Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory

Nancy Cook

  • Director of the Lawyering Program

Ohio State University, B.A.
American University, M.F.A.
Georgetown University, J.D.

Office: 342
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Clinical Professor Nancy Cook is director of the law school’s Lawyering Program and co-holder of the Vaughan G. Papke Professorship in Clinical Law. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota faculty, Professor Cook was a tenured professor at Roger Williams University School of Law and director of that school’s Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic. A nationally recognized leader in clinical legal education, Professor Cook has served on the executive committee of the Association of American Law School’s Clinical Section and on the Clinical Legal Education Association’s board of directors. She has been a member of the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers since 2001.

Professor Cook graduated magna cum laude from Ohio State University and received her J.D. degree from Georgetown University. Following an appellate clerkship and a short tenure as an appellate public defender, Professor Cook entered the legal academy. She taught at American University in Washington, D.C. and later served as co-director of the Institute for Access to Justice at the University of New Mexico and then as director of the clinical program at Cornell Law School. Her classroom teaching subjects include criminal procedure, youth law, appellate advocacy and law through literature. Professor Cook also holds an M.F.A. and has taught creative writing at a number of correctional facilities and undergraduate colleges.

As a scholar, Professor Cook’s work often explores the roles of lawyers in a just society. She also has published a number of articles on creative pedagogy and the intersections of law and narrative theory. In addition, her fiction has appeared in a number of law publications and literary journals. She is frequently called upon to present at national teaching conferences and legal theory workshops on such diverse topics as community-based lawyering, international clinical education, law and literature, therapeutic jurisprudence, law and social work, critical pedagogy and racial justice.

Also an advocate, Professor Cook has been involved in numerous social justice initiatives, including, most recently, restorative justice programs involving incarcerated youth and victims’ advocates in Rhode Island and post-hurricane relief efforts in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Professor Cook is admitted to practice in four states and the District of Columbia and has represented clients in hundreds of state and federal trials and appeals, primarily in criminal and family law matters. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Advocate Award.



Nonprofits and Public Sectors Externship

Community Practice Clinic

Community Policy Development



  • Criminal Defense Checklists (Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994-1998) Nancy Cook and Michele G. Hermann

Book Chapters

  • Law and Literature Reviews, in Law in Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of Law-Related Works (Elizabeth Villiers Gemmette, ed., Whitston Pub. Co., 1998) Nancy Cook

Journal Articles

  • Law as Science: Revisiting Langdell’s Paradigm in the 21st Century, 88 North Dakota Law Review 21 (2012) Nancy Cook
  • A Few Words About Women in the Discourse of Criminal Law Upon Reading Martha Grace Duncan’s Essay, Beauty in the Dark of Night, 59 Emory Law Journal 1245 (2010) Nancy Cook
  • Broadening the Array of Services: Integrating Legal and Social Work Services for Youth and Families, 16 Journal of Community Practice 459 (2008) Nancy Cook, Madelyn Freundlich and James Gannaway
  • Conversations on “Community Lawyering”: The Newest (Oldest) Wave in Clinical Legal Education, 28 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 359 (2008) Karen Tokarz, Nancy Cook, Susan Brooks and Brenda Bratton Blom
    | SSRN
  • Looking for Justice on a Two-Way Street, 20 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 169 (2006) Nancy Cook
  • A Call to Affirmative Action for Fiction’s Heroes of Color; Or How Hawkeye, Huck and Atticus Foil the Work of Antiracism, 11 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 603 (2002) Nancy Cook
  • The Sky in a Box: Reflections on Prisons, Preachers, Storytelling and Salvation 3 Florida Coastal Law Journal 135 (2002) Nancy Cook
  • In Celia’s Defense: Transforming the Rule of Property Acquisition in Sexual Harassment Cases into a Feminist Castle Doctrine, 6 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 197 (1999) Nancy Cook
  • Thinking Like a Writer: A Novel Discipline for Those Trained to Think Like a Lawyer, 20 Legal Studies Forum 441 (1996) (reviewing Law in Literature series (Elizabeth Villiers Gemmette, ed., Whitston Pub. Co., 1995-1996)) (review essay) Nancy Cook
  • Breaking Silence with Ourselves: Stepping Out of Safe Boundaries, 29 Law & Society Review 757 (1995) (reviewing Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Failed Revolutions: Social Reform and the Limits of Legal Imagination (Westview Press, 1994)) (review essay) Nancy Cook
  • Legal Fictions: Clinical Experiences, Lace Collars and Boundless Stories, 1 Clinical Law Review 41 (1994), anthologized in Clinical Anthology: Readings for Live-Client Clinics (Alex J. Hurder, Frank S. Bloch Bloch, Susan L. Brooks, & Susan L. Kay, eds., Anderson Pub. Co., 1997), and in Law and Popular Culture: Text, Notes, and Questions (David Papke et al., eds., LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2007) Nancy Cook
  • Outside the Tradition: Literature as Legal Scholarship, 63 University of Cincinnati Law Review 95 (1994) Nancy Cook
  • Shakespeare Comes to the Law School Classroom, 68 Denver University Law Review 387 (1991) Nancy Cook

Other Publications

  • Hurricane Katrina: The Storm Still Rages, 56 Rhode Island Bar Journal 43 (Mar./Apr. 2008) Nancy Cook
  • Crossed Bridges, 9 Roger Williams University Law Review 685 (2004) Nancy Cook
  • Introduction: On the Bottom Line, Words That Can Heal, 8 Thomas M. Cooley Journal of Practical and Clinical Law 1 (2004) Nancy Cook
  • The Inaugural CLEA Creative Writing Contest, 4 Thomas M. Cooley Journal of Practical and Clinical Law 179 (2001) Nancy Cook and Robert Seibel
  • Response-Ability: Merging the Personal and the Professional through Action and Reflection, 21 Legal Studies Forum 239 (1997) Nancy Cook

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-1000

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