Sara Rankin

Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills



Professor Rankin currently teaches lawyering skills, including applied legal analysis, legal research and writing, general principles of trial and appellate procedure and advocacy, and homeless rights advocacy. She is also the founder and Director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project at the Korematsu Center. Professor Rankin 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. She 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. She is a frequent commentator on legislative drafting, advocacy, and policymaking issues as a co-editor of the Legislation Law Professors Blog.


A Homeless Bill of Rights (Revolution), 45 Seton Hall L. Rev. (lead article, forthcoming 2015). Available at

Invidious Deliberation:  The Problem of Congressional Bias in Federal Hate Crime Legislation, 66 Rutgers L. Rev. (lead article, forthcoming 2014).  Available at

Prime Suspects (working paper on file with the author).  Critiques conventional interpretations of suspect classification factors, proposes a new, principled suspect classification analysis.  Argues that pursuant to such an analysis, homeless people should be considered a suspect class.

The Crime of Homelessness (working paper on file with the author).  Critically assesses the increasing prevalence of ordinances that criminalize homelessness.

Symposia, Professional Publications & Other Works

Homeless Bills of Rights:  An Advocate’s Guide (co-authored report with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty) (released April 2014).

The New 1L: Teaching First-Year Students To Be Lawyers Through Actual Practice (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming April 2015) (co-editor and contributing author).  Other contributors include Erwin Chemerinsky (Irvine), Michael Wishnie (Yale), Michael Millemann (Maryland), Stephen Schwinn (John Marshall), Nantiya Ruan (Denver).

The Fully Formed Lawyer: Why Law Schools Should Require Public Service to Better Prepare Students for Private Practice, 17 Chapman L. Rev. 17 (2013) (invited symposium submission).

We Have a Dream: Integrating Skills Courses in the First Year of Law School (and Beyond), 17 Chapman L. Rev. 89 (2013) (with others) (invited symposium submission).

Tired of Talking:  A Call for Clear Strategies for Legal Education Reform- Moving Beyond the Discussion of Good Ideas to the Real Transformation of Law Schools, 10 Seattle J. Soc. Just. 11 (2011)

Rethinking Neutrality:  Race and ADR, Dispute Res. J. 40 (August 1999).

Online Publications

Legislation Law Profs Blog, Co-editor (launched 2014). Blog focuses on legislative and administrative advocacy and policymaking. Other co-editors are Professors Joel Rogers (Wisconsin), Emily Benfer (Loyola Chicago), and Kevin Barry (Quinnipiac).

Should Homelessness Be a Crime? Our State Grapples With Its Answer, available at  (August 2014) (invited guest editorial)


Seattle University School of Law
Location: SLLH-461
Phone: (206) 398-4393

Curriculum Vitae


  • J.D., New York University
  • M.Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education


  • Legal Writing I
  • Legal Writing II
  • Homeless Rights Advocacy

External Links