Full-Time Faculty

Teresa Godwin Phelps
Professor of Law

Paul Figley
Associate Director
Legal Rhetoric Instructor

Elizabeth Earle Beske
Academic Coordinator
Legal Rhetoric Instructor

Elizabeth Keith
Legal Research Coordinator
Legal Rhetoric Instructor

Heather Ridenour
Legal Analysis Program Director
Legal Rhetoric Instructor

David Spratt
Legal Rhetoric Instructor

Adjunct Faculty 2016-17

Don Aplin
Elizabeth Cavanagh
Mike Carlson
Erva Cockfield
Sara Kaiser Creighton
Jeff Danzig
Bethany Dickman
Dale Durrer
Bianca Garcia
Richard Hamilton III
Kevin Hancock

Paul Kaplan
Eric Laufgraben
Dan Lenerz
Kelly Matoney
Mike Quinn
Daniel Schwei
Reginald Skinner
Sam Singer
Gloria Solomon
Julie Wilson
Ehsan Zaffar

Legal Rhetoric Staff

Rachel Regberg, Program Coordinator
Amy Peterson, Administrative Assistant

Language has the power to shape the way people think and act.  Moreover, the ability to use language well is fundamental to successful law practice. WCL’s Legal Rhetoric Program is designed to prepare students to become excellent legal researchers, writers, and oral advocates.

The Legal Rhetoric course introduces students to principles of legal research, writing, analysis, and citation, as well as written and oral advocacy. The classroom environment is designed to be a highly interactive learning environment, including simulated client interviews, mock oral arguments, and facilitated group work. The course is designed to teach students four things: (1) to select writing strategies that will produce effective (“good”) documents; (2) to write legal analysis and legal argument; (3) to write specific kinds of legal documents (office memos, client advice letters, briefs); and (4) to identify, find, analyze, and use legal authority.  In other words: What do lawyers write? How do they write?  How do they think and reason? What authorities do they use to do this thinking and reasoning? These components are not discrete, of course. They are inextricably interwoven as lawyers produce legal documents and make legal arguments.  In addition, the course introduces students to principles of professionalism, such as attention to detail in documents on which clients, other lawyers, and judges rely; accuracy and honesty in using legal materials; collaborative writing skills; effective time management; and timeliness in the preparation and submission of materials. Finally, the course instructs students on oral advocacy skills and techniques; during the spring semester, each student delivers a motions argument and an appellate oral argument.

The Washington College of Law and the Legal Rhetoric Program take great pride in the Legal Rhetoric course and are deeply committed to sending WCL students into the profession equipped with excellent lawyering skills.


Scholarship in Legal Communication Awards Named in Honor of Professor Phelps

Legal Rhetoric Program
Suite Y364 (Yuma Building)
4300 Nebraska Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016

Tel: 202-274-4074; Fax: 202-274-4307

Office Hours Beginning 8/22/16:
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.