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Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Legal Research and Writing Faculty

Nicole Chong
Director and Professor of Legal Writing

"Learning legal writing is an ongoing process that may seem daunting to first year law students.  Penn State Law’s legal writing faculty help students on an individual basis to help each student become more comfortable with writing for law practice."

Michele Vollmer
Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic and the Explore Law Program

"Penn State Law's 1L legal writing program teaches students to become excellent, not average, legal writers. We help students acquire the tools they need, at both the pre-writing and editing stages, to achieve a written analysis that is analytically exhaustive and meticulously organized. Our students consistently tell us that their writing skills were instrumental to their success in obtaining employment from a wide variety of employers."

Barbara Brunner
Professor of Legal Writing

"Justice Scalia has noted an 'immense difference between writing and good writing' and has emphasized that converting the former to the latter 'takes time.' In Intense Legal Writing and Drafting, we take that time, so that each student in the course can become an excellent legal writer."


Jeffrey Erickson
Professor of Law, Director of the International Sustainable Development Projects Clinic, Supervising Attorney of the Rural Economic Development Clinic, Professor of Legal Writing.




Legal Research Faculty

Steven Hinckley,
Associate Dean for Library and Information Services, Director of the Law Libraries, Professor of Law




Kimberli M. Kelmor
Assistant Law Librarian, Reference and Assistant Director of the Law Library

“The majority of law school, especially the first year, involves handing law students carefully selected pieces of law and using that to teach students how to think like a lawyer as applied to a specific subject area. In practice, no matter what area of law -- whether it is civil or criminal, litigation or transactional, domestic or international – no client brings a stack of law and asks the attorney to interpret it.  In our legal research offerings throughout the curriculum our students learn the efficient and effective research of the law that must precede effective application of the law.”

Theresa K. Tarves
Emerging Technology and Digital Research Librarian

"Now more than ever, lawyers in practice are voicing concerns that new law graduates lack the basic legal research skills that they need to thrive as new associates. It’s important to teach the foundations of legal research during the first year of law school so that Penn State Law students can demonstrate to future employers that they already have these basic skills and will exceed expectations as they begin their legal careers. Being a thorough and efficient legal researcher is what will set you apart among your peers and allow you to maintain a competitive advantage in the early parts of your career."

Rebecca A. Mattson
Scholarly Communications and Faculty Services Libararian

Legal research skills form the backbone of a strong legal education.  Throughout law school and law practice, efficient legal research skills are essential.  Penn State Law’s first-year legal research course teaches students not only the many types of law they will encounter, but also the most efficient and effective ways to find the laws and resources they are seeking.  When a student can demonstrate to a potential employer that she has excellent basic legal research skills, that student is setting herself apart from others in the job market.



Tig Wartluft
Instructional Services Libararian