Meet the Professor: Heather Kolinsky Kolinsky, who joined W&L Law in 2021, teaches legal writing and professional responsibility.
Heather Kolinsky joined Washington and Lee University School of Law as a Professor of Practice in 2021. She teaches legal writing and professional responsibility. Previously, Professor Kolinsky served as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Gregory J. Kelly in the United States Middle District Court of Florida from 2018 to 2021. She also practiced appellate law, representing clients in civil and family law appeals in Florida. Professor Kolinsky’s scholarly writing focuses on the intersection of gender and the law as well as the relationship between the individual, institutions, and the state, particularly as it relates to corporate personhood.
What do you like about teaching Legal Writing?
I really like breaking down the process of writing and teaching students the mechanics of how to convey their legal analysis to a specific audience. However, the best part of teaching is watching the students make tangible progress and transform into legal writers as the year progresses. I especially love the transition from predictive to persuasive writing as it gives the students license to have their own voice in their writing.
How did you develop an interest in Vulnerability Theory?
I had been writing on issues of gender and law, but I was also addressing more discrete topics related to equality in immigration and privacy. I wanted a wider lens to examine these issues, as well as a more coherent way to consider theoretical and practical solutions for larger social issues. Vulnerability Theory gave me that lens. It moves beyond a focus on identities to examine how our shared dependence and resilience as embodied beings shapes – and is shaped by – our relationship with the state. It builds on existing antidiscrimination and equality approaches to social issues and seeks to examine commonalities in societal roles and how we all interact with the state and other institutions while in these roles. It has even expanded my interests to include corporate personhood. All of this has helped me move toward a new way of considering how the law may adapt to address social problems and offer resilience to a broader range of subjects.
What are your impressions of teaching at W&L Law thus far?
The entire school community has been extremely welcoming. I am grateful we are teaching in person this year and that I arrived at W&L as it returns to the activities and engagement that help make the law school unique.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to be outdoors, particularly on the water. I think I discovered the Chessie Trail my first week in Lexington. I am a runner, and I also like to kayak and hike. I just learned to scuba dive last year. My other passion is travel. That has been put on hold obviously, but my family and I have managed to make the most of traveling closer to home this past year. I am looking forward to a long-planned trip to Japan and South Korea next summer.
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