Michael J. Higdon

Higdon Michael
  • Director of Legal Writing and Associate Professor of Law

  • B.A., 1995, Erskine College
    M.A., 1997, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    J.D., 2001, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • Location: Room 385
  • Phone Number: 865-974-2393
  • Email: mhigdon3@utk.edu
  • Courses Taught: Family Law, Legal Process I and II, Sexuality, Gender, and the Law, and Constitutional Law
  • Additional Information: Curriculum Vitae (pdf), SSRN


Publications of Michael J. Higdon

Professor Michael J. Higdon joined the UT faculty in August 2009 after spending five years as a faculty member at the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Higdon practiced commercial and employment litigation with the firm of Schreck Brignone (now part of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck) in Las Vegas.

Professor Higdon teaches and writes in the areas of Constitutional Law; Family Law; Sexuality, Gender and the Law; and Legal Writing. His scholarship in this area has been published in several journals, including the Georgia Law Review, the U.C. Davis Law Review, the Wake Forest Law Review, and the Indiana Law Journal. Currently, he also serves as member of the national Board of Directors for the Legal Writing Institute.

Professor Higdon received the J.D. in 2001 from the University of Nevada, graduating first in his class and receiving the James E. Rogers Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. While in law school, Professor Higdon served as editor-in-chief of the Nevada Law Journal. After graduation, he clerked for Judge Procter Hug, Jr. on the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

He was named Director of Legal Writing in 2011 and was awarded tenure in 2012.


Biography of Michael J. Higdon


A Place in the Academy: Law Faculty Hiring and Socioeconomic Bias (forthcoming, St. John’s Law Review) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2007934

The Legal Reader: An Exposé (forthcoming,  New Mexico Law Review http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2019728

Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination and the Duty of Child Support 46  Ga. L. Rev.  407 (2012) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1761333

To Lynch a Child: Bullying and Gender Non-Conformity in our Nation’s Schools, 86 Ind.. L. J. 827 (2011) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1558135

Something Judicious This Way Comes . . . The Use of Foreshadowing as a Persuasive Device in Judicial Opinions, 44  U. Rich. L. Rev. 1213 (2010) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1454887

Oral Argument and Impression Management: Harnessing the Power of Nonverbal Persuasion for a Judicial Audience, 57  U. Kan. L. Rev. 631 (2009) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1270979

Queer Teens and Legislative Bullies:  The Invidious and Cruel Discrimination behind Heterosexist Statutory Rape Laws, 42 U.C. Davis L. Rev.195 (2008) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1097097

When Informal Adoption Meets Intestate Succession: The Cultural Myopia of the Equitable Adoption Doctrine, 43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 223 (2008) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1009981

Other Publications

Passive Voice: An Old Friend Revisited, DICTA, August 2011.

When the Case Gives you Lemons:  Incorporating Negative Authority into Persuasive Legal Writing, Tennessee Bar Journal, March 2010.

It’s a Small World:  Using the Classic Disney Ride to Teach Document Coherence, 17 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing 2 (Winter 2009).4

The Legal Reader, the Legal Writer and the All-Important Thesis Sentence, Nevada Lawyer, September 2007.

From Simon Cowell to Tim Gunn: What Reality Television Can Teach Us About How to Critique our Students' Work Effectively, 15 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing 3 (Summer 2007).

Using DVD Covers to Teach Weight of Authority, 15 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing1 (Fall 2006).

Teaching Students How to Receive an Assignment, 20 The Second Draft 1 (August 2005).

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