​​​​​​Teaching Appointments

University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

     Professor of the Practice, 2016-present
     Associate Professor of the Practice, 2008-2016
     Library Instruction Coordinator, 1997-2008

University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education

     Adjunct Professor, 2002-2011

Professional Experience

West Publishing Corporation, Denver, Colorado

     Westlaw Account Executive, 1992-1997
     CD-ROM Sales Specialist, 1990-1992

Wendel, Rosen, Black, Dean & Levitan, Oakland, California

     Law Clerk, Bankruptcy Department, 1989-1990
     Paralegal, Litigation Department, 1985-1989

North Arvada Junior High School, Arvada, Colorado

     Teacher of Vocal Music, Social Studies, and Language Arts, 1982-1985

Education

     University of Denver, Ph.D., 2004 (Education)
     University of San Francisco, J.D., 1989
     University of Colorado, Boulder, B.M.E., 1982 (Music Education)

Courses

     Lawyering Process I and II
     Advanced Legal Research and Writing
     Professionalism and Well-being Skills for the Effective Lawyer


Articles


Windmills of Your Mind: Understanding the Neurobiology of Emotion Wake Forest Law Review, forthcoming


Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students and Thriving Law Schools 77 Md. L. Rev. 649 (2018).


Mindfulness for Lawyers: Decrease your Stress and Improve your Performance, COLAP Wellness Corner, The Docket, the Denver Bar Association Magazine and Blog, August 1, 2017.

Food for Thought: The Neuroscience of Nutrition to Fuel Cognitive Performance 95 Or. L. Rev. 425 (2017). 


Emotion Regulation for Lawyers: A Mind is a Challenging Thing to Tame (with Rob Durr, Northwestern University), 16 Wyo. L. Rev. 387 (2016).

Got Stress? You may be Harming your Brain, The Coffee House 6, a Publication of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, Spring 2015.

Drink Like a Lawyer: The Neuroscience of Substance Use and its Impact on Cognitive Wellness, 15 NEV. L.J. 826 (2015).

Killing Them Softly: Neuroscience Reveals How Brain Cells Die from Law School Stress and How Neural Self-Hacking can Optimize Cognitive Performance, 59 LOY. L. REV. 791 (2013).

Educating the Lawyers of Tomorrow using E-Curriculum. Jurist Lessons from the Web. (2003).

Task Force Report


The Path to Lawyer Well-being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, American Bar Association National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being Report (contributing author), American Bar Association, August, 14, 2017.


Book Chapter


Positive Institutions: Organizations, Laws, and Policies, by Peter H. Huang, Anne M. Brafford, Debra S. Austin, and Martha Knudson, in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 3rd Edition, Edited by C.R. Snyder, Shane J. Lopez, Lisa M. Edwards, and Susana C. Marques

Book Forward

Forward: Law, Enlightenment, and Other States of Mind. E-Book.  Colorado Bar Association (2014).

Refereed Conference Publications

Using Greenfoot and Games to Teach Rising 9th and 10th Grade Novice Programmers”, to appear Proc. of ACM SIGRAPH SANDBOX 2008, Al-Bow, M., Austin, D., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008). August, 2008.

Guest Blog Posts


Substance Misuse in the Legal Profession at the Law School Wellness Project at Stanford Law School. March 11, 2017.

Dissertation

New Literacies: Are Colorado Teacher Education Programs Preparing Pre-service Teachers to use Technology in their Learning Environments? (2004).

Invited Presentations

​​Optimizing the Lawyer Brain: Improve Well-being and Enhance Performance, American Bar Association Career Development Series, Online Webinar, April 12, 2019.

Addressing Lawyer and Law Student Well-being, Colorado Supreme Court Lawyer Well-being Task Force, Colorado Supreme Court, Denver, CO, March 27, 2019.

Leveraging the Professional Brain, Women in Leadership Professional Development Presentation, TTEC, Engelwood, CO, February 27, 2019.

Optimizing the Lawyer Brain: Improve Well-being and Enhance Performance, Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar Association, Online Webinar, February 26, 2019.

