John Mitchell installed as Oltman Professor of Teaching Excellence
(April 6, 2011) Seattle University School of Law celebrated the installation of John Mitchell as the William C. Oltman Professor of Teaching Excellence.
Mitchell presented a lecture, "Teaching and the Three Gifts," in which he talked about what he has gained during his 30 years of teaching: the gift of community, the gift of fun and the gift of hope. His talk was as his lectures in class often are: animated, humorous, touching, and involving the use of a prop: a fuzzy pink puppet.
Professor Alan Kirtley of the University of Washington School of Law and former director of the clinical program at Seattle University School of Law, introduced Mitchell. Kirtley praised Mitchell's legal skills, teaching and character.
"John is the best law teacher I know," Kirtley said. "Other than my family, he is the best person that I know, and he's my best friend."
Mitchell is a respected and beloved teacher and scholar, whose expertise lies in trial advocacy, criminal law and evidence. His publications include "Pretrial Advocacy: Planning, Analysis, and Strategy," "Trial Advocacy: Planning, Analysis, and Strategy" and "Trial Advocacy: Assignments and Case Files," "Understanding Assisted Suicide: Nine Issues to Consider," "Washington Evidence Trial Book: Objections, Offers of Proof, Rulings on the Record, and Limiting Instructions." Students have selected him four times to be their faculty graduation speaker.
His wide-ranging career has included private practice in San Francisco, where he specialized in criminal litigation (1970-75); consultant to public and private defense attorneys concerning trial, motions and appellate strategies (1973-1982); and director of legal training for the Seattle office of Perkins Coie where he developed a two-year training curriculum for new associates in business and litigation (1988-90). He was also a member of the Law Practice Clinic for six years, the last two as director.
The professorship is named for Professor William C. Oltman, who retired from Seattle University School of Law in 2008 after 34 years of outstanding teaching in the areas of property and trusts and estates. Professor Oltman demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence, demanding the best of himself, his students and his colleagues. He is also co-author of the leading treatise on wills and trusts under Washington law.