W.H. (Joe) Knight

Distinguished Academic in Residence


Sullivan Hall 123
(206) 398-4115


W. H. Knight (Joe) has been a member of the Seattle University Law School community since 2008. An expert in financial institutions and commercial law, he has authored four books on the subject and taught courses in banking, contracts and commercial transactions. Knight has also taught seminars on international banking and critical race theory. At Seattle University, he co-directs the Community Development Entrepreneurship Clinic, a live client representation and transactional program that partners graduate business and law students to provide consulting services to small and developing business enterprises. Student teams help firms create business and marketing plans, design operations and accounting procedures, and secure intellectual property rights, helping to expand economic opportunity for many in the region.

Knight served as Dean of the University of Washington School of Law from 2001 to 2007. At UW, Knight provided administrative leadership as the Law School built and moved into their new home, William H. Gates Hall (2003). Before coming to Seattle, Knight was a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law. He also served as Vice Provost of the University from 1997 through 2000. He has been a visiting professor at several institutions, including Washington University (St. Louis), Duke, Wake Forest and Chapman University (where he served as the Bette and Wylie Aitken Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law).

He has been active in several law-related organizations, including past service on the boards of the Association of American Law Schools, the Law School Admissions Council and the American Law Deans Association. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute. In 2019, he was honored by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity as a CLEO EDGE Honoree for outstanding contributions to legal education.

He currently serves as Board Chair of AccessLex Institute and as a trustee of the National University System. Knight also sits on the board directors of the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company where he serves as Presiding Director.

Knight grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He earned B.A. degrees in Economics, Speech and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a National Merit Scholar. He earned his juris doctorate from Columbia University in New York.