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Barry, Patrick

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law

915 LR

Patrick Barry's teaching and research focus on creating a new vocabulary to talk about advocacy. He is the author of the forthcoming books Good with Words: Writing and Editing and The Syntax of Sports. Both are based on popular courses he created at Michigan Law. Material from each is included in a playlist of videos the Law School has posted online here and here.

Professor Barry also has written several academic articles on persuasion and frequently collaborates on cases with the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic and the Unemployment Insurance Clinic. Since joining the faculty in 2016, he has developed a number of new programs at the Law School, including Faculty Briefs, Edit Hour, Creative Counsel, and a communications workshop for the Problem Solving Initiative. In addition, he has launched two digital libraries premised on the idea that "to write good sentences, you need to read good sentences." The first is called Good Sentences. The second is called The Syntax of Sports.

The sports library stems from Professor Barry's years playing soccer—first as an All-American at the University of Chicago, where he won the Amos Alonzo Stagg Medal and graduated with honors, and next for a few years with various teams in Scotland, New York, and Massachusetts. He eventually returned to the University of Chicago for law school, earning a spot on the University of Chicago Law Review and winning both the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize in Appellate Advocacy and the Ann Barber Watson Award for Outstanding Service. In 2012, he became the first law student to be awarded the university's Wayne Booth Prize in Teaching Excellence.

After law school, Professor Barry completed a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. During that time, he worked with other Michigan faculty to create Clinnect, a global network of legal clinics devoted to combatting human trafficking. He then did a dual clerkship in Las Vegas for The Hon. Jennifer A. Dorsey and The Hon. Andrew P. Gordon and later became the director of Pro Se Camp, a program that helps people who can't afford a lawyer navigate the legal system. A member of the California Bar, he now regularly works with law firms, state governments, and nonprofit organizations to improve their written and spoken advocacy.

Recent Publications

The Syntax of Sports. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Forthcoming, 2019.

"Uselessly Accurate." Scribes J. Legal Writing (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

"The Rule of Three." Legal Comm. & Rhetoric (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

"The Infinite Power of Grammar." J. Legal Educ. 67, no. 3 (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

​"Sites of Storytelling: Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings." Ind. L. Rev. Online Supplement (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

​"Show and Tell." Persp.: Teaching Legal Res. & Writing 23 (Forthcoming, Fall 2018)
Full Text: SSRN

​"Shot Selection." J. App. Prac. & Proc. 19, no. 2 (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

Good with Words: Writing and Editing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Forthcoming.

​"Good Sentences." Mich. B.J. (Forthcoming).
Full Text: SSRN

"Faculty Briefs." Persp.: Teaching Legal Res. & Writing 27 (Forthcoming, Spring 2019).
Full Text: SSRN

​"Alliteration, Restraint, and a Mind at Work." Persp.: Teaching Legal Res. & Writing (Forthcoming, Fall 2018).
Full Text: SSRN

"Paragraphing." Mich. B.J. 97, no. 8 (2018): 52-4.
Full Text: Lexis | Westlaw | SSRN | WWW

"Editing and Empathy." Mich. B.J. 97, no. 5 (2018): 42-3.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich Users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | SSRN | WWW

"The Words Under the Words." Stan. L. Rev. Online 70 (August 2017): 70-81.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich Users) | HEIN | Westlaw | SSRN | WWW

"Confirmation Bias." Geo. L.J. Online 106, no. 1 (2017): 25-32.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich Users) | HEIN | Westlaw | SSRN | WWW


Presented "Simpler Statutes" at the Legislative Service Bureau, Lansing, Michigan, July 2018.

Presented "Mapping: Words and Worlds" at Morrison Foerster LLP, Los Angeles, June 2018.

Presented "Thresholds" at the Ozone House youth shelter, Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 2018.

Presented "Shot Selection" at the UCLA School of Law, April 2018.

Served as a judge for the Michigan Business Challenge presented by the Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Michigan, February 2018.

Presented (via Skype) "Faculty Briefs" at the UCLA School of Law, February 2018.

Presented "Entrepreneurs of Ideas" at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, November 2017.

Presented "Better Writer
-->Better Lawyer" at the University of Chicago Law School, October 2017.

Presented "Good with Words," a one-day writing workshop at Morrison Foerster LLP, Los Angeles, June 2017.

Presented "The Words Under the Words" at the Family Defense Leadership Workshop, Ann Arbor, June 2017.

Presented "Editing and Advocacy" at a training for Legal Services of South Central Michigan and Farmworker Legal Services, Jackson, Michigan, May 2017.

Panelist at "Human Trafficking: A Rochester Problem Too," St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, January 2017.