Chris Casillas

Christopher Casillas

Adjunct Professor


  • B.A., with honors, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2000
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Seattle University School of Law, 2003
  • M.A., Cornell University, 2009
  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2012


Chris Casillas currently works for the State of Washington at the Public Employment Relations Commission ("PERC"). He has a long career in public-sector labor relations, first beginning as an Associate at the law firm of Cline & Associates, a boutique Seattle law firm specializing in public sector labor law, and then becoming a partner in 2014. Chris began his legal career in 2003 after graduating from Seattle University School of Law, and while in private practice represented dozens of independent unions in the public sector across the State of Washington. Now with the State of Washington, Chris assists various parties in resolving a variety of labor-management disputes as a mediator, administrative law judge, and trainer. In 2020, Chris launched The Negotiation Project at PERC, an innovative conflict prevention program designed for PERC's clientele that explores how academic theories and research about negotiations intersect with the practices and experiences of negotiators in public sector bargaining throughout Washington State.

In addition to his labor relations background, Chris has also pursued an academic career in the field of political science. In 2009, he earned a Masters of Arts degree in Government, and in January of 2012 he completed his Ph.D. in Government at Cornell University. During his graduate school career at Cornell, Chris taught or served as a teaching assistant for numerous courses on the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and Civil Liberties. Chris co-authored an article that was published in the American Journal of Political Science on public opinion and the Supreme Court. The article can be located at: Casillas, Christopher J., Enns, Peter K, and Patrick Wohlfarth. 2011. "How Public Opinion Constrains the Supreme Court" American Journal of Political Science 55(1): 74-88. His dissertation is titled "Law, Legislation, and Democracy: Cooperation and Contestation Between Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive in the Determination of Statutory Meaning."

Chris joined the adjunct faculty at Seattle University in 2013. Since that time, Chris has taught a range of courses spanning the topics of Separation of Powers, 2nd Amendment, Voting Rights, and Constitutional Law II. In recent years, Chris has focused his teaching efforts on Labor Law and Negotiations. Since 2019, Chris has also been an Affiliate Instructor of Law at the University of Washington, where he also teaches Labor Law and Negotiations. In October 2022, Chris was honored to receive the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from Seattle University School of Law.