The Neurobiology of Emotion and Strengthening the Mind, Wake Forest Law Review Cognitive Emotion and the Law Symposium, Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC, February 22, 2019.


Optimizing the Lawyer Brain: Improve Well-being and Enhance Performance, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Blockbuster Seminar, DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver, CO, January 24, 2019.


Optimizing the Lawyer Brain: Improve Well-being and Enhance Performance, Senior Women’s Corporate Counsel Conference, The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, Avon, CO, November 3, 2018.

Stress and Performance: Optimizing Cognitive Function and Effectiveness, DepoSpan Conference, Hilton City Center, Denver, CO, September 14, 2018.


Optimizing the Lawyer Brain: Improve Well-being and Enhance Ethical Performance, Criminal Law Symposium sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Law and the Federal Defenders Office for the Central District of Illinois, University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, IL, April 19, 2018. 
​​

Well-being and the Lawyer Brain, American Bar Association Health Law Section Council Committee on Health and Well-being.  December 12, 2017.


​Hacking your Brain: Empower your Learning and Optimize your Performance, Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICADE School of Law, Madrid, Spain, October 18, 2017.


Hacking the Law Student Brain, Legal Writing I Course, Seattle University School of Law. August 25, 2017.


Mindfulness and Lawyering: Working on Your Inner Game, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association Conference via Skype. June 23, 2017.

Job Performance: Optimize Cognitive Function and Performance, National Association of Appellate Court Attorneys Conference. Denver, CO. June 13, 2017.


Developing Leaders with Positive Legal Education, Positive Lawyering, Mindfulness, and Humane Games Conference, University of Colorado School of Law. June 2, 2017.


Hacking the Law Student Brain, Sustaining Practices for the Legal Profession Course, University of Dayton School of Law, via Skype. May 15, 2017.


Mindfulness and Lawyering: Working on your Inner Game, Rhone Brackett Inn of Court.  Denver, CO. February 16, 2017.

Optimize Cognitive Fitness: The Connection Between Lawyer Wellbeing and Performance.  Keynote presentation to the American Bankruptcy Institute 22nd Annual Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference.  Denver, CO. January 26, 2017.    


Maximize Competence: Enhancing the Attorney Mind and Brain.  Presentation to the Ben S. Wendelken Inn of Court. Colorado Springs, CO. October 20, 2016. 


The Intersection of Wellbeing and Performance: Using Neuroscience Research to Optimize Law Student Personal and Professional Development. Presentation at the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism Fall Workshop. Mercer University School of Law, Macon, GA. October 9, 2016. 


Job Performance: Steps for Optimizing Cognitive Performance & Effectiveness.  Presentation to the Tenth Circuit Bench & Bar Conference.  Colorado Springs, CO. September 3, 2016.


Judicial Wellness.  Presentation to the 2016 Kansas Judicial Conference.  Wichita, KS. June 9, 2016. 


Hacking the Law Student Brain. Presentation to Legal Ethics and Professionalism: Business Law Issues and Law & Economics classes. University of Colorado School of Law. Boulder, CO. March 9, 2016.

Brain Power: the Neuroscience of Cognition, Stress, Self-medication, and Brain Health. Presentation at the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association Convention. Cody, WY. (2015).

The Law Student Brain: Cognition, Stress, Self-medication, and Brain Health. Presentation to Legal Ethics and Professionalism: Business Law Issues and Law & Economics classes. University of Colorado School of Law. Boulder, CO. (2015).

Cognitive Wellness: The Impact of Stress on the Brain, Ways to Mitigate it, and Development of Individual Cognitive Wellness Plans. Presentation to the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions Annual Conference, Denver, CO. (2014).

Judicial Job Performance: Steps for Maximizing Cognitive Function & Effectiveness. Presentation to the Kansas Judicial Conference. Topeka, KS. (2014).

The Impact of Military Stress on the Learning Environment. Presentation to faculty and cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs, CO. (2013).

