2009 Rombauer Award Recipient

Laurel Currie OatesLaurel Currie Oates

Professor Laurel Oates is the Director of Seattle University’s Legal Writing Program She received her J.D. from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law), and clerked for Division II of the Washington State Court of Appeals.

In 1984, Laurel Oates, along with Chris Rideout, held a conference that became the foundation of the Legal Writing Institute. The Legal Writing Institute became the major platform for Legal Writing professionals to share ideas and communicate with one another over every aspect of the profession. The Legal Writing Institute remained housed at Seattle University School of Law for twenty years.

Laurel also contributed to the profession by authoring or co-authoring numerous books and articles, including The Legal Writing Handbook, Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and The Legal Writing Practice Book.

During Spring Semester 2007 Laurel increased the outreach and influence of Legal writing, when she and Mimi Samuel provided workshops on effective writing for judges, magistrates, attorneys, and law students in India, Uganda, and South Africa. In addition, during March 2007, Professors Oates and Samuel hosted the first legal writing conference held in East Africa and helped establish an organization to promote the exchange of ideas about the teaching of legal writing between professors in Africa and the United States. In June 2007, Professor Oates received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. The ceremony was held at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.