Catherine Kunkel Watson
Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills Emeritus
B.A., with honors, English, 1982, California State University, Los Angeles; J.D., 1986, Southwestern Law School; Member, California State Bar
As a Southwestern alumna and legal writing instructor, Professor Catherine Kunkel Watson has been where her students sit. She knows that to learn legal writing isn't just a matter of absorbing a new language, but also a different way of contemplating. "Once you get out of law school, your thinking pattern is different. You don't think the same way that the everyday person does," she said.
"Once you get out of law school, your thinking pattern is different. You don't think the same way that the everyday person does."
Professor Watson initially joined the law school's adjunct faculty in 1990, and a year later was appointed as a full-time Instructor of legal writing, also serving as a faculty advisor to the Moot Court Honors Program. She returned to Southwestern for the fall 2006 semester after retiring in 2002 to attend to family matters.
Before serving on the faculty at Southwestern, Professor Watson combined her lifelong interest in medicine through a career in malpractice defense. She joined the firm of Rushfeldt, Shelley & Drake where she handled medical malpractice cases, specializing in staff privilege defense and government entity defense.
When she was a student at Southwestern, Professor Watson served on Law Review and received an award for excellence in legal writing. As an instructor, she says that the process of teaching legal writing is thrilling, especially when it really starts to click. "I like watching the students learn. I like watching their face light up when they find out how simple this all really is," she said.