Sara Rankin

Professor of Lawyering Skills
Curriculum Vitae

Contact

Sullivan Hall 461
(206) 398-4393
rankins@seattleu.edu

Education

J.D., New York University
M.Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education

Specializations

Legal Writing
Homeless Rights Advocacy

Biography

Professor Rankin currently teaches lawyering skills, including applied legal analysis, legal research and writing, general principles of trial and appellate procedure and advocacy, and homeless rights advocacy. She is proud to serve as Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). She is also the founder and Director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP) at the Korematsu Center.

Through HRAP, Professor Rankin oversees various projects to advance the civil, constitutional, and human rights of visibly poor people. HRAP also builds partnerships across a broad range of disciplines with community members, advocates, academic institutions, and other stakeholders. Each year, HRAP releases a series of new reports that continue the group's groundbreaking research into laws that unfairly target the visibly poor. HRAP's reports examine the impacts of increasingly popular laws and policies that criminalize homelessness, such as prohibitions on sitting, standing and sleeping in public; living in vehicles; sweeps of tent encampments; pet ownership standards; and barriers to access at emergency shelters. HRAP's research not only identifies problematic laws and policies, but also offers effective, legally sound alternatives. HRAP's award-winning work has been praised by legal aid organizations, services providers, non-profits, city officials, and street activist organizations for its impact.

Professor Rankin has nearly a decade of experience in private practice at major law firms such as Kirkland & Ellis, LLP and Sidley Austin, LLP, where she specialized in complex litigation. She also gained an in-house perspective, serving as assistant general counsel for a national accounting firm.

Prior to her legal career, Professor Rankin received her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Currently, Professor Rankin continues to support innovation in legal education as a member of various boards and committees for entities such as the Legal Writing Institute (LWI). Professor Rankin's teaching and scholarship interests include the social and political aspects of legal education reform, lawyering skills, legal and policy issues relating to people experiencing homelessness, and policy advocacy.

Publications

The Influence of Exile, 76 MD. L. REV. 1 (2016) (reviewed in Jotwell, October 26, 2016; response piece from Professor Bill Quigley, The Influence of Exile: Three Stories, 76 Md. L. Rev. 47 (2017)).

A Homeless Bill of Rights (Revolution), 45 SETON HALL L. REV. 383 (2015).

Invidious Deliberation: The Problem of Congressional Bias in Federal Hate Crime Legislation, 66 RUTGERS L. REV. 563 (2014).

BOOKS, SYMPOSIA, PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS & OTHER WORKS

THE NEW 1L: TEACHING FIRST- YEAR STUDENTS TO BE LAWYERS THROUGH ACTUAL PRACTICE (Carolina Academic Press, April 2015) (co-editor and contributing author). Other contributors include Erwin Chemerinsky (Irvine), Michael Wishnie (Yale), Michael Millemann (Maryland), Stephen Schwinn (John Marshall), Nantiya Ruan (Denver).

Homeless Rights Advocacy Project Report Series (editor of annual reports). Available at http://ssrn.com/author=1572922.

Homeless Bills of Rights: An Advocate's Guide (co-authored report with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty) (released April 2014).

The Fully Formed Lawyer: Why Law Schools Should Require Public Service to Better Prepare Students for Private Practice, 17 CHAPMAN L. REV. 17 (2013) (invited symposium submission).

We Have a Dream: Integrating Skills Courses in the First Year of Law School (and Beyond), 17 CHAPMAN L. REV. 89 (2013) (with others) (invited symposium submission).

Tired of Talking: A Call for Clear Strategies for Legal Education Reform- Moving Beyond the Discussion of Good Ideas to the Real Transformation of Law Schools, 10 SEATTLE J. SOC. JUST. 11 (2011)

Rethinking Neutrality: Race and ADR, DISPUTE RES. J. 40 (August 1999).

ONLINE PUBLICATIONS

Criminalizing Visual Poverty-the Effects of Making Homelessness a Crime, Jurist (November 21, 2016).

Should Homelessness Be a Crime? Our State Grapples with Its Answer, firesteel (August 27, 2004).

Recent Activity

In the News

Another Dishonest Take from the Seattle Times Editorial Board on Homelessness

August 21, 2017 | The Stranger

Professor Sara Rankin offers insights on resistance to interim homelessness solutions.

NIMBYs Already Freaking Out Over Proposal to Help People Living in Cars

August 10, 2017 | The Stranger

Professor Sara Rankin explains how devastating tickets can be for poor and homeless people.

Debate: What if Seattle police stopped ticketing people who live in their cars?

August 09, 2017 | KUOW

Professor Sara Rankin defends merits of Seattle's proposed vehicle residency ordinance.

Vehicle Residency and Homelessness

June 21, 2017 | KUOW

Professor Sara Rankin spoke about laws criminalizing homelessness on The Record.

A new place for Seattle's homeless: In my backyard

May 11, 2017 | Crosscut

Professor Sara Rankin says backyard homes eliminate the problem of social distance from homelessness.

Murray opening Emergency Operations Center to combat homelessness in city

February 22, 2017 | KOMO News

Professor Sara Rankin says the mayor's action on homelessness is too little, too late. (Click "more video.")

Minneapolis needs its own Homeless Bill of Rights

December 22, 2016 | Twin Cities Daily Planet

An op-ed cites Professor Sara Rankin's 2015 Homeless Bill of Rights research.

Forum addresses solutions to homelessness in Boise

November 10, 2016 | Northwest Cable News Network

Professor Sara Rankin shares her thoughts on confronting homelessness with compassion.

City Club Speaker Rips Boise 'Anti Camping' Law, Says 'We Are All Complicit'

November 10, 2016 | Boise Weekly

Professor Sara Rankin urges Boise residents to fight homelessness on several fronts.

The Influence of Exile: Human Consequences of Homelessness

November 10, 2016 | City Club of Boise

Audio recording of Professor Sara Rankin's remarks to the City Club of Boise.

When helping homeless people hurts more than helps

November 06, 2016 | Idaho Statesman

Professor Sara Rankin explains the psychology behind anti-homelessness laws.