Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Debra Lyn Bassett

Debra Lyn Bassett

Justice Marshall F. McComb Professor of Law

B.A., Psychology, University of Vermont; M.S., Counseling, San Diego State University; J.D., University of California, Davis; Order of the Coif; Member, California State and District of Columbia Bars

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6792
Office: BW433

Debra Lyn Bassett came to Southwestern in 2009 from the University of Alabama School of Law, where she was a Professor of Law and the Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. Scholar, teaching in the areas of civil procedure, complex civil litigation, federal courts and professional responsibility since 2007. She previously taught law at the University of California, Davis, as well as McGeorge, Michigan State, and Florida State Universities. Professor Bassett received the U.C. Davis William and Sally Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award and the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Services, among other honors. At Southwestern, she has been the Justice Marshall F. McComb Professor of Law since 2009.

"I enjoy most the scholarship that has both theoretical components and practical utility so that I can discuss during class sessions the various issues I've researched for my articles."

Earlier in her career, Professor Bassett clerked for the Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; was a senior attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District in Sacramento; and practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

A former senior articles editor of the U.C. Davis Law Review, Professor Bassett focuses her scholarship primarily on federal litigation and legal ethics, and her writings regularly employ insights from law and psychology. She is the co-author of four casebooks: California Legal Ethics (West Group, 8th ed., 2012), Cases and Materials on Civil Procedure (Lexis Publishing, 6th ed., 2012), Federal Courts (Foundation Press, 13th ed., 2012), and Problems in Legal Ethics (West Group, 10th ed., 2012); and the treatise Civil Procedure (Foundation Press, 6th ed., 2011). She has also published nearly 40 articles in major law reviews and her work has been cited by both federal and state courts. She has presented papers on issues such as legal ethics, law and psychology, federal procedure, and class actions at numerous national and international conferences. Professor Bassett says, "I enjoy most the scholarship that has both theoretical components and practical utility so that I can discuss during class sessions the various issues I've researched for my articles."


Books and Chapters

CALIFORNIA LEGAL ETHICS, 8th edition (with R. Wydick and R. Perschbacher; West