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Associate Professor of the Practice
B.M.E., University of Colorado at Boulder
J.D., University of San Francisco
Ph.D., University of Denver
Debra teaches Lawyering Process and Advanced Legal Research, a course she created at the Sturm College of Law in 1998. Her teaching and research is focused on lawyering skills, the neuroscience of learning, and how technology can be used to enhance teaching. She received the William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award in 2001.
Debra has received a number of grants for her teaching and research. In April 2012, she was awarded a Legal Writing Institute-Association of Legal Writing Directors-LexisNexis 2012 Legal Writing Scholarship Grant. She was also awarded a grant for integrating a SmartBoard and Student Response Systems into her Legal Skills Courses from the Morgridge Family Foundation. She was a co-investigator on a $1.2 million dollar ITEST grant awarded by the National Science Foundation to study the role of interdisciplinary humane games in learning.
Prior to coming to DU, Debra worked for West Publishing Company teaching lawyers in Denver and Salt Lake City how to use Westlaw and she was a law clerk at Wendel, Rosen, Black, Dean & Levitan, in Oakland, California.
Debra consults with law firms and individual lawyers on lawyering skills. She is a member of the Rhone Brackett Inn of Court.
Debra Austin’s article was highlighted in Brain Cells Die from Law School Stress, Neuroscientists Say in CM Law Library Blog at http://cmlawlibraryblog.classcaster.net/2014/04/15/brain-cells-die-from-law-school-stress-neuroscientists-say/, April 15, 2014.
Debra Austin’s article was highlighted in Stress Kills Brain Cells at National Jurist at http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/usc-fast-tracks-law-students-stress-kills-brain-cells, June 30, 2014.
- Food for Thought: The Neuroscience of Nutrition to Fuel Cognitive Performance, (2016).
- Drink Like a Lawyer: the Neuroscience of Substance Use and its Impact on Cognitive Wellness, 15 Nev. L.J. 826 (2015).
- Got Stress? You May Be Harming Your Brain, The Coffee House 6, a Publication of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, Spring 2015.
- Foreword: Enlightenment, Apocalypse, and Other States of Mind , (e-book) (Colorado Bar Association (October 27, 2014).
- Killing Them Softly: Neuroscience Reveals How Brain Cells Die from Law School Stress and How Neural Self-Hacking Can Optimize Cognitive Performance, 59 LOY. L. REV. 791 (2013).