Use Neural Self-hacking to Develop a Plan for Cognitive Wellness. Presentation for the Rhone Brackett Inn of Court. Denver, CO. (2013).

Self-directed Neuroplasticity: The Neuroscience of Cognitive Wellness. Presentation for the Kansas Judicial Center. Topeka, KS. (2013).

Neural Self-hacking: The Neuroscience of Cognition and Brain Health. Presentation at the Implications of Tiger Parenting for Legal Education Conference. Boulder, CO. (2013).

Persuasive Writing Techniques. Presentation for the Colorado Association of County Attorneys. Keystone, CO. (2011).

Pedagogy of Innovation. Panelist on Pedagogy of Innovation prior to Bridges to the Future Speaker Stephen Johnson. Morgridge College of Eduction. Denver, CO. with Scott Leutenegger. (2009).

Education Policy and its Impact on Innovation in Pedagogy. Panelist on Law and Public Education Forum. Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO. (2008).

21st Century Pedagogy: Innovate in your Practice. Keynote Speech to District Faculty to open 2007-2008 school year. Turner School District. Beloit, WI. (2007).

Connecting with Digital Kids. Presentation at Brain Basics Convention 2007, Denver, CO. (2007).

Internet to Enhance Curriculum Development and Delivery of K-12 Art Education. Presentation to Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado in Summit County, Frisco, CO. (2005).

The Lawyer's Approach to Legal Research. Presentation to Loislaw National Sales Staff, Loislaw 2003 National Sales Meeting, Dallas, TX. (2003).

Legal Research and the Integration of Internet Resources. Presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures at their Legal Services Annual Professional Development Meeting, Denver, CO. (2003).

Legal Research Primer. Presentation to Loislaw Regional Sales Staff, 2002 Loislaw Western Regional Meeting, Dallas, TX. (2002).

Conference Presentations


Legal Education Reimagined: Applying Neuroscience and Positive Psychology Research to Transform Legal Education and Develop Socially-Responsible Leaders, as part of the panel on The Science of Transformative Legal Education with Victor Quintanilla, Swethaa Ballakrishen, and Jennifer Robbennolt, Law & Society, Washington D.C., June 1, 2019.


Key Strategies for Implementing Mindfulness Programs and Measuring Impact, with Leslie Wallis, JD, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins & Michelle Wimes, JD, Chief Diversity & Professional Development Officer, Ogletree Deakins, National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Annual Education Conference, San Diego, CA, April 10, 2019.


Teaching Professionalism and Well-being Skills for the Effective Lawyer, Western Legal Writing Regional Conference, University of California, Irvine School of Law, Irvine, CA, September 29, 2018.


New Year, New Goal for Faculty and Students: Zealously Guard Your Wellbeing for Peak Performance, Legal Writing Institute, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI, July 12, 2018.


Could Improving Lawyer Wellbeing Promote Social Progress?, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Denver, Denver, CO, March, 23, 2018.

Three Tips to Enhance Mental Strength: Mindfulness, Meditation & Gratitude, ALWD Innovative Teaching Workshop, University of Denver, Denver, CO, March 23, 2018.

Applying Positive Psychology and Strengths-Oriented Approaches in Teaching Panel, with Heidi K. Brown, Brooklyn Law School, R. Lisle Baker, Suffolk University Law School, and James McGrath, Texas A & M University School of Law, 2018 American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, January 6, 2018. 

How the Lawyer Wellbeing Crisis Thwarts Social Progress, 7th International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society, University of Denver, Denver, CO, October 6, 2017.


Connecting Law Student Wellbeing to Enhanced Performance, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, Seattle University School of Law, August 26, 2017.


Developing the Next Generation of Policy-Makers, Business Leaders, and Social Change Agents with Positive Legal Education, Empire Legal Writing Conference, New York Law School, New York, NY. May 19, 2017.


Blurred Lines and Policy of Truth: Transforming Lawyer Leadership Education, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Phoenix, AZ. March 10, 2017. 


