Steve Johansen

Professor of Law and Director, Lawyering Program

Wood Hall 213
Legal Assistant:


After receiving his undergraduate degree, Johansen taught in the Oregon public school system while earning his JD. He was an associate with the Portland firm of Tedesco & Wilson working on labor law issues. Professor Johansen has worked extensively with colleagues at the University of Latvia on developing the first Legal Writing program in Latvia. His book, /Juridiska Analize Un Tekstu Rakstisana/, the first Legal Writing textbook to be published in Latvia, is now in its third edition. In Spring 2002, he was a visiting professor at University College, Cork, in Ireland. He has served on the Oregon Bench/Bar Commission on Professionalism since 2002. He served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute from 1996 until 2008  and served as the Institute’s President from 2002 to 2004. He is also a former Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Research, and Reasoning. Johansen has published articles on the politics of legal writing, interpreting Oregon statutes, and most recently on the ethical limits of storytelling in the law. In addition to his work in Latvia, Johansen is a frequent participant in international legal skills training, including recent projects in the Czech Republic, Kenya, and the United Kingdom.   He was the 2009 recipient of the Thomas F. Blackwell Award.

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • BS 1981 Portland State University
  • JD cum laude 1987 Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College


Separately Published Works

  • YOUR CLIENT’S STORY: PERSUASIVE LEGAL WRITING, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (2013) (co-authored with Ruth Anne Robbins and Ken Chestek).
  • INTERPRETING OREGON LAW (co-edited with Anne Villella), Oregon State Bar, 2008.
  • JURIDISKA ANALIZE UN TEKSTU RAKSTISANA (Baiba Broka and Daiga Iljanova trans., Tiesu Namu Agentura 2001)(This is the first Legal Writing text published in Latvia).

Works Published As Part of a Collection

  • Coming Attractions: An Essay on Movie Trailers and Preliminary Statements, 10 JALWD 41 (2013)
  • Was Colonel Sanders a Terrorist? An Essay on the Ethical Limits of Applied Legal Storytelling, 7 Ass’n Legal Writing Directors 63 (2010).
  • This Is Not The Whole Truth: The Ethics of Telling Stories To Clients, 38 Ariz. St. L.J. 961 (2006) ( abstract=1101788).
  • Clearly Ambiguous: A Visitor’s View of the Irish Abortion Referendum of 2002, 25 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 205 (2003).
  • Other Employer Unfair Labor Practices, RS 243.672(1)(d),(f), and (h), LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW: PUBLIC SECTOR (Oregon CLE, 2002), co-authored with Michael J. Tedesco.
  • What Does Ambiguous Mean? Making Sense of Statutory Analysis In Oregon, Volume 34, Number 2, WILLAMETTE LAW REVIEW (1998).
  • “What Were You Thinking?”: Using Annotated Portfolios to Improve Student Assessment, 4 LEGAL WRITING 123 (1998).
  • Life Without Grades: Creating a Successful Pass/Fail Legal Writing Program, 6 PERSPECTIVES: TEACHING LEGAL RESEARCH & WRITING 219 (1998).
  • Civil Service and Particular Employment Problems, in LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW: PUBLIC SECTOR (Oregon CLE, 1990).
  • Statutes Affecting Compensation, in LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW: PUBLIC SECTOR (Oregon CLE, 1990), co-authored with Katherine Logan.