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Andrea Seielstad

Professor of Law, University of Dayton

Professor Seielstad teaches clinical and doctrinal courses. In both kinds of courses, she integrates problem-solving exercises and applied lawyering skills, typically within the context of representing real clients. Through experiential learning opportunities, Professor Seielstad seeks to bring to life the contemporary relevance of theoretical concepts relevant to the courses she teachers as well as to allow students to develop other fundamental lawyering skills.

She engages students enrolled in clinical courses in developing an array of lawyering skills essential to assisting clients within low-income communities to respond effectively to legal proceedings they face and solve problems affecting themselves, their families and/or their communities. Wherever possible she engages students in impact litigation and in other forms of advocacy aimed at addressing systemic problems and injustices facing groups of marginalized people. “Representing individual clients who would not otherwise be able to have legal assistance is rewarding and important work, to be sure,” she says. “Helping figure out creative solutions to widespread problems affecting whole communities or groups of people is especially imperative, given the great disparities that exist in most of our communities and the relatively few lawyers focused on making community and social change. If law students aren’t exposed to both the very real inequalities that exist in society as well as effective use of tools like litigation for challenging the status quo, how will our profession ever recognize our responsibility to ensure that our legal systems are fair to all and provide equal access to justice?”

In the Dayton area, Professor Seielstad has worked with students in promoting change in the areas of housing and homelessness, juvenile law and the conditions of confinement in local jails.

Professor Seielstad's scholarly interests derive from ongoing reflections and experience as a practitioner-of-law with teaching and research interests. She has published in the Clinical Law Review a piece on the phenomenon of unwritten rules in local legal culture as well as an article setting forth a model of teaching problem solving in clinical legal education through collaborative community building activities with grassroots organizations. An article describing potential methods of using international norms to promote legal change within areas of U.S. domestic law traditionally governed by state and local law is forthcoming. Another aspect of her scholarship focuses on issues relevant to indigenous sovereignty and tribal court jurisdiction and jurisprudence. She published in the Tulsa Law Review a comprehensive and multifaceted analysis of the origins and evolution of the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity. She presents regularly at national and international conferences on topics relevant to clinical legal education, tribal justice systems, community lawyering, and social justice. She has also published a variety of amicus and appellate briefs before the Supreme Court, federal court and tribal court on the issue of individual rights and tribal sovereignty under the Indian Civil Rights Act.

Prior to teaching, Professor Seielstad practiced law as a staff attorney for DNA-People's Legal Services, Inc. in Crownpoint, New Mexico, representing members of the Navajo Nation before the Courts of the Navajo Nation, federal and state court, and administrative tribunals. She has taught also at the law schools of the Universities of New Mexico and Idaho, representing clients as a clinical teacher before the Courts of the Nez Perce Tribe. She is licensed to practice law in the Navajo Nation, New Mexico and Ohio. While in Dayton, she has been involved in a number of community-based professional activities, including the board of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton, the Volunteer Law Project, a regional task force on hate crimes, community mediation and problem-solving with inner-city communities, and The Other Place, an organization providing services and advocacy initiatives on behalf of the homeless


  • –present
    Professor of Law, University of Dayton