Innovative legal educator specializing in academic success and legal writing for 21st century law students.
My priority is my students, how to best help them learn to think and write, to excel in law school, the bar exam, and law practice. I integrate scholarship on study skills and teaching and learning with innovative teaching methods to modernize and revitalize legal education and law learning.
I care deeply about student learning. I have devoted years to becoming an expert on law student study habits and research-based effective study habits, skills, and strategies to better understand how law students study and to maximize law learning. I have used and continue to develop innovative and modern teaching methods (including online and distance learning, flipping the classroom, webcasting, etc.) to modernize legal education and to teach today’s students.
I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills at Seattle University School of Law, where I teach Legal Writing I and Legal Writing II in the Number 1 Legal Writing Program in the United States. I am member of the Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education. I am a member of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) as well as a founding member of the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE). I regularly present at and attend conferences focusing on legal writing, academic support, legal skills development, and effective teaching methods.
My article summarizing empirical research on study skills, habits, and attitudes and how it can be used by legal educators to maximize law school learning, Smarter Law Learning: Using Cognitive Science to Maximize Law Learning, was recently published in Volume 44 of the Capital University Law Review and is available for download from SSRN.
In 2015, I received an LWI/ALWD/LexisNexis Grant for Scholarship for my work in progress, Making It Stick for Law Students: The Science of Successful Learning in Law School. Since 2012, I have been developing a “Law Student Study Habits Survey” with research partner, Dr. Regan A.R. Gurung, an expert on study behaviors and the psychology of teaching and learning, and Chair of the Human Development and Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. With Dr. Gurung’s assistance, I have administered and compiled data from an IRB approved pilot “Law Student Study Habits Survey.” I presented the initial findings from the “Law Student Study Habits Survey” at the 2014 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute. I am current writing an article detailing these findings.
Dr. Gurung and I hope to refine and finalize the “Law Student Study Habits Survey,” to administer the Survey at additional law schools, and to make the final Survey widely available to law schools to administer to their students across regions and tiers to truly understand effective study behaviors for law students.
Recent presentations on teaching and learning in legal education include:
- The Science of Successful Learning in the Legal Writing Classroom, 17th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, Portland OR, July 13, 2016.
- Empirical Findings from a Law Student Study Habits Survey: How Our Students Really Study and What Really Works, 2014 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, Philadelphia, PA, July 2, 2014.
- Analysis Tournament: Using Classroom Debate to Practice Inferential Analysis and Counter Argument with Karen Harkins, Association of Academic Support Educators, 2013 Inaugural Conference, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, May 29, 2013.
- How to Pimp your TWEN Page: Engaging Your Students On Their Turf – Online, Computer Assisted Learning Institute (CALI) Conference for Law School Computing “Some Assembly Required,” Thomas Jefferson School of Law, June 21, 2012 & Institute for Law Teaching & Learning “Technology In and Beyond the Classroom,” North Carolina Central University School of Law, March 3, 2012 (via Polycom).
- Play It Again Sam: Reinforcing Practice to Achieve Perfection, 15th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, Palm Desert, California, May 30, 2012.
- Developing a Law Student Study Behaviors Checklist: How Are They Really Studying and What Really Works? (Invited Presentation), Law School Admission Council Academic Support Program Training Workshop, “Beyond IRAC: The Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Law Study and Practice,” University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, February 4, 2012.
Prior to law teaching, I defended persons accused of crimes in Washington State courts. As a former public defense attorney, I have years of experience defending hundreds of criminal cases. I have independently taken over 20 cases to trial in Washington State District and Superior courts and argued appeals both to the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals, Division One. I previously worked as an associate attorney with the Law Office of Zachary L. Fleet in Seattle, Washington. At the Snohomish County Public Defender Association in Everett, Washington. I also worked as a public defender for the cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. During law school, I worked as a Rule 9 Intern with The Defender Association in Seattle, Washington. I was a judicial extern for The Honorable Marsha J. Pechman in the Western District of Washington.
I graduated magna cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law, home to the best Legal Writing program. I was a Note & Comment Editor of the Seattle University Law Review. I am a member in good standing with the Washington State Bar Association and the California State Bar Association.