Macfarlane, Hether

Macfarlane, Hether

Professor of Lawyering Skills
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"Law school involves not just learning the substance of the law, it also involves learning the skills necessary to work with the law to serve the client. Knowing how to find the law, how to analyze ways to apply the law to facts, and how to write that analysis to achieve the client's goals are the foundation of all law practice, a foundation we provide all McGeorge students in our Global Lawyering Skills program." 

Professor Hether Macfarlane has taught skills of legal research and written analysis courses at McGeorge since 1995. She began her teaching career as an instructor in, and then director of, the legal writing program at Albany Law School. She currently teaches in both the 1L and 2L years of the required two-year Global Lawyering Skills course, which introduces students to the most common forms of written communication in litigation practice, as well as to concepts of mediation and out-of-court settlement of legal disputes.

Between her two periods of teaching, Professor Macfarlane was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Hunton & Williams, a national and international law firm based in Richmond, VA. Her practice involved environmental administrative law, representing primarily electric utilities in proceedings under the federal Clean Air Act. While in practice, she was able to apply and polish the skills she had taught previously and that she continues to teach at McGeorge.

For over 10 years, Professor Macfarlane has also provided international LLM students from civil law countries with an introduction to the structure and modes of communication and analysis of the practice of law in the United States. In the process, she has learned about civil law systems from her international students, and she has shared this knowledge with her American students in Global Lawyering Skills I and II.

Professor Macfarlane is a co-author of California Legal Research, a text designed for both students and practitioners. Currently moving into its third edition in August 2016, the text has been adopted at law schools throughout California, including Berkeley Law and University of California, Irvine School of Law.

Professor Macfarlane has served as a Faculty Coach for inter-school moot court competition teams, including teams that have participated in the Tang Moot Court Competition, the Niagara Moot Court Competition, the Wagner Labor Law Moot Court Competition, and the Traynor Moot Court Competition. Because of the hard work students on these teams have put into writing briefs and making oral arguments, several teams have won regional competitions and a number of students have returned to campus having been honored as the top oral advocate of the competition. In April 2016, the team she co-coached with a McGeorge alumna earned recognition for the Best Oral Argument, Best Brief, and Best Overall Team - a virtual sweep of the available awards.


AB, Connecticut College
MA, University of California, Berkeley
JD, Union University, Albany Law School

Curriculum Vitae
Research Focus

Representative Scholarship and Activities

Global Lawyering Skills, Contributing Author (West 2013).

Using Calibration Sessions to Create Reliable and Fair Assessment, The Second Draft (Legal Writing Institute, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA) Fall 2010, at 5 (with Stephanie Thompson).

Things Have Changed, and For the Better, The Second Draft, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring 2010).

Global Legal Skills Conference V Presentation, February 2010:  “Integrating International and Transnational Issues in the Legal Research and Writing Curriculum.”

Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference Presentation, July 2009: “Special Challenges for Directors of Adjunct, Part-time, and Hybrid Programs.”

Providing Feedback on Grammar and Punctuation Errors, The Second Draft, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Spring 2008).

Hether C. Macfarlane and Suzanne E. Rowe, California Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).

Global Legal Skills Conference III Presentation, February 2008: “Using Hypothetical Cases to Introduce Legal Analysis and Persuasive Writing to International Students.”

Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference Presentation, March 2007:  “Let Them Watch, Let Them Ask: Alternative Ways for Students to Get the Facts for a Writing Assignment.”