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Washington College of Law Welcomes New Faculty Members

American University Washington College of Law (WCL) welcomes Robert L. Tsai, Mary D. Fan, Elizabeth Keith and Heather Ridenour to the full-time faculty. Both Fan and Tsai will teach Criminal Procedure this fall, while Keith and Ridenour are joining the Legal Rhetoric Program.  In addition, 12 visiting professors and practitioners-in-residence will join WCL this fall.

“WCL is honored to have such an outstanding group of professors join our exceptional faculty,” said Dean Claudio Grossman. “They will bring diverse legal, teaching, scholarship, and service backgrounds to the law school and I am certain they will have an extremely positive impact on WCL’s future lawyers.”

Tsai, an associate professor of law, comes to WCL from the University of Oregon where he taught courses in constitutional law and other areas of public law since 2002. He received the university's Lorry I. Lokey Award for exemplary interdisciplinary scholarship and the law school's Orlando J. Hollis Teaching Award.

Tsai’s primary research interests include American political culture, the discourses of popular sovereignty, radical constitutionalism, and criminal procedure. His first book, Eloquence and Reason: Creating a First Amendment Culture (Yale University Press, October 2008), examines how judges, presidents, lawyers, and activists employed the First Amendment to build a constitutional vocabulary and promote certain governing beliefs. Tsai earned a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.  He clerked for the late Hugh Bownes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Denny Chin, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. 

Fan, an assistant professor of law, was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of California. She also worked as an associate legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on the trial of military and police officers alleged to be responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.  She is a member of the Editorial Committee for the Journal of International Criminal Justice, published by Oxford University Press.

Fan’s research and teaching interests include U.S. and international criminal law and procedure, information security, evidence, immigration and border law, federal courts and jurisdiction, and property.  Her articles have appeared in the Yale Law & Policy Review, the Harvard Latino Law Review, the American Journal of Criminal Law, and the peer-reviewed Jurimetrics Journal. Her most recent article will be published in the peer-reviewed Law & Society Review.  She has also published a comment and a case note in the Yale Law Journal and a comment in the Yale Journal of International Law.  She received a Master of Philosophy in Social Anthropological Analysis from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Scholar; a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she received the Jewell Prize and Nathan Burkan Prize for two of her publications; and a B.A. from the University of Arizona. 

Keith joins WCL as a legal rhetoric instructor after serving as assistant director of George Mason University School of Law’s Legal Research, Writing and Analysis Program. Prior to becoming a law professor, she was a litigation associate at Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C., specializing in civil litigation. She received her B.A. from University of North Carolina and J.D. from George Mason School of Law. 

Ridenour joins WCL as director of the Legal Analysis Program and a legal rhetoric instructor. She was previously an instructor of academic support and legal writing specialist at Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Ridenour received her J.D. from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and B.B.A. from Texas Women's University.

Visiting Professors and Practitioners-in-Residence

  • Michael Carroll, visiting professor, and professor at Villanova University School of Law will teach Law and the Internet, IP in Cyberspace, and Contracts.
  • Louise Howells, visiting professor, teaches at the University of District of Columbia, will teach in the Community Economic Development Clinic.
  • Dan Kanstroom, visiting professor, and current director and clinical professor of the International Human Rights Program at Boston College Law School, will teach Immigration Law.
  • Alan Morrison, visiting professor, formerly special counsel in the office of the attorney general of the District of Columbia, will teach Civil Procedure and Administrative Law.
  • Michele Pistone, visiting professor, and professor and director of the clinical program as well as the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services at Villanova University School of Law, will teach in the International Human Rights Clinic.
  • Balakrishnan Rajagopal, visiting professor, and associate professor of law and development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will teach Comparative Law.
  • Sadiq Reza, visiting professor, and professor at New York Law School, will join WCL in the spring to teach Criminal Law and Islamic Law.
  • Noya Rimalt, scholar-in-residence, and associate professor of law at the University of Haifa, will teach Women in Israel: Between Myth and Reality.
  • Dean Rivkin, visiting professor, and professor at the University of Tennessee, will teach in the Disability Rights Clinic as well as Environmental Justice and Community Lawyering.
  • Wendy Seltzer, practitioner-in-residence in the Intellectual Property Clinic, who formerly taught at Northeastern University School of Law, will teach Intellectual Property and Privacy Law.
  • Linda Singer, law and government fellow, formerly attorney general of the District of Columbia in 2007-2008, will teach a course on The Role of the State Attorney General: Federalism and Proactive Law Enforcement.
  • Damon Smith, visiting assistant professor, who teaches at Rutgers School of Law, Camden, joins WCL to teach Property.