Published December 14, 2020
The energy that Christine Bartholomew brings to the classroom at the School of Law comes from the heart. “I love the law,” she says, “and I try to share that passion with the students, to help them connect to the material. If you become engaged with the law as a tool for social change, as a way to help people, then all the coursework in law school becomes a way to further that drive and achieve those goals.”
That passion has won her the law school’s Outstanding Faculty Award four times. The award is voted on by the graduating class and presented at commencement. Now, her place at the head of the class is secured with her recent promotion from associate to full professor.
It’s not an easy time to be teaching, but Bartholomew was in the classroom this semester with an in-person evidence course and a hybrid course on civil procedure. Capacity in the live classrooms is limited, and students are socially distanced and required to wear masks. “It’s a challenge,” she acknowledges. “But I need to make that personal connection. … Those in-person classes give me a foundation for staying connected.”
Bartholomew, whose JD is from the University of California, Davis, teaches evidence, antitrust and civil procedure, her areas of scholarly interest. She draws on her experience in legal practice, having worked in the San Francisco Bay Area practicing in antitrust and consumer protection, including some major national cases involving complex litigation.
She has published widely in leading academic journals, including Duke Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review. She’s also a go-to for many reporters covering her field and has been quoted in such outlets as Slate, USA Today, Reuters, and Mother Jones.
Most recently, Bartholomew worked with SUNY Distinguished Professor James Gardner on the third edition of his widely used textbook, “Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy” (Carolina Academic Press). “I’ve used this book myself in teaching Research & Writing,” Bartholomew says. “It’s such a pragmatic approach to thinking about argument structures.”
The new revision expands the scope of the text with what Gardner calls “a fairly rich and vibrant online component that will enrich the book and also save teachers a lot of time.” That includes exercises that professors can assign, online self-evaluation tests for students and a substantial teacher’s manual to accompany the textbook.
“It was time to bring someone in for a fresh perspective,” Gardner says of “Legal Argument,” which was first published in 1993. “And Christine was absolutely terrific. She has brought an infusion of energy and new perspectives into a longstanding project.”
With the book complete, Bartholomew’s current project is a painstaking study of 1,400 judicial opinions from the federal district courts, looking at antitrust enforcement and what she sees as a gap in that enforcement. “There hasn’t been a lot of work done to analyze settlement transactions,” she says, “and there have been huge changes in how those cases unfold. I’m trying to get a sense of how this actual area of law is working on the ground — what is working and, even more importantly, what isn’t.”
Promotion to full professor is based on scholarship, teaching and service to the university. Bartholomew’s long list of service positions includes serving on the national advisory board for the law school’s Advocacy Institute, as director of law school journals, and as faculty adviser to the Buffalo Law Review.
On her work with the student journals, she says “it’s also a chance to mentor students, both in how to read submissions and write their own legal scholarship. These students are the next generation of legal thinkers, so I want to bring some of my experience to bare in preparing them for that awesome responsibility.”