Teaching (Law) Students to Optimize Cognition via Neuroscience and Positive Psychology, with Peter Huang, CU Law, International Positive Education Network’s Festival of Positive Education, Dallas, TX. June 18, 2016.


Craving Comfort Food and Cocktails? The Neuroscience of Nutrition for Optimal Brain Health and Agile Aging, Legal Writing Institute Conference, Portland, OR. June 12, 2016.


Reinvigorate your Brain with Neuroscience-inspired Eating.  Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. March 19, 2016.

Brain-boosting Nutrition.  Southeastern Legal Writing Conference, University of Miami, Miami, FL. January 22, 2016.

Panelist, Legal Writing Professors as Scholars (with David Thomson and Ken Chestek), at Taking It to the Next Level: Your Course, Your Program, Your Career, Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO. (2015).

Zen and the Artistry of the Emotionally Regulated Advocate, Psychology of Persuasion Conference, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, with Rob Durr, PhD, Northwestern University School of Law. (2015).

Don’t Forget the Brain: Using Neuroscience Developments to Humanize Legal Education. Presentation to the Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference. University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Memphis, TN. (2015).

Comfort Food and Cocktails: Understanding the Power of Substances on our Brain. Presentation to the University of Denver Women's Conference. University of Denver. Denver, CO. (2015).

Wellness for 1Ls: The Neuroscience of Happy Hour & Alternatives to Self-medication. Presentation to the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference. University of New Mexico School of Law. Albuquerque, NM. (2015).

The Neuroscience of Optimizing Lawyer Cognitive Fitness. Presentation to the Mountain West Clinical Conference. University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO. (2014).

This is your Brain on Stress: Help your Students Improve Resilience & Maximize Cognition. Presentation to the Legal Writing Institute, Philadelphia, PA. with Corie Rosen Felder. (2014).

Neural Self-hacking and the Neuroscience of Cognitive Wellness. Presentation to the Psychology and Lawyering: Coalescing the Field Conference, University of Nevada Las Vegas. Las Vegas, NV. (2014).

Enhance your Cognitive & Leadership Superpowers with Neural Self-hacking. Presentation to the University of Denver Women's Conference. University of Denver. Denver, CO. (2014).

Stress and Cognition: The Neuroscience behind Stress, Memory & Learning. Presentation to Central States Legal Writing Conference. University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS. (2013).

Stress and Cognition: The Neuroscience behind Stress, Memory & Thinking. Presentation to Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Colorado. Boulder, CO. (2013).

Neurobiology, the Hidden Curriculum in Legal Education, and Implications for Enhancing Practical Skill & Professional Identity Development Pedagogy. Poster Presentation to Legal Writing Institute Conference, Palm Desert, CA. (2012).

Epistemic Learning Environments: Using Game Creation to Teach Art, Design, Computer Science, and Innovative Thinking. Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Charleston, SC. with Scott Leutenegger.  (2009).

Motivating Young Women in Game Development via the Pixels, Programming, Play and Pedagogy Project. Presentation to 2008 Women in Games Conference, Warwick England. with Al-Bow, M., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008).

Swingin’ To The White House, Political Battle, and 270 To Win: Three Presidential Election Games Created by High School Teachers who were 2008 Teacher Game Institute (P4games.org) participants. Presentation to ACM SIGGRAPH SANDBOX 2008, Los Angeles, CA. with Al-Bow, M., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008).

Technology Curriculum for Colorado's Pre-service Teachers. Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Phoenix, AZ. (2005).

New Literacies: Are Colorado Teacher Education Programs Preparing Pre-service Teachers to use Technology in their Learning Environments? Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Atlanta, GA. (2004).

Cyber-advanced Legal Research: Educating the Lawyers of Tomorrow. Presentation to American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA. (2003).

Using Technology to Connect with our Students. Poster session given at American Association for Higher Education National Conference, Chicago, IL. (2002).

Researching in Colorado Statutes - An Introduction for the Non-legal Librarian. Presentation to Southwestern Association of Law Librarians and Colorado Association for Law Librarians Joint Conference, Denver, CO. (1999).

