firm, PLLC from 2008-2012. A 1999 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Law Review, he served as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and then for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Before establishing the Sherman Law Firm, he worked as a litigator at Davis Wright Tremaine and as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for King County. Before attending law school, he served as Special Assistant to Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt. His article, Your Mayor, Your "Friend": Public Officials, Social Networking, and the Unmapped New Public Square, was published in the Pace Law Review in 2011.
Professor from Practice
Denis Stearns, Visiting Professor of Law, is a founding partner of Marler Clark, LLP, PS, a Seattle-based law firm with a national practice devoted to the representation of persons injured by unsafe food and drink. He is also a principal in Outbreak, Inc, a non-profit company that promotes food safety through education, political advocacy, and pro bono consulting with the food industry.
Stearns began his involvement in food-related litigation in 1993 as one of the lead defense attorneys handling the cases arising from the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in January 1993. Mr. Stearns was responsible for designing and implementing a discovery plan that allowed Foodmaker to present a consistent and successful defense in over one hundred lawsuits spread among several states. In this role, Mr. Stearns obtained extensive knowledge and experience in litigation that involves complex manufacturing systems, foodborne illnesses, and issues of quality control. He also became noted for a highly principled, but persistent, approach to the discovery process and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on ethics and the law. Since helping to found Marler Clark twelve years ago, he has worked on hundreds of food outbreak cases, including recent ones involving E. coli O157:H7-contaminated Dole spinach, Salmonella in Peter Pan peanut butter and Banquet pot pies, and a spate of outbreaks involving E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef, Nestlé cookie dough, and raw milk.
Mr. Stearns graduated from Seattle University with a degree in philosophy and obtained his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a frequent author and speaker on a wide variety of topics related to food, law, economics, and policy, and is the author of two book-chapters, a law journal article, and numerous other articles, essays, and opinion pieces. His most recent article, which is entitled "ON (CR)EDIBILITY: Why Food in the U.S. May Never Be Safe," will be published April this year in Stanford Law & Policy Review. He also has had an article published in the Journal of Food Law & Policy, titled "Preempting Food Safety: An Examination of USDA Rulemaking and its E. coli O157:H7 Policy in Light of Estate of Kriefall ex rel. Kriefall v. Excel Corporation." He has written extensively on food law and product liability law.
In addition to his work for Marler Clark, Mr. Stearns is active in the King County Bar Association pro bono program, Volunteer Attorneys for People with AIDS. Mr. Stearns was for nine years on the Board of Directors for The Bailey-Boushay House, America's first skilled nursing facility that was planned, founded, built and staffed to meet the needs of people living with AIDS.