Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law

Ruth Anne Robbins is a distinguished clinical professor who is a curriculum expert, creating several courses in legal writing, a field in which she is a national leader, and the Domestic Violence Clinic. Her scholarship focuses on legal narrative, document design, and New Jersey domestic violence. She has won multiple teaching awards, co-authors books, and edits a journal.  

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Expertise
Biography

Ruth Anne Robbins teaches courses across the lawyering curriculum, including upper level writing, the LAWR series, and the Advanced DV Clinic or related. She has created several courses in the curriculum including Persuasion in Legal Writing, the Domestic Violence Clinic, and Advanced Legal Writing. She also reimagined and redesigned the Hunter program to its current iteration. Professor Robbins has received The Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, has been honored by the Women's Law Caucus, and has been selected by graduating students as Lawyering Professor of the Year. She was selected for a campus Digital Teaching Fellowship for the 2016-17 Academic Year. 

Robbins co-authors a 1L textbook about persuasive legal writing that is client-centered rather than document-centered in approach. She co-authored two sections of Building Best Practices--a book about experiential legal education--published by the Clinical Legal Education Association. She has also co-authored the practitioner treatise on New Jersey Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure. Her most recent scholarship focuses on the process of choosing portraits for our paper currency. The body of her other work has focused on persuasion theory in the two areas of first, legal rhetoric--specifically storytelling/narrative and visual design in legal documents; and second, on the civil right to counsel in domestic violence cases. One of her document design articles appeared by invitation on the website of the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit from 2004 through April 2016. 

Nationally, she serves as co-editor in chief of the peer-edited journal, Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, publishing articles about lawyering for a practitioner audience. She is the co-founder of the international biennial conference series, Applied Legal Storytelling. Professor Robbins served as the President of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), from 2008–10, and served on the Board of Directors from 2004 through 2016. She has also served on other national committees for experiential education. She regularly presents at national conferences, CLEs, and workshops. The New Jersey Law Journal named her a top-25 New Jersey Women in Law in its inaugural event, in 2016. 

Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty, she was an associate at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis in Philadelphia, and at Eisenberg, Gold & Cettei in South Jersey. She clerked for a presiding judge of the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division, the Hon. Michael Patrick King, P.J.A.D. She has a B.A. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Westinghouse Science Scholar for her laboratory work. She earned her J.D. magna cum laude from Rutgers and was the first recipient of the Deborah Michael Richards Award in family law.  

Publications

Beyond #TheNew10—The Case for a Citizens Currency Advisory Committee, 69 Rutgers L. Rev. (forthcoming 2016) (with Genevieve Tung).

Three 3Ls, Kairos, and the Civil Right to Counsel in Domestic Violence Cases, 2015 State U. L. Rev. 1359 (Part of the Symposium, Persuasion in Civil Rights Advocacy).http://digitalcommons.law.msu.edu/lr/vol2015/iss4/5/ 

95 Years of Waiting for a Woman on Paper Currency, Women You Should Know (January 28, 2016) (with Genevieve Tung),http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/95-years-of-waiting-for-a-woman-on-paper-currency/

Writing the Client Into the Argument: Image Decision, Word-Choice Precision, LegalED Pedagogy Series (filmed March 2015, American University, Washington College of Law). https://vimeo.com/141592267

Art-iculating the Analysis: Visuals as Legal Reasoning, (with Steven J. Johansen) 20 Legal Writing 57 (2015). available athttp://www.legalwritingjournal.org/2015/07/05/art-iculating-the-analysis-systemizing-the-decision-to-use-visuals-as-legal-reasoning/ 

Revisiting the Traditional Foundational Legal Skills of Analysis, Research, and Communication (with Kristen K. Tiscione and Amy Sloan), in Building on Best Practices & Carnegie’s Educating Lawyers: Legal Education in a Changing World(Maranville, Sedillo Lopez, Bliss, & Kaas, eds., 2015).

Your Client's Story: Persuasive Legal Writing (with Steve Johansen and Ken Chestek) (Wolters Kluwer L. & Bus. 2013)(textbook).

Finding Perspective in the Institution, The Second Draft 20–23 (Fall 2015), at http://lwionline.org/uploads/FileUpload/F2015SecondDraftMobile.pdf (as part of written legal storytelling offering a method for locating and presenting the perspectives of an institutional client).

A Cautionary Tale Showing the Need for Civil Right to Counsel in Domestic Violence Cases, Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy Blog (with Brian J. Foley) (October 15, 2015), at http://rutgerspolicyjournal.org/cautionary-tale-showing-need-civil-right-counsel-domestic-violence-cases

Harry Potter as Client in a Lawsuit, Chapter in The Law & Harry Potter (Jeffrey E. Thomas & Franklin G. Snyder, eds., Carolina Acad. Press 2010). 

Conserving the Canvas: Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Legal Briefs by Re-Imagining Court Rules and Legal Briefs, 7 J. ALWD 193 (2010). 

New Jersey Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure 3d ed. (with the Hon. A. DiCamillo and M.A. Abatemarco) (N.J. Inst. of CLE 2009) (practitioner treatise). *2d edition published in 2005 and 1st edition published in 2002. 

An Introduction to Applied Storytelling, 14 J. Legal Writing 3 (2008).

Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Telling the Client's Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero's Journey, 29 No. 4 Seattle L. Rev. 767 (2006)(lead article). 

Painting with Print: Incorporating concepts of typographic and layout design into the text of legal writing documents, 2 J. ALWD 108 (2004); reproduced on the website of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals from October 2004 through April 2016. 

Creating New Learning Experiences Through Collaborations Between Law Librarians and Legal Writing Faculty (with Susan A. King), 11 No. 3 Perspectives 110 (Spring 2003). 

Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers On How To Use Fiction Writing Techniques To Write Persuasive Facts Sections (with Brian Foley), 32, No. 2, Rutgers L.J. 459 (Winter, 2001). 
*Reprinted in 51 No. 1 Defense L.J. 149 (Spring 2002)

Various shorter pieces appear in multiple issues of The Second Draft, available athttp://www.lwionline.org and include President's Columns (between 2008-10) and The Next Step #1 Starting a Dialogue About Upper Level Writing (beginning of a regular column). Other shorter pieces appear in various newsletters, and Op-Eds.

 

Expertise
  • Clinical Legal Education
  • Domestic Violence
  • Legal Education
  • Legal Rhetoric/Persuasion
  • Legal Writing