Basic Legal Research. Presentation to Colorado Association for Law Librarians Legal Institute, Denver, CO. (1998).

Guest Lectures and Presentations

Boost your Brain Power: How to Enhance Cognitive Fitness. Presentation for Student Wellness Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO. (2013).

Mentoring. McDermott Pupilage Presentation to the Rhone Brackett Inn of Court. with Burke, C., Fitzsimmons, R., and Kutcher, H. Denver, CO. (2010).

Online Legal Research Resources. Public Interest Law Group lunch seminar, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2009).

Interdisciplinary Game Creation in Epistemic Learning Environments. Department of Mass Communications & Journalism Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2009).

Legal Research for the Clinics. Presentation to Environmental Law Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO. (2008).

Legal Research for the Clinics. Presentation to Civil Rights Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO. (2007).

Legal Research for the Clinics. Presentation to Civil Litigation Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO. (2007).

Using Electronic Resources to Conduct a Literature Review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2007).

Conducting Basic Legal Research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2006).

Internet to Enhance Curriculum Development and Delivery of K-12 Art Education. Presentation to Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2006).

Using Electronic Resources to Conduct a Literature Review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2006).

Introduction to Digital Noesis and Paul Levinson. Department of Mass Communications & Journalism Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2005).

Conducting Basic Legal Research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2005).

Conducting Basic Legal Research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2004).

Arts in Education Resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2004).

Using Electronic Resources to Conduct a Literature Review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2004).

Arts in Education Resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2003).

Using Electronic Resources to Conduct a Literature Review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2003).

Arts in Education Resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2002).

Using Electronic Resources to Conduct a Literature Review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2002).

Curriculum Resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. (2001).

Research Project

Pixels, Programming, Play & Pedagogy: P4Games - Humane Game Development for students and teachers, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Awards


University of Denver Distinguished Teaching Award.  Recipient of the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award for 2018-19.  University of Denver, June 10, 2019.

Faculty Career Champion, nominated by student Christine Kuglin, Career & Professional Development, University of Denver, September 14, 2018.


Top 10% of Authors on SSRN by all-time downloads every month since August of 2017.  SSRN is a worldwide collaborative devoted to the rapid dissemination of research.  Lawyers, judges, law faculty, and law students download my scholarship to help them achieve personal well-being, and to consider ways in which legal education could innovate to improve the well-being of individuals and legal organizations.


Selected as a Fellow at the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism Fall Workshop, National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP), October 6, 2016.

William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award. University of Denver, May, 2001.

Grants

Hughes-Ruud Research and Development Fund grant to attend 2014 Neuroscience Boot Camp at the University of Pennsylvania. $3,000. May, 2014.

Legal Writing Institute-Association of Legal Writing Directors-LexisNexis 2012 Legal Writing Scholarship Grant. Research project working title: Carnegie, Hidden Curriculum, and Culture Clash: What Neuroscience can Teach us about the Impact of Stress on Learning. $5,000. April, 2012.

Morgridge Family Foundation. SmartBoard and Student Response Systems for Integration in Legal Skills Courses. $5,883. August, 2009.

National Science Foundation: ITEST Program. Pixels, Programming, Play and Pedagogy. $1.2 million. September, 2006. (with S. Leutenegger - PI, R. Fajardo, and A. Andrews).

Dorr Foundation. DU Game Camp Curriculum Support. $15,000. June, 2006. (with S. Leutenegger and R. Fajardo).

Center for Teaching and Learning. University of Denver. Preparing Colorado's Teachers for Technological Literacy. $17,266. January, 2004. (with B. Uhrmacher).

Community Service

Colorado Greyhound Adoption

Organization Memberships

AALS Balance in Legal Education Section - Executive Board Member as of Jan 2014

Legal Writing Institute

Rhone Brackett Inn of Court

curriculum vitae

Debra Austin, JD, PhD

professor of the practice of law
university of Denver Sturm College of LaW
FACULTY PAGE

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