Meet the Faculty

Full-Time Faculty

Patricia Leary

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Law

  • B.A., Valdosta State University
  • J.D., Florida State University College of Law
  • LL.M., Columbia University

Torts II and Women and the Law Reading Assignments Spring 2018

Contact Information

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Tel. 714.444.4141 ext. 242
Fax. 714.444.1854
Building Two, Room 242

Areas of Expertise

Women’s Rights

Professor Leary began her law career in Florida as a judicial clerk, legal writing teacher, and director of a legal policy clinic. She moved to California after receiving a Masters degree in Law from Columbia University and has been teaching at Whittier Law School since 1992.

As a Distinguished Teaching Professor, she sees her life’s work as student-centered, both inside and outside of the classroom. She is deeply committed to teaching students to think clearly and critically about law, to helping students to refine the art of legal reasoning and analysis, and to encouraging students to navigate with joy and purpose the life changing experience of law school.

Professor Leary is also actively involved in the life of the campus community. She devotes a great deal of her time to coaching students in appellate advocacy, and serving as faculty advisor to numerous student organizations. In 1999 she helped to found On Common Ground, a student organization that annually produces a series of events designed to raise awareness of multiple social and legal issues including race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.


  • Towards a State Constitutional Check on Police Discretion to Patrol the Fourth Amendment’s Outer Frontier: A Subjective Test for Pretextual
    , 69 Temple Law Review 1007 (1996) (With Stephanie Williams)
  • Power to the People? A Critique of the Florida Supreme Court’s Interpretation of the Referendum Power in Florida Land Company v. City of Winter Springs, 15 Fla. St. U.L. Rev 673 (1987).
  • Paper: the Jurisprudence of Establishment and Free Exercise: Stories and Lessons, Panel on Radical Fundamentalism as a Political
    Movement, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Debate on Natural Law Sponsored by the Federalist Society and Campus Democrats, Whittier Law School
  • Paper: Judicial Activism, Panel Discussion for On Common Ground, Whittier Law School
  • Paper: Teaching Constitutional Rights and Reasoning in a Time of Terror, William P. Gray Inns of Court
  • Paper: A Contextual Analysis of Abortion, Panel Discussion for On Common Ground, Whittier Law School
  • Paper: This American Death: The Jurisprudence of the Death Penalty, National Conference of the National Lawyer’s Guild
  • Panelist, Divided Sisters, Bridging the Gap Between Black Women and White Women, National Women Law Students Association Conference
  • Paper: Rewriting the Law School Curriculum: Challenging the Casebooks and Professors to Present Women as Something other than “Victims,” National Women Law Students Association Conference
  • Women and Politics, panel discussion sponsored by the City of West Hollywood for Women’s History Month
  • Paper: Living in the Backlash: The Future of Feminism, National Women Law Students Association Conference
  • Paper: The Trial of Patricia Hearst, International Law and Society Association Conference, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Death Penalty Debate sponsored by Amnesty International

Teaching Awards

  • Whittier Law School Teacher of the Year – 8 years