Meet a Colleague: Sarah Cravens Sarah Cravens is a Visiting Professor of Law, who joined the law school as of June 2023.
Sarah Cravens is a Visiting Professor of Law, who joined the law school as of June 2023. She previously served as a law professor and administrator for many years on the faculty at the University of Akron School of Law, and more recently she taught on the faculty at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Sarah has also played various leadership roles in university administration in both Ohio and Missouri. While her scholarly focus is on Judicial Ethics, she has taught a wide range of other courses, including Torts, Professional Responsibility, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Remedies, Global Issues in Tort Law, Cross-Border Practice, and Legal Drafting. In addition to her academic career, Sarah has spent time in practice both at a large firm in Washington, D.C. (focusing on pharmaceutical products liability litigation) and as inside general counsel (in academia as well as in industry). Sarah is originally from Oklahoma. She received both her undergraduate (Princeton University, A.B.) and graduate (Cambridge University, M.Phil.) degrees in Classics, before attending Washington and Lee for Law School.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
As a law student, I particularly loved the main reading room in the law library. It was a perfect place to study. These days, though, my favorite spot is down on the Woods Creek Trail, where you can look up and see three bridges from different eras crossing at different levels and different angles, above and through the trees. There is something that captivates me there every time I come through on a walk or a run.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
Traveling, especially internationally. I always have a long list of places I want to see, or return to. Some of my favorite trips in recent years have been those I’ve taken with my niece and nephews, or with study abroad students.
Q. Book/Podcast/TV Show Recommendation
A few of the books I’ve particularly enjoyed reading (or re-reading) recently include:
Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon, On Writing by Stephen King, The Daughters of Yalta by Catherine Grace Katz, Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, and one of the books I’m currently reading is Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell.
Q. If you could have coffee or tea with one person, who would it be and why?
The first person who comes to mind is one of my great-grandmothers whom I never got to meet. From all that I know, we had a lot in common, but she lived in such a different world. As for famous people, I’d like to meet Benjamin Cardozo. I’ve read his lectures on The Nature of the Judicial Process and his opinions (particularly on Tort law) so many times, but that has only filled me with questions I wish I could ask him.
Q. What courses are you teaching in the fall semester?
This fall I will be teaching Conflict of Laws, which was one of my favorite classes in law school. It is sort of the “chess” of law school – the rules of the game, the strategy of how the game is played. Students are often scared of it, but lawyers often remark later that they wish they had taken it while they had the chance.
Q. Who inspired you to teach?
I have known that teaching is my calling since I was about eight years old. Along the way, I’ve learned more about what I ought to teach and at what level, but I have always known that I am a teacher. So I have always paid close attention to those around me – not just those formally assigned to the role of “teacher” or “professor” in a school environment – to discern what made them good teachers, so that I might build their best qualities into what I offer to my students. I have been blessed with some of the best, all the way from primary school to high school to college to law school, but also in other environments – in my family, in sports, in choirs, with friends, at church. They are all present with me whenever I teach – all a part of the model I strive for. I am endlessly grateful for those who care about good teaching. It’s a big part of why I came to W&L as a law student, and why it means a lot to me to be back now.
Q. What is an accomplishment you are proud of?
I think rather than any isolated event or milestone, I’m simply proud to be at a place in my career and in my life where others (whether colleagues, students, family or friends) know my experience, trust my judgment, and seek my counsel, and freely offer the same to me.
Q. Favorite food/restaurant/drink?
I have pretty wide-ranging tastes, and I love food generally, so I have never been able to answer the favorite food question, especially the more I get to travel and try new things in different places. I’m hard pressed on a favorite drink as well, but I’ll say it’s a toss-up between an ice-cold tonic water with lime, and a hot herbal tea, depending on the temperature and the time of day.
Q. Most used/enjoyable app on your phone?
Most enjoyable: Libby
Most useful: Dropbox
Most used: Texts/Emails
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