Proceedings: Volume 2, Issue 3


            This issue memorializes and expands on Oregon Law’s December 2021 LWI One-Day Workshop. The workshop focused on visiting assistant professors (VAPs) and featured presentations on teaching, scholarship, the job search, and service and connections to the national community. The issue begins with short essays from four current VAPs. Their pieces share ideas and insights for bringing law practice into the legal writing classroom and highlight the significant value newcomers bring to the discipline. Next, two former visiting professors share their advice on successfully transitioning from VAP to tenure-track professor. The issue concludes with essays from two veteran legal writing professors, who explore opportunities for newcomers to engage in the national legal writing community and their broader legal communities.



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Featured Essays

From the Courtroom to the Classroom: Reflecting on the Transition from Practice to Professor

Danielle J. Lewis

           As an eager law student, I never imagined myself standing at the front of the classroom in my professors’ shoes. Frankly, that career path never occurred to me. I came to law school to be a litigator—and litigate I did, for more than a decade.
           In early 2020, I learned about an opportunity to teach an introductory class for 1Ls at my alma mater. By this point, I had realized that mentoring students and young lawyers was something that “filled my cup.” Unfortunately, the demands of an active litigation practice while raising two young children left little time for the professional networking and volunteer service opportunities I enjoyed in my early days as an attorney. Teaching law students seemed like a great way to get back to that, and I jumped at the chance. Read full essay...

Satisfaction and Self-Worth: Team Edition

Katrina Robinson

           When I started teaching this past fall, I was surprised to learn that students wanted to hear more about my prior work experience. I had assumed “war stories” were for trial lawyers with decades of experience, not someone like me, who was lucky enough to enter academia—my dream job—after practicing for six years as a litigation associate at two international law firms and a law clerk for two federal judges. But when I paused to reflect on what I could share with students from my practice, dozens of memories cropped up. The trouble was that none of my memories fit in to the made-for-TV mold. Or at least I haven’t seen any scenes like these on TV…
Me, sitting in a shared office with my co-clerk, swapping ideas about why another judge on the panel had returned certain edits to our judge’s opinion that were wrong and how we would approach discussing this with our judge later that  day. Read full essay...

Bringing Twenty-First Century Law Practice into the Classroom

Luke Repici

           Stepping back into the classroom with two decades of practice experience can be both a blessing and a curse. Many of us have experienced continuing legal education or other presentations where the “war story” amounts to little more than the speaker communicating “look how great/cool/innovative I am.” I knew enough from years of running my former firm’s associates’ litigation training program that I needed to do much more than that. Since venturing back into academia as a visiting assistant professor, I’ve found my practice experience is most useful when it informs and gives meaning to the work we are doing in the classroom. Two examples are illustrative. Read full essay...

Embracing Failures and Employing Humility

E.R. Wright

           “I did my time at Papa John’s.” While this is not my six-word story, these six words changed my life and shaped my approach to teaching.
           It was February of 2014, and I had recently completed the 6.5-hour drive from Johnson City, Tennessee to Macon, Georgia to interview for a scholarship to law school. In my “real” life, I delivered pizzas every night of the week, as I had for the previous nine years since failing out after my first year of college. In this new fantasy world I was pretending to belong in, however, I was a finalist for a full-ride-plus-stipend scholarship to attend a well-respected law school. I was among twelve finalists who had gathered for a long weekend to engage in a very polite, very Deep South version of the Hunger Games. I had never felt so out of place or inadequate as I did walking into the lobby of the antebellum bed and breakfast that hosted the finalists. Read full essay...

From Visiting Professor to Tenured Professor

Amanda J. Peters

           Even though the number of law professor job openings have increased over the last two years, the market for legal writing positions remains competitive. Many people are looking for opportunities to teach for the first time while others are looking to move from visitor positions to permanent positions. I’d like to share my journey—from practitioner to visiting professor to tenured professor—to provide insights and support to those hoping to take the same journey.
           I was a trial and appellate attorney working in Houston when I learned that a former colleague had been hired as a tenure-track legal research and writing professor at South Texas College of Law Houston (STCLH). This sounded like my dream job! I had always loved writing and editing. But it wasn’t until I served as an editor on a law review that I learned I also loved helping others improve their writing. I began to wonder whether I would enjoy teaching more than lawyering. Read full essay...

The Tools for Entry to Legal Academia

Latisha Nixon-Jones

           After two years’ experience teaching at my alma mater, Southern University Law Center, I attended the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) annual conference. The conference was both daunting and eye opening. I was surrounded by experienced professors who asked questions about my career aspirations and when I would go on “the market.” I had no idea what they were referring to. I immediately employed the imposter syndrome victim’s best friend—Google. Okay, first I cried and ordered cheesecake, and then I searched Google. I learned about the “meat market” and Prawfsblawg, and I read articles on the process of becoming a law professor. I thought I was ready, but after directly applying to specific schools, I received only two offers to interview. 
           Then, after speaking at the Southeast Association of Law School’s (SEAL’s) conference and learning about visitorships, I decided to apply for a visitor position. Read full essay...

Joining the National Legal Writing Community Through Service

Suzanne E. Rowe

           While teaching and scholarship are paramount to finding a permanent position in the academy, engaging with the national legal writing community, particularly through service, provides invaluable connections with future colleagues and schools that might be hiring. Because finding a toehold in national service organizations can be daunting, this essay provides a primer in how to begin reaping the benefits. The essay begins with an introduction to key legal writing organizations and publications, then explains some approaches for engaging with the national legal writing community, and finally highlights the reasons that engagement in the national legal writing community is crucial to those seeking permanent positions as legal writing professors. Read full essay...

The Fourth Element: Pro Bono for Junior Law Faculty

Ezra Ross

           This short essay challenges a widely accepted conception of early career strategies for junior law faculty. That standard conception enshrines three components—teaching, scholarship, and academic service—as the legs of success in legal academia. And although scholars have engaged in some debate about these three constituents, the discussion often narrowly considers how best to balance these pursuits, or which ones warrant more time, attention, and depth. The conversation does not sufficiently probe whether these are the right or best pursuits for junior faculty, or whether something else might form an important element of what junior law professors do. Read full essay...


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