Laurel Oates

Laurel Oates

Professor Emerita

 Sullivan Hall 430


Email Laurel


  • Legal Writing
  • Global Advocacy


  • B.A. with Honors, Western Washington University, 1973
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) School of Law, 1978
  • Clerk with the Washington State Court of Appeals


Professor Oates helped design Seattle University's legal writing program, a program that has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top legal writing program in the United States in eight of the last ten years. Professor Oates directed the program from 1982 until 2012, and she still teaches in the program.

Professor Oates is one of the co-founders of the Legal Writing Institute, which now has more than 2400 members, and she is the co-author of five books: The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its seventh edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, and Just Writing.

During the last fifteen years, Professor Oates has taught courses and workshops on legal writing in Afghanistan, Botswana, China, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, South Africa, and Uganda and has hosted programs for both students and lawyers in South Africa. In 2018, she helped design an online Legal Writing course, which is now being used in South African law school.

In June 2007, Professor Oates received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.; in October 2009 she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing; in October 2012 she received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service, and in 2016 she received both the Global Legal Skills Award and the Terri LeClercq Courage Award. In 2014, Professor Oates launched the Law School's first online course, a course on effective writing.



Laurel Currie Oates & Anne Enquist, Legal Writing Handbook, Seventh Edition (Wolters Kluwer 2018)

Laurel Currie Oates & Anne Enquist, Just Memos, Fourth Edition (Wolters Kluwer 2018)

Laurel Currie Oates & Anne Enquist, Just Research, Fifth Edition (Wolter Kluwer 2017)

Laurel Currie Oates, Anne Enquist, and Constance Krontz, Just Briefs, Third Edition (Wolters Kluwer 2013)

Anne Enquist, Laurel Currie Oates, & Jeremy Francis, Just Writing, Fourth Edition (Wolters Kluwer 2017)


Laurel Currie Oates, Greeting and Grievances, A Letter from Afghan Professors, Fall 2013 Edition of Seattle Journal for Social Justice

Laurel Currie Oates, Did Harvard Get it Right? 59 Mercer L. Rev 675 (2008)

Laurel Currie Oates, Leveling the Playing Field: Helping Students Succeed by Helping Them Learn to Read as Expert Lawyers, 80 St. John’s L. Rev. 227 (Spring 2006)

Mimi Samuel and Laurel Currie Oates, From Oppression to Outsourcing: New Opportunities for Uganda’s Growing Number of Attorneys in Today’s Flattening, 4 Seattle J. for Social Justice 836 (Spring 2006)