Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Craig W. Christensen

Craig W. Christensen

Professor of Law Emeritus

B.S., honors, Political Science, 1961, Brigham Young University; J.D., magna cum laude, 1964, Northwestern University; Order of the Coif; Member, Illinois State Bar


Craig Christensen has a long and distinguished record in legal education. He is a past president of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), one of the major legal education organizations, and has more than 30 years of teaching experience, including deanships at two law schools.

I'm an old fashioned law teacher and believe in the Socratic Method in which the approach is principally to engage people. As a result, I spend more time asking questions than answering them."

Following law school where he served as editor-in-chief of the Northwestern University Law Review, Professor Christensen practiced law with the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis and later served as executive assistant to the chairman and president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company. He began his career in legal education as executive director of the National Institute for Education in Law and Poverty and lecturer at Northwestern University. In rapid ascent, he served as legal advisor to the president and associate professor of law at the University of Michigan, and accepted dean posts at the law schools of Cleveland State and Syracuse universities. Professor Christensen then served as president and executive director of LSAC for nearly five years followed by a year as visiting professor of law at Hastings College of Law. He was appointed to the Southwestern faculty in 1992. He became Professor of Law Emeritus in 2006.

Long active in the area of gay rights, Professor Christensen serves on the National Advisory Committee of the Law and Sexuality Journal. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund and the New York State Human Rights Political Action Committee, as well as a past chair of the State of New York's Task Force on Gay Issues, and founding chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Gay and Lesbian Issues. He has also served on the California Democratic Party State Central Committee and was a delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention.


Books and Chapters

CASES AND MATERIALS ON EQUALITY AND LAW (Syracuse University, monograph edition, 1978)

FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (with R. Middlekauf; Practising Law Institute, 1977)


If Not Marriage? On Securing Gay and Lesbian Family Values by a 'Simulacrum of Marriage,' 66 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW 1699 (1998)

Legal Ordering of Family Values: The Case of Gay and Lesbian Families, 18 CARDOZO LAW REVIEW 1299 (1997)

Is It Really Better to Be Smart Than Passionate?, 34 JOURNAL OF LEGAL EDUCATION 426 (1984)

Selected Achievements