Professor Nancy Soonpaa

Nancy Soonpaa Professor of Law, 2001
Director, Legal Practice Program
Former Associate Dean, Student Affairs
(806) 834-2604
Email: nancy.soonpaa@ttu.edu

Since 2001, Nancy Soonpaa has taught at Texas Tech University School of Law, where she directs and teaches in the Legal Practice Program; teaches Health Law, Negotiating, and Family Law; and served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs from 2005-07.

Professor Soonpaa began teaching undergraduate writing courses at the University of North Dakota, taught for three years at the University of Puget Sound School of Law, and taught in the Lawyering Program at Albany Law School for six years. Her articles about legal writing often focus on effective pedagogical choices and learning theory and have appeared in several professional journals; she has also published an empirical study on law students and stress. She is one of the editor-authors of the second edition of the ABA’s Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs. She is currently working on a Family Law casebook for Carolina Academic Press’s Context & Practice series.

Professor Soonpaa regularly presents at professional conferences, including those of the Association of American Law Schools, the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning. In addition, she teaches CLE’s and professional training workshops on legal writing

She also co-coaches Tech’s negotiation teams, one of which won the International Negotiation Competition in 2005 and 2010; served on the ABA subcommittee that administers the regional and national competitions; and is on the International Negotiation Competition judging committee. She also teaches CLE’s and professional training workshops on negotiation skills

She is also a member of two ABA committees: the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s Communication Skills Committee and the Law Student Division Competitions Committee’s Negotiation Competition Subcommittee. She was a co-chair of the Legal Writing Institute and Association of Legal Writing Directors Annual Survey Committee in 2005-06. She is chair-elect of the AALS Section on Academic Support. She is also a co-editor of the Legal Writing Prof Blog on the Law Professors Blog Network, http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/.

Professor Soonpaa has received the Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award and the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award; she also has been elected to the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy for demonstrated teaching excellence (limited to 15% of professors campus-wide). In addition, the Legal Practice Program was ranked 18th in the country and received the university-wide Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.

Degrees

M.A., 1990

J.D., 1987

B.A., University of North Dakota, 1983

Courses

Legal Practice (legal writing and research; client interviewing and counseling; advocacy; alternative dispute resolution); Negotiating; Health Law; Family Law

Selected Publications

“Goals of a First-Year Legal Writing Course,” “Content in First-Year Courses,” and “Pedagogical Methods in First-Year Courses,” chapters in the second edition of Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs (published by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar); to be published Summer 2006.

“Pop Culture Prognostication,” in Teaching the Law School Curriculum (Carolina Academic Press 2004).

“Stress in Law Students: A Comparative Study of First-year, Second-year, and Third-year Law Students,” 36 Conn. L. Rev. 353 (2004).

“Whom Are We Teaching? Independent Students Who Defy Categorization,” 18(1) The Second Draft 7 (2003).

“What Are We Teaching Our Students? Competence and Confidence,” 17(2) The Second Draft 1 (2003).

“Fifth Circuit Survey: Civil Rights Cases,” 34 Texas Tech L. Rev. 597 (2003).

“A Retrospective on Three Teaching Experiences and Resultant Ideas About Structuring a Three-Semester Course,” 16(2) The Second Draft 1 (2002).

“Strategies for Enhancing the Status of Legal Research and Writing and of Legal Research and Writing Faculty,” Newsletter, AALS Section on Legal Writing (Spring 2002).

“Five Simple Exercises for Teaching Persuasion,” 16(1) The Second Draft 13 (2001).

Selected Presentations

“Reaching the Summit” (panel presentation)
June 2006 Legal Writing Institute Conference, Atlanta, GA

“Too Much, Too Little, or Just ‘Write’: What is the ‘Right’ Approach to Critiquing Student Drafts?”
March 2006 Rocky Mountain Regional Legal Writing Conference, Tucson, AZ

“Stress in Law Students” (poster presentation)
January 2006 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

“Effective Syllabus Construction” (panelist for the program of the Section on Teaching Methods)
January 2006 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

“Clarity, Context, and Confidence-building: The Three C’s of a Successful First-year Legal Writing Program”
December 2005 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers, Boston, MA

"Too Much, Too Little, or 'Just Write': What is the 'Right' Approach to Critiquing Student Drafts?" (my prepared materials were presented by other panelists due to weather delays)
September 2005 Central States Regional Conference, Indianapolis, IN

“Metacognition: What Students Think about How They Think”
cancelled, July 2005 rescheduled, June 2006 Institute for Law School Teaching Conference, Spokane, WA

“News from the Doctrinal Front: What Skills Students Need in Upper-level Paper Courses”
June 2005 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers, Albany, NY

“Yield Not Unto Temptation: Things You Should Never Do as a LRW Teacher”
March 2005 Rocky Mountain Regional Legal Writing Conference, Phoenix, AZ

"Teachers and Students--Know Thyselves: Developing Reflective Learning Skills for a Lifetime of Academic and Professional Success"
January 2005 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA

“Five Ways to Sabotage Your Teaching Career Without Realizing What You’re Doing”
July 2004 Legal Writing Institute Conference, Seattle, WA

“Applying Learning Theory: Helping Students to Learn How to Learn” (with Pam Armstrong)
July 2004 Institute for Law School Teaching Conference, Spokane, WA

“Collaborative Teaching”
March 2004 Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Las Vegas, NV

“Making and Manipulating Meaning: An Exercise in Persuasion”
September 2003 Southeastern Regional Research and Writing Conference, St. Petersburg, FL

“Staying the Course: Leadership in Times of Change”
July 2003 Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, Windsor, Ontario

“Five Ways to Sabotage Your Teaching and Not Realize It”
March 2003 Rocky Mountain Regional Legal Writing Conference, Albuquerque, NM

“Cultural Influences and Legal Education: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Podium"
January 2003 AALS Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.

“An Exercise in Persuasion”
December 2002 Boston Legal Writing Consortium Conference, Boston, MA

“Learning About How People Learn and Applying It to Our LRW Class”
June 2002 Legal Writing Institute Conference, Knoxville, TN

“Writing Skills” (taught nine separate six-hour training sessions)
May-December 2001 Department of Disability Determinations, multiple sites in New York State

“Interviewing Skills” (taught four separate six-hour training sessions)
May-December 2001 Department of Disability Determinations, multiple sites in New York State

“Developing Scholarship” (roundtable reporter)
July 2001 Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, Minneapolis, MN

“Writing Centers” (roundtable discussion leader)
July 2001 Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, Minneapolis, MN

“Identity and Purpose in the Commenting Relationship: Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?”
July 2001 Institute for Law School Teaching Conference, Spokane, WA

“Research Refresher”
May 2001 CLE Program, Government Law Center, Albany Law School