JoAnne Sweeny

Associate Professor of Law


JoAnne Sweeny teaches Lawyering Skills and Writing For Practice. Prior to coming to Louisville, she was a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where she taught legal research and writing as well as a seminar in comparative constitutional law.

After graduating Order of the Coif from the University of Southern California Law School, she clerked for the Honorable Ferdinand F. Fernandez at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Professor Sweeny then practiced as an employment litigator at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP before returning to academia. In 2009, she completed her PhD in law at Queen Mary, University of London. While studying at Queen Mary, Professor Sweeny taught British constitutional law and legal writing to first year law students.

Professor Sweeny's current scholarly interests include comparative constitutional law, freedom of expression, law and gender, and legal history. Some of Professor Sweeny's most recent research has focused the present and historical criminalization of consensual sex, such as the prosecution of teenagers under child pornography laws because they have "sexted" each other nude or erotic photos of themselves. Her comparative work focuses on the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Lawyering Skills I and II

Writing for Practice

Indefinite Detention and Antiterrorism Laws: Balancing Security and Human Rights, 34 Pace L. Rev. 1190 (2014).

Undead Statutes: The Evolution, Persistence and Continuing Harm of Adultery and Fornication Criminal Laws, 46 Loyola U. Chi. L.J. 127 (2014).

Sexting and Freedom of Expression: A Comparative Approach, 102 Ky. L.J. 103 (2013).

How the UK Human Rights Act Created a More Dangerous Branch, 21 Mich. St. Int'l L. Rev. 301 (2013).

Do Sexting Prosecutions Violate Teenagers' Constitutional Rights? 43 San Diego L. Rev. 951 (2011).

The United Kingdom's Human Rights Act: Using its Past to Predict its Future, 12 Loy. J. Pub. Int. L. 39 (2010).

The FLSA in the Virtual Office: How to Employers Can Ensure They Have Fully Compensated Their Non-exempt Employees in the Age of the Blackberry, (with Jessica Linehan) XXVII Corporate Counsel R. 2 (2008).

Judicial Reasoning under the UK Human Rights Act, (publication review) [2008] Public Law 406.

The Price of Frivolity: A Longitudinal Study of California Appellate Sanctions, (with Benjamin Shatz) 28 Whittier L.R. 1087 (2007).

Filling in the Gaps: The Scope of Administrative Agencies' Power to Enact Regulations, 27 Whittier L. R. 621 (2006).

The Impact of Individualism and Collectivism on Shoplifting Attitudes and Behavior, 2 Univ. of Cal., Irvine Research J. 8 (1999).

“The Human Rights Act as a “Villains’ Charter: A Discourse Analysis of Media Portrayals of the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act,” Junior Scholars Virtual Colloquium (July 22, 2015).

“Measuring the Effectiveness of the Joint Committe on Human Rights,” Regional Works-in-Progress Workshop (July 14, 2015).

“Our Photos, Ourselves: Who “Owns” a Woman’s Body When She is Seen by the Public?” AALS Mid-year Meeting: Workshop on Next Generation Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law (June 25, 2015).

“The Legal Writer as Detective: Explaining Legal Analysis Through Sherlock Holmes’s Denouement,” Association of Legal Writing Professors Biennial Conference (June 5, 2015).

“The Human Rights Act 1998: How a British Media Narrative Created a Villains’ Charter,” Law and Society Association Annual Meeting (May 29, 2015).

“The Changing Effectiveness of the Joint Committee on Human Rights,” Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting (April 19, 2015).

“The Human Rights Act and Public Perception,” Junior Scholars Virtual Colloquium (August 8, 2014).

“Using International Law to Illustrate Core Concepts in Legal Writing and Research,” Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference (June 30, 2014).

“The Unexpected Impact of Criminal Fornication Laws in the Modern Age,” Law and Society Association Annual Meeting (May 30, 2014).

“The Human Rights Act 1998 – A Villains’ Charter?” Developing Ideas Conference (May 21, 2014).

“Anti-Terrorism and Indefinite Detention in the US and UK,” Loyola Constitutional Law Colloquium (Nov. 1, 2013).

“Anti-Terrorism and Indefinite Detention in the US and UK,” Junior Scholars Virtual Colloquium (July 17, 2013).

“Balancing Collaboration and Independence” (with Mary Algero), Association of Legal Writing Professors Biennial Conference (June 27, 2013).

“Using International Law to Explain Basic Legal Concepts,” Law and Education in the Americas: A Comparative Perspective (June 22, 2013).

“The State’s Historical Interest in Adultery,” Emerging Family Law Scholars (June 5, 2013).

“The History and Impact of Adultery and Fornication Criminal Statutes,” Developing Ideas Conference (May 10, 2013).

“Sexting and Freedom of Expression in the US and UK,” Younger Comparativists Conference (April 19, 2013).

"The Unexpected Impact of Criminal Fornication Laws in the Modern Age," Central States Law Schools Association Annual Scholarship Conference (October 20, 2012).

"Measuring the Effectiveness of the United Kingdom's Joint Committee on Human Rights," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting (August 3, 2012).

"Fun with(out) BIG Words," Empire States Legal Writing Conference (June 23, 2012).

"Technology Matters: Child Pornography, Sexting and Freedom of Expression in the United States and United Kingdom," First Amendment Discussion Forum (June 13-14, 2012).

"Editing for an Audience," Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop in Columbus, Ohio (December 2, 2011).

"Do Sexting Prosecutions Violate Teenagers'Constitutional Rights?" Emerging Legal Scholarship: The Teaching Fellows Inaugural Conference (March 25, 2011).

"The Blueprint of a Successful Human Rights Movement," Emerging Legal Scholarship: The Westerfield Fellows Inaugural Workshops (March 23, 2010).

"The Creation of the Human Rights Act 1998: How ‘Rational Choices' are Affected by Culture," Annual Conference for the Association for Law, Culture and Humanities (April 4, 2009).

"The History of the Human Rights Act, 1998, "Queen Mary Department of Law PhD Workshop (March 20, 2009).

"Using Practice to Research Legal Academia," Spectators or Players? Examining the Role of Legal Academics in the Practice of Law (September 21, 2007)

Associate Editor, Journal of Law and Education

JALWD Associate Editor

Moot Court Faculty Coordinator

Legal Aid Apprentice Advisory Board Member

Peer Editor for Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute

Member of Dean’s Advisory Council

Greenebaum Fellowship Committee Member

Faculty advisor for Kentucky Intrastate Mock Trial team

Faculty advisor for Student Bar Foundation

Assistant Editor for Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute

SEALS New Scholars Committee member