Cristina C. Knolton

Associate Dean of SCALE | Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills

Professor Cristina Knolton headshot

B.A., with honors, University of California, Irvine
J.D., with honors, University of Texas School of Law;

Phi Beta Kappa

Member, Texas State Bar


Cristina Knolton brings extensive experience as an attorney, mediator, and legal educator to Southwestern, where she has been a member of the Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills (LAWS) faculty since 2008.  She served as the Co-Director of Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program from 2008 to 2024, coaching numerous championship negotiation teams, including the ABA Negotiation National Championship team in 2020 and the ABA Mediation Advocacy National Championship team in 2019. She also served as the Director of Legal Analysis, Writing & Skills from 2023 to 2024.

"Superb analytical and writing skills are essential to becoming an effective lawyer, regardless of the practice area. However, to be a successful lawyer, students must also develop elite professionalism skills. One of my most important roles as a law professor is to teach students how to foster respectful relationships, advocate with integrity, and handle adversity gracefully."

Before joining Southwestern, Associate Dean Knolton taught at Texas Tech University School of Law and La Verne College of Law. Her teaching portfolio includes courses in Legal Writing and Analysis, Negotiation, Mediation Advocacy, Contracts, Property, Legal Research, and Community Property. She was nominated for the Hemphill-Wells New Professor Teaching Award in 2007 and was the inaugural recipient of the Anahid Gharakhanian Excellence in Teaching Award in 2020. In 2024, she received the Professor of the Year Award for LAWS Faculty.

Associate Dean Knolton began her legal career as a real estate attorney at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, Texas, representing commercial real estate clients in the acquisition, sale, ownership, and leasing of income-producing properties. She also served as a volunteer mediator for the Lubbock County Alternative Dispute Resource Center and as a volunteer for School on Wheels, where she provided tutoring and mentorship to homeless children.

A former member of the Texas Law Review, Associate Dean Knolton is co-author of the book Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School and Win or Go Home: A Guide to Negotiation Success in Competition and in Life. She has spoken at academic and professional forums on topics such as Integrating Generative AI into the Legal Writing Classroom, How to Build a Successful Negotiation Team, The Art of Negotiation: Techniques for Effective Advocacy, Incorporating Final Exams into the Legal Writing Curriculum, How to Succeed in Law School, Texas Community Property Law, A Lawyer's Role as an Advocate in the Legal System, The Deal, and Negotiation Tactics in Criminal Defense.