Director & Lecturer
Kamela Bridges directs the David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy. She teaches legal writing, appellate advocacy, and litigation writing. Before joining the faculty in 2000, Ms. Bridges was a partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP (now known as Locke Lord). Her practice focused on civil litigation and appellate law. Ms. Bridges co-authored Writing for Litigation, a text designed to help students and new lawyers learn to write documents typically used in civil litigation.
Ms. Mason teaches first-year legal writing. Her courses include Legal Analysis and Communication and Persuasive Writing and Advocacy.
Before joining the full-time faculty in 2016, Ms. Mason was a partner and later of counsel and director of professional development at Cooley LLP and taught advanced legal writing as an adjunct professor. Her practice focused on appellate law with a heavy emphasis on representing technology companies in privacy, securities, and intellectual-property litigation. She is especially proud of annually exceeding her law firm’s challenge to contribute at least 60 pro-bono hours and of receiving the firm’s Pro Bono Achievement Award. Her pro-bono work included serving as counsel for the Innocence Network in the courts of appeals and Supreme Court. Her team’s work contributed to the exoneration of George Souliotes 16 years after he was wrongfully convicted of arson based on faulty fire science. She encourages her students to embrace pro-bono work as a way to gain experience and personal satisfaction and to give back to the community.
Ms. Mason served as a briefing attorney for the Hon. Priscilla R. Owen on the Texas Supreme Court and clerked for the Hon. Fortunato P. Benavides on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Shannon Peris teaches legal writing and research. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from Cornell University and her law degree from Cornell Law School. After law school she began her commercial litigation practice in the New York office of Mayer Brown. She eventually relocated to Texas where she continued her practice and also began teaching as an adjunct professor. She joined the full-time faculty in 2018.
Sean Petrie started his legal career as judicial clerk (U.S. Dist. Judge Sam Sparks) and an IP litigation attorney (Wilson Sonsini; Susman Godfrey; and Conley Rose & Tayon). Then, in 2005, he was asked to teach as an adjunct at UT Law. He loved it, was fortunate enough to get a full-time position in 2007, and hasn't looked back.
Sean currently focuses on legal writing and research, teaching the first-year required courses.
Nelia Robbi teaches first-year legal writing and appellate advocacy. Prior to joining the faculty in 2017, Ms. Robbi was a civil litigation partner with McGinnis Lochridge, where she remains of counsel. Ms. Robbi has successfully tried cases in county, state, and federal court and has presented oral argument on appeal. Ms. Robbi is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Robbi worked in publishing in New York City before moving to Austin where she began volunteering with and then working for SafePlace (now SAFE), Austin’s resource for survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence. Ms. Robbi currently serves on the Board of Directors for SAFE. Additionally, Ms. Robbi is a member of the Lloyd Lochridge American Inn of Court.
Mr. Schiess teaches legal writing, legal drafting, and plain English and speaks frequently on those subjects. He has also written dozens of articles and four books on practical legal-writing skills. He graduated from Cornell Law School, practiced law for three years at the Texas firm of Baker Botts, and in 1992 joined the faculty at Texas. He blogs about legal writing at LEGIBLE.
Ms. Youngdale is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, where she was a Teaching Quizmaster. Prior to joining the faculty at the law school, she was Head of Student Services at Tarlton Law Library. Before coming to the law library, she was an assistant professor and reference librarian at Baylor Law School. She teaches Legal Research and Writing and TQ Seminar.