The Art of Choosing a Textbook for Your Course: Ideas to Help You Approach This All-Important Decision

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST

Webinar Description:

Choosing the right casebook is a challenge for even the most experienced professors. There is no one best method or one right answer; it’s often more art than science. Several experienced professors will identify factors that you should consider when selecting materials for a course and discuss how they’ve gone about making their choices given the many competing considerations. In choosing the right book for first-year, upper-level, and legal-writing courses, professors should consider the coverage and clarity of the book, teaching style, the teacher’s manual, supplemental materials, financial burden to students, institutional politics, and so much more!


Learning Objectives:



Casebook Selection Excerpt – from Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching (PDF)


Click Here to Watch the Webinar Replay



Timothy J. Duff, J.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Practice SkillsSuffolk University Law School

Tim Duff is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Practice Skills at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Duff previously taught first-year legal writing, advanced legal writing, and appellate practice at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He also practiced law for more than 27 years. He has been a Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Law and has been recognized as an Ohio SuperLawyer in Appellate Practice. Professor Duff is actively involved in the national legal-writing community, including AALS’s Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD). He is also the Chair of AALS’s Section on New Law Professors. Professor Duff presents frequently at national and regional conferences on legal writing, teaching methods, experiential education, and litigation.






Paul Figueroa, J.D., Assistant Professor of Law, The University of New Mexico School of Law

Professor Paul Figueroa brings extensive private and public sector practice experience to the classroom. Most recently he served as a foreign service officer and the inhouse-counsel for the U.S. Agency for the International Development in Guatemala, where he managed a diverse portfolio of legal issues related to their $150 million foreign assistance budget. Prior to that appointment, Professor Figueroa worked as an attorney adviser to various regional and technical bureaus at the USAID/Washington office. Professor Figueroa served for five years as the chair to the Fund Council Group on Intellectual Property for the Consultative Group of International Research Centers to ensure responsible management of intellectual property assets that resulted from public funding. During his ten years of government service, Professor Figueroa received several prestigious agency-wide awards related to strategic innovation in legal practice and institutional climate. In the private sector, Professor Figueroa served as manager for the Customs and Trade Compliance Group at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Chicago and as a senior associate in the Washington, DC office of New York City-based Grunfeld Desiderio, where he represented foreign corporations involved in trade disputes and won over 90% of appeals before the U.S. Court of International Trade.

An Economics and International Studies graduate of Beloit College, Professor Figueroa graduated from American University Washington College of Law (consistently ranked in the top 10 law schools nationally in international law). While in law school, he clerked for the Honorable Jennifer A. Hillman of the U.S. International Trade Commission and was a member of the American University Law Review. Professor Figueroa taught international trade law as an adjunct professor for several years in Washington, DC and is fluent in three languages.




Howard Katz, J.D., Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Legal Educator-in-Residence

Professor Katz is the co-author of Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching, and regularly makes presentations about teaching and curriculum at the AALS annual meeting, the AALS Workshop for New Law Teachers, and elsewhere. He enjoys mentoring newer professors, and serves on the executive committee of the Section on New Law Professors.

Howard helped develop a series of books providing subject matter-specific teaching advice, available free on the Wolters Kluwer faculty resource page. In addition to teaching, he has served as an associate dean or special advisor to the dean at several law schools, held two senior positions in local government, was the Senior Fellow at the American Architectural Foundation, and was a Knight Foundation Fellow in Community Building. For several years he conducted public affairs interviews on a Cleveland radio station. His B.A. is from Case Western Reserve University, his J.D. from Harvard Law School.




Dean Sean Scott, J.D., President and Dean, California Western School of Law

Sean Scott joined the California Western School of Law as dean and president in 2020. She was previously senior associate dean and associate dean for faculty at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she expanded legal education through a variety of innovative programs including a Master of Science in Legal Studies, the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law program, and the Fashion Law Project.

Her innovative approach extended to the classroom as well, resulting in numerous honors, including the Student Bar Association’s prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award and the Black Law Students Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

Dean Scott’s academic interests include legal education, contracts, and disability rights. Her most recent article, Contractual Incapacity and the Americans with Disabilities Act, was published in the Dickinson Law Review and has been recognized by JOTWELL as one of the best works of recent scholarship in the areas of both contracts and elder law. Dean Scott speaks frequently on the topic of legal education and the diversification of the legal academy. Dean Scott currently serves on the Board of Governors of SALT and has served as Associate Director of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

Before joining academia, Scott was an associate in the Los Angeles office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. She earned her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Smith College.



Nancy Soonpaa, J.D., Professor of Law, 2001; Dean Richard B. Amandes Senior Scholar in Legal Practice, Texas Tech University School of Law

Since 2001, Nancy Soonpaa has taught at Texas Tech University School of Law, where she directed (2001-2018) and teaches in the Legal Practice Program; teaches Health Law, Negotiation Workshop, and Family Law; and served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs (2005-07).

Professor Soonpaa began teaching undergraduate writing courses at the University of North Dakota, taught for three years at the University of Puget Sound School of Law, and taught in the Lawyering Program at Albany Law School for six years. Her articles about legal writing often focus on effective pedagogical choices and learning theory and have appeared in several professional journals; she has also published an empirical study on law students and stress and most recently, an article on constructing an effective syllabus for the Journal of Legal Education.