Patricia Grande Montana

Professor of Legal WritingDirector, Street Law Program
J.D. Georgetown University Law Center (cum laude)B.A. Wellesley College (magna cum laude)

Professor Montana has been teaching legal writing and other skills courses at St. John’s law school for over two decades and has written extensively on legal writing theory and pedagogy and professional skills instruction.  She is the author of the book Navigating Law School’s Waters: A Guide to Success, a practical guide on how to prepare for the first year of law school.  In addition to teaching Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II and Lawyering to first-year students, Professor Montana teaches advanced writing and skills courses, including Legal Research, Advanced Interviewing & Counseling, Drafting: Federal Civil Practice, Drafting: Contracts and Drafting: Transnational Civil Litigation. 

She is also the founder and Director of the current Street Law Program, in which law students teach a practical law course to high school students in Queens, New York.  While serving the Queens community, law students develop practical legal knowledge, professional responsibility, and important lawyering skills, such as the ability to organize complex legal ideas and communicate them effectively to an audience of non- lawyers.  In addition to these courses, Professor Montana has previously taught the Summer Clinical Externship Seminar, Introduction to the Law and Legal Profession, as well as Legal Skills in the Summer Institute Program.

Before joining the faculty, Professor Montana was a litigation attorney at the New York office of Latham & Watkins.  There, she practiced complex civil litigation, concentrating on intellectual property matters.  She also committed considerable time to pro bono work, including representing low-income battered women in custody, child support, and divorce proceedings.  Professor Montana was also a member of the firm’s Paralegal Committee, which hired, supervised, and trained paralegals.        

Professor Montana is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She is also a member of the New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

Presenter, Diving, Not CannonballingInto A Case, Legal Writing Institute's One-Day Workshop on Developing Life-Long Learners, St. Mary's University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas, December 13, 2019. 

Presenter, Live and Learn: Live Critiquing and Student Learning, Southeastern Regional Legal Writing Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, April 21, 2018.

Presenter, Teaching A Variety of Lawyering Skills Using A Single Transnational Civil Litigation Problem, Legal Writing Institute's Global Legal Writing Skills webinar on Teaching Global Skills to International and U.S. Law Students, May 1, 2017.  

Presenter, Bridging the Reading Gap in the Law School Classroom,  2017 Rocky Mountain Regional Legal Writing Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, March 2017.

Co-Presenter,  The Psychology of the Wrong Answer: Tapping into the Power of the "Aha!" Moment, First Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference, Hofstra Law School, New York, May 2010.

Co-Presenter, Getting it Right by Writing it Wrong:  Embracing Faulty Reasoning as a Teaching Tool, Ninth Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Tempe, Arizona, March 2009.

Panel Moderator, Co-Organizer, Co-Host, Practice Meets Pedagogy: Views from the Bench, Bar and Academy on Law School Graduates’ Research and Writing Skills, St. John’s University School of Law’s Legal Writing Conference, Jamaica, New York, December 2008.

Presenter, Correcting Impaired Vision: Ways to Help Students See the Weaknesses in Their Own Writing, Sixth Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Tucson, Arizona, March 2006. 

Integrating an Oral Presentation Assignment into a Drafting Contracts Course, 36:2 The Second Draft (November 2023)

The Cognitive Power of Analogies in the Legal Writing Classroom, 45 S. Illinois Univ. L. J. 311 (2021)

Getting it Right by Writing it Wrong: Embracing Faulty Reasoning as a Teaching Tool, 46 Ohio N. U. L. Rev. 369 (2020)

The Power of A Positive Tweet, 24 J. Legal Writing 77 (Spring 2020). 

Live and Learn: Live Critiquing and Student Learning, Perspective: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, (Spring 2019) 

Watch or Report? Livestream or Help? Good Samaritan Laws Revisited: The Need To Create A Duty To Report, 66 Clev. St. L. Rev. 533 (2018).

Bridging the Reading Gap in the Law School Classroom, 45 Cap. U. L. Rev. 433 (2017)

A Contemporary Model for Using Teaching Assistants in Legal Writing Programs, 42 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 185 (2016)

Legal Education Reform: Simulating Complex Litigation Practice in an Advanced Legal Writing Course, Zeitschrift fur Didaktik der Rechtswissenschaft (peer-edited German law journal published by Nomos), Vol. 1, Issue 4, pp. 318-337 (2015)


Peer Review Across the Curriculum, 91 Or. L. Rev. 783 (2013).

Meeting Students' Demand for Models of Good Legal Writing,Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing (Winter/Spring 2010).

Lessons from the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports: A Look at the Street Law Program as a Model for Teaching Professional Skills, 11.2 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clinical L. 97 (2009).

The Case for Limiting the Use of Technology to Teach, 23 The Second Draft 2 (Spring 2009)

Explaining the 'Big Picture': Why Students Should Know Why They Read Cases in Law School, Newsletter for the AALS Section on Teaching Methods (Winter 2008).

Better Revision: Encouraging Students to See Through the Eyes of the Legal Reader, 14 J. Legal Writing 291 (Spring 2008).

Sending the Message to Students That Revising Means Seeing Their Work Through New Eyes, 22(1) The Second Draft 6 (Fall 2007).

Showing Students That Outlining is Not a Foreign Activity, The Law Teacher (Fall 2007).

Persuasion in a Familiar Activity: The Parallels Between Resume Writing and Brief Writing, 16(2) Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing.