Tessa L. Dysart

Assistant Director of Legal Writing & Clinical Professor of Law

Tessa L. Dysart is the Assistant Director of Legal Writing and Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. She also serves as the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Appellate Practice & Process, which was acquired by the University of Arizona Law in June 2020.

Professor Dysart writes and speaks nationally on appellate advocacy issues. She is the author or editor of three books, including third edition of Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs and Oral Arguments (with the Hon. Leslie H. Southwick of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) and The Short & Happy Guide to Judicial Clerkships. Her publications have appeared in The Green Bag, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, and the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy. She manages the Appellate Advocacy Blog, which was added to the ABA’s list of best law blogs in 2018. 

Professor Dysart is a graduate of Willamette University and Harvard Law School. She clerked for the Hon. Dennis W. Shedd of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Her practice experience includes working for the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy and the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

In 2021, Professor Dysart was appointed to a four-year term on the Arizona State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also serves on the Arizona Board of Regents Free Expression Committee.  Professor Dysart is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Since 2023, she has served as a pro tem judge for the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Curriculum Vitae

SSRN Published Papers

Representative Publications


  • J.D. Harvard Law School
    Co-managing Editor (2004 - 2005), Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
  • Fullbright ScholarshipMoscow Institute for Advanced Studies, Moscow, Russia
    2001 - 2002
  • B.A. Willamette University, Salem, Oregon
    Graduated magna cum laude

Work Experience

  • Assistant Director of Legal Writing & Associate Clinical Professor of Law
    James E Rogers College of Law
    2017 - present
  • Adjunct & Assistant Professor of Law
    Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach, Virginia
    2011; 2012 - 2017
  • Associate Counsel, American Center for Law & Justice
    Washington, D.C.; Virginia Beach, Virginia
    2009 - 2012
  • Counsel, United States Senate Judiciary Committee
    Washington, D.C.
    2008 - 2009
  • Counsel, Office of Legal Policy
    United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
    2006 - 2008
  • Judicial Clerk
    Hon. Dennis W. Shedd, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Columbia, South Carolina
    2005 - 2006
Constitutional Law
First Amendment Law
Legal Education
Legal Writing & Research
Media Law