Mary Bowman

Director of the Legal Writing Program and Associate Professor of Law
Curriculum Vitae


Sullivan Hall 434
(206) 398-4019


B.A., summa cum laude, Seattle University, 1995
J.D., Stanford Law School, 1998; Order of the Coif
Clerk to Judge Thomas S. Zilly, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington


Legal Writing


Legal Writing I: Legal Writing, Skills, and Values (WRIT-105-C1)


Professor Bowman has taught within the Legal Writing Program at Seattle University since 2001. She was named an Associate Director of the program in 2012 and Director in 2015.  Professor Bowman teaches both the first-year and second-year legal writing courses, and she developed the law school's first-year elective Lawyering for a Just and Humane World.  In all these classes, she prepares her students to be excellent lawyers by teaching them legal skills and helping them develop judgment and a strong sense of professional identity.   She particularly enjoys teaching students how to address complex factual and legal issues, both through the Real Clients in the First Year (RCFY) project that has first-year legal writing students research and write about live issues for the law school's clinic or nonprofit legal services providers and through our second-year advocacy course that uses real cases as the basis of our legal writing assignments. 

Professor Bowman is active nationally in several organizations committed to excellent legal writing.  She is currently the chair of the Law-Review Award Committee for Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers.  That committee honors the best student-written law review article each year.  Additionally, she has served on various committees for both the Legal Writing Institute and the American Association of Law Schools' section on Legal Writing, Research and Reasoning. She is also Co-Chair of the June 2014 national workshop, Bringing Outside In: Social Justice Collaborations in the Legal Writing Curriculum. 

Professor Bowman focuses her scholarship on criminal procedure and legal writing issues. Although the two areas are obviously distinct, they intersect in that they raise issues related to ethical advocacy and persuasion, as well as how cognitive science affects these issues.  Her most recent article, Full Disclosure: Cognitive Science, Informants, and Search Warrant Scrutiny is forthcoming in the Akron Law Review; that article builds on the work in her New Mexico Law Review article Truth or Consequences: Self-Incriminating Statements and Informant Veracity.  She is currently working on issues related to rethinking various doctrines related to prosecutorial misconduct at trial based on cognitive science.  She is also the author of Engaging First-Year Law Students through Pro Bono Collaborations, which was published in the spring 2013 issue of the Journal of Legal Education, and a co-author (with colleagues Sara Rankin and Lisa Brodoff) of We Have a Dream: Integrating Skills Courses and Public Interest Work in the First Year of Law School (and Beyond), forthcoming in the Chapman Law Review.  She has also presented at AALS and regional and national legal writing conferences on issues such as legal writing problem design and teaching millennial law students. 

Professor Bowman received her B.A. summa cum laude from Seattle University in 1995 and her J.D. in 1998 from Stanford Law School in 1998, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to joining the law school's faculty, she clerked Judge Thomas S. Zilly, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, and practiced environmental and employment law at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, in Seattle.  Since joining the law school faculty, Professor Bowman has served as a faculty advisor to students seeking clerkships and to three of the school's law journals (Seattle University Law Review, Seattle Journal for Social Justice, and Seattle Journal of Environmental Law).  She also co-facilitated Seattle University's Arrupe Seminar on the Foundations and Visions of Jesuit Education, a biweekly, year-long seminar for university faculty and staff.


Mary N. Bowman, "Full Disclosure:  Cognitive Science, Informers, and Search Warrant Scrutiny," (forthcoming Akron Law Review, Winter 2013, available at

Mary N. Bowman, "Engaging First-Year Law Students Through Pro Bono Collaborations, 62 J. Legal Educ. 586 (May 2013).

Mary N. Bowman,  "Truth or Consequences:  Self-Incriminating Statements and Informant Veracity," 40 N. Mex. L. Rev. 225 (2010).