Faculty Profile: Samuel Wiseman

Monday, November 01, 2010

Assistant Professor Samuel Wiseman has long had an interest in the legal issues surrounding crime and punishment.

Wiseman, who joined The University of Tulsa College of Law faculty this fall, now has an opportunity to impart his enthusiasm and knowledge to TU students. He is teaching Constitutional Law II this semester, and will teach Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure: Police Practices in the spring.

“There are countless interesting questions once you start looking,” Wiseman said, “but what drew me to the field were the big questions. What are society’s rules? How should we deal with people accused of violating them? How should we punish the guilty?”

After earning a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, at Yale College in 2003, Wiseman earned his J.D. at Yale Law School in 2007. While in law school, he worked as a law clerk at the Texas Fair Defense Project, a non-profit organization working to improve access to counsel for indigent defendants.

After graduating, he served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Supreme Court of Texas and to Judge Fortunato P. Benavides of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Between 2009 and 2010, Wiseman served as a Fellow in the Texas Solicitor General’s Office, focusing on post-conviction litigation before the Fifth Circuit.

“Chief Justice Jefferson and Judge Benavides are both excellent judges and great people to work for, and I learned a lot from them,” Wiseman said. “Clerking taught me to see litigation from the court’s perspective – not just the briefs but also the contents of the record. And working for the Solicitor General’s Office gave me the chance to practice with an accomplished group of attorneys.”

In 2008, Fordham Urban Law Journal published Wiseman’s article, “Discrimination, Coercion, and the Bail Reform Act of 1984: The Loss of the Core Constitutional Protections of the Excessive Bail Clause.” Later this year, Case Western Reserve Law Review will publish “Innocence After Death,” which deals with post-conviction DNA testing.

Wiseman said he wants “to excel both as an educator and as a scholar. I’d like to be the kind of professor who students can tell really cares about both them and the material. I was lucky enough to have some of those professors like that, and their classes were the ones I learned the most in.”

The Austin, Texas, native has been pleased by his move to Tulsa, with its nearby opportunities for hiking and birding. And as a football and baseball fan, Wiseman is excited about the Golden Hurricane and the Drillers.

“I’ve really been enjoying Tulsa,” Wiseman said. “It seems to be a good size for a city – big enough to have the things only cities have, but not so big as to feel crowded. And I really appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received from the TU law school faculty, staff, and students. I’m delighted to be here. The people at TU were a big part of what impressed me, along with the institutional commitment to teaching and scholarship, and to making sure the school gets the recognition it deserves.”

Scott Been