Professor Sandy Patrick Receives 2019 Leo Levenson Award

Professor Sandy Patrick Professor Sandy Patrick

The Leo Levenson Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Professor Sandy Patrick by graduating student Anjana Kumar ’19 at the 2019 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18.

Patrick teaches Lawyering, Advanced Legal Writing, Persuasion, and Pre-Bar Strategies and Skills, and she has been instrumental in successfully launching a Foundations of Professional Practice class for first-year students that will be an ongoing requirement.

She was selected by the graduating class, explained Kumar, “for her ardent dedication to her students, not only ensuring that they are prepared to be excellent attorneys, but that they take care of themselves along the way.” Patrick makes certain to understand her students as individuals, Kumar noted, and she recognizes that “the structure of law school is not the desired learning style for everyone.”

Patrick earned her JD at the University of Tennessee School of Law in 1994 and went on to clerk for the Honorable David H. Welles of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. She practiced law in Tennessee as an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Appeals and Death Penalty Division, arguing cases before the state appellate and supreme courts, federal district courts, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She went into private practice with the international law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, and taught legal writing at Wake Forest University prior to joining the Lewis & Clark Law School faculty in 2001.

“I truly have the best job in the world because I get to work with so many bright, talented, and inspirational people—my dear colleagues in the Lawyering department, as well as the faculty and staff who make up this community,” Patrick said. “Most of all, I have gotten to work with you [graduates]. I stand here with gratitude, not only for this award, but for having known you.”

Patrick is as dedicated to her research as she is to her students. She has coauthored two textbooks on foundational concepts for legal writing and analysis, An Advocate Persuades and A Lawyer Writes, the latter of which is the best-selling legal writing textbook in the nation. Patrick has worked as the law school’s writing specialist and participates in the national Legal Writing Institute, having served as the coeditor of the institute’s publication, The Second Draft.

In her acceptance speech, Patrick quoted poet Antonio Machado’s famous verse in a message to graduates. “Traveler, there is no road. / The road is made by walking. / Traveler, the road is your tracks / And nothing more,” Patrick read. “I am confident you will do amazing things on your own road. I am so grateful that you let me walk with you for part of the way.”