Monday, December 22, 2008

Professor Rankings

I thought I would stick my neck out and "grade" the professors that I have had at my time at Willamette. I am not going to do a #1 and so on....What I will say is "Top" meaning I would take any class I could from them. "Very Good" Meaning, I liked them but there were a few issues. "Average" meaning the professor was okay, but nothing to write home about, or "Yikes" meaning do anything you can to avoid this professor.

First Semester:
Torts: Richardson, Average. Richardson is a good enough lecturer but a bit on the condescending side. The first thing he will tell you is that you will teach yourself torts, and he is right. Much of his lecturing is abstract and finding the elements of the tort are very difficult. Buy the crunchtime and safe yourself from time. What I will say is he is one of the nicest men outside of the class that you will meet. Very approachable during his office hours and he is willing to talk through any thing you do not understand.

Civil Procedure: Wise, Average lecturer, Very Good personality. I love Professor Wise. He has been voted by the student body as the professor most likely to go off on a tangent for 4 years running. He has a very clever since of humor. Also, his life experience as a federal prosecutor, makes for a very interesting conversation. I took my daughter to his class and she drew him a picture that now hangs proudly in his office. As for a lecturer, those tangents make class very, very difficult--as if civ pro is not hard enough. However, I would take a class with Professor Wise again hands down.

Legal Research & Writing: Jacobson, Very good. Professor Jacobson will become your law school mom. When life is too much, she is waiting with a bowl full of chocolates and a hug. As for the teaching, she is not always clear in what she wants. But she will teach you how to write, and write well.

Contracts I: KCP, Top. He is one of the best professors I have had the fortune to have a class with. He teaches with a cumulative approach so when it comes to studying for the final, you sit down and realize that really it is just tweaking the details because you already know what you need to. His exams are fair and his grading procedures are clear before you take the test. He also gives you a copy of the last semester's exam and a copy of the high paper so you know what he is looking for. He is also a very nice guy and very approachable outside of class.

Criminal: Appleman, Top: I would take a class with her anytime, anywhere. Now, most students either love her or hate her. I find her dry wit and sarcasm in class amusing and entertaining. Her teaching style is also cumulative in that by the time you are done, you know much more than you thought you did. Also, she is very, very approachable outside of class.

1st year, 2nd Semester:

Property: Diller, Top: Professor Diller is also has a cumulative teaching style. This was one of my highest grades for my second semester. Diller is engaging and challenges you constantly trying to tie all areas of the law together. His final is fair, but tough. One great thing about Diller is that he will allow you to throw the kitchen sink at the exam, so if you have a relevant theory outside of property, he will give you points for it. However, he is a bit hard to talk to outside of class, but is willing to try and clarify his points. I would take any class that Diller taught that was available.

International Law: Wise, Very Good. Passionate about this subject and all I said above still is true.

Contracts II: Runkel, Yikes. Runkel is very entertaining and very engaging outside of class. However, in class I always felt like the cornered mouse that the tom cat was just batting back and forth between his big paws before the mouse's final demise. I learned absolutely nothing in this class. His lecturing is terrible and abstract. I still don't understand some very important concepts of contract law.

Con Law I: Williams, Yikes. I would never, as long as I live, take another class with Williams. I did get one of my best grades from him, however, his final was very unfair. The whole question was on a dissent of a case that we spent exactly 7 minutes on in class. While Williams is approachable outside of class and very nice, inside of the classroom he is condescending and often belittling. He is very open about his political belief's and if you don't believe as he does, he takes a very patronizing approach. Don't get me wrong, he is a very intelligent man who seems to enjoy debate, but I always got the feeling that he was just waiting for you to mess up so he could stick it to you.

2nd year, 1st semester

Evidence: Standen, Top. Standen is tough, very tough. But his confrontational teaching style with the cumulative aspect keeps you on your toes the whole semester. He has one of the best sense of humor I have ever seen in a law professor. I felt stimulated and afraid to drift off during his class. I was also mentally and physically exhausted after the exam. I would definitely take another class from him if I have the opportunity.

Con Law II: Carrasco, Average. Carrasco is a confusing guy. He has a background in philosophy and so often times you cannot understand what his question to the class means. This leaves alot of confusion. However, his background in litigating establishment clause, free-speech, and freedom of religion cases in the federal courts makes his teaching interesting. He brings his live cases and experiences to the class and it opens the door to a new understanding. I am not sure I would take another class from him because he just talks on a whole other level from you, but I would be open to it.

Admin Law: Dobbins, Very Good. Dobbins clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stevens and has alot of experience in the area of Admin Law. Dobbins is one of the smartest and nicest men I have met while at Willamette. He is passionate about his topic and truly wants to see his students succeed. He does a great job and making a tough topic easy.

Professional Responsibility: Tamayo, Average. Professor Tamayo is approachable and a great lecturer. We met for only 2 hours a week so it is hard to say what she would be like in another subject. Out of all the professor's I have had, she still has a question mark over her head. Her exam seemed to be taken out of the examples and explanations with a few little things changed.

Remedies: Standen, Morris-Collins.
Standen: Top--all I said above applies here as well. Prof Standen was involved in an accident half way through the semester and Morris Collins took over.
Morris-Collins: Very passionate about the topic of remedies. I can't really grade her because I did not have her from start to finish. For the few weeks I had her, I was left with a favorable opinion and would be open to taking another class from her in the future.

Coming in May: 2nd year, 2nd Semester grading of Saucy, Graham, Landau, Appleman, and KCP. As you can tell, I am taking additional classes from Appleman and KCP--we shall see if they live up to my kudos above.


  1. Lisa, could you please clarify what you mean by "cumulative"?

  2. The professor lays the foundation and then builds on it brick by brick. Also, during the course of the class, the professor will refer back to past topics and tie it into what you are talking about. By constantly building on the topic, it is repetitious, and you find that by the end of the semester, very little studying is required.....Just tweaking a bit here and there.