Professor Evans teaches courses that require students to think and act like lawyers. Students engage in simulations and exercises that are designed to achieve three goals:
-First, students develop foundational lawyering skills, such as information gathering, analysis, writing, and advocacy. -Second, students develop techniques that will enable them to continue refining their skills long after they’ve graduated, since lawyering is an art to which law school can provide only an introduction. -Finally, because lawyering skills cannot be mastered without an understanding of what it means to be a lawyer, students begin to develop a sense of professional identity.
"I encourage students to bring a “growth mindset” to their work, and to apply their existing expertise in learning and self-development -- drawn from their previous experience as students -- to the new task of becoming a lawyer."
Risa Evans Associate Professor of Legal Skills
While in law school, Professor Evans pursued her interest in civil liberties by clerking at the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union in Hartford, CT, and the Federal Public Defender in Albuquerque, NM. At the Federal Defender, Professor Evans worked on a suppression motion that eventually led to a client’s freedom.
Her experiences led her to seek employment as a public defender after law school. After several years as a trial attorney with the New Hampshire Public Defender -- where she represented people charged with felonies, misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency -- Professor Evans moved to the Appellate Defender Office. There, she represented criminal defendants in appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She wrote briefs and orally argued many cases, obtaining reversals for a number of clients.
Professor Evans left the Appellate Defender in 2002 to home school her daughter. Since then, she has done freelance legal research and writing, in addition to teaching at the Law School--first as an adjunct, and full-time since 2011.