Fiona McKenna

Fiona McKenna

Associate Clinical Professor of Law

Professor McKenna teaches Professional Responsibility and Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing at Santa Clara Law. Prior to joining Santa Clara, Fiona taught Appellate Advocacy, Legal Writing and Research, and Professional Responsibility and directed the legal writing program at Golden Gate University School of Law.  

Fiona is an active member of the legal writing community, currently serving as co-chair of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Biennial Program Committee.  She previously served as co-chair of ALWD’s Leadership and Development Committee.  Fiona has presented at several legal writing conferences across the country and served on the Editorial Board of The Second Draft. 

Prior to entering academia, Fiona practiced as a litigator, representing clients in business disputes and employment matters. Her pro bono work included representing foster parents in juvenile dependency proceedings.

As a first-generation college and law student, Fiona particularly enjoys supporting and mentoring first-generation students. 

Fiona graduated from American University, Washington College of Law, where she served as a Marshall Brennan Constitutional Law Fellow and Notes and Comments Editor for the International Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!).

  • Writing Assignment to Help Prepare Students for the Realities of Practice, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, University of California, Irvine, September 2018
  • Presenter, Awakening the Force: The Development of Professional Identity Through Self-Assessment and Self-Reflection in the First-Year Classroom, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, August 2016
  • Presenter, Preparing Graduates for an Evolving Professional World: Integrating Employer Expectations into LWR, The Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, California Western School of Law, December 2014
  • Co-Presenter, Motivating with What Matters Most to Students: Integrating Employment and Legal Writing from Day One, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, Stanford University Law School, September 2014


J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 2005

B.A., in Sociology, with high honors, University of California, Berkeley, 1999

Affiliations and Honors

Association of Legal Writing Directors (“ALWD”)

Co-Chair, Biennial Conference Program Committee, 2022-2023

Member, Leadership and Development Committee, 2019-present

Co-Chair, Leadership and Development Committee, 2020-2021

Chair, ALWD Leadership Academy for Innovative Program Design, 2019-2020

ALWD Outstanding Service Award recipient, 2020

Editorial Board, The Second Draft, 2017-2020

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