Laurel Currie Oates

Professor of Law
Curriculum Vitae


Sullivan Hall 452
(206) 398-4014


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


Legal Writing
Global Advocacy


Legal Writing II: Written and Oral Advocacy (WRIT-200-F)
Legal Writing II: Written and Oral Advocacy (WRIT-200-G)


Professor Laurel Oates was the Director of Seattle University’s renowned Legal Writing Program until 2012. After receiving her JD cum laude from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law), Professor Oates clerked for Division II of the Washington State Court of Appeals.

In 1984, Professor Oates helped co-found the Legal Writing Institute, which has more than 2000 members from more than 150 law schools and which works to improve the teaching of legal writing. As a member of the Legal Writing Institute, Professor Oates helped establish The Second Draft, which is the Institute’s bulletin, and helped organize and host seven national conferences, including the 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Legal Writing conferences.

Professor Oates is the co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its sixth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and a Practice Book. She has also authored a number of articles, which are listed in the publications list.

During the last seven years, Professor Oates has taught workshops on legal writing in Afghanistan, Botswana, China, India, South Africa, and Uganda and has hosted programs for both students and lawyers in South Africa. 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; and in October 2012 she received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service. In 2014, Professor Oates launched the Law School's first online course: a course on effective writing.



The Legal Writing Handbook: Research, Analysis, and Writing (Aspen Publishers 6th ed. 2014) (with accompanying Workbook and Teacher's Manual) (with Anne Enquist & Kelly Kunsch).

Just Research (Aspen 2005) (with Anne Enquist).

Just Memos, Second Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2007) (with Anne Enquist).

Just Briefs, Second Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2007) (with Anne Enquist and Connie Krontz).

Just Writing, Fourth Edition (Aspen Law and Business 2014) (with Anne Enquist).


Did Harvard Get It Right?, 59 Mercer L. Rev. 675 (Winter 2008).

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).

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) (with Mimi Samuel).

The Paperless Writing Class, 15 The Second Draft 18 (2001).

I Know That I Taught Them How to Do That, 7 Legal Writing 1 (2001).

Beyond Communication: Writing as a Means of Learning, 6 Legal Writing 1 (2000).

Education's Promise, 3 Legal Writing 1 (1997) (with Sam Wineberg).

Beating the Odds: Reading Strategies of Law Students Admitted Through Alternative Admissions Programs, 83 Iowa L. Rev. 139 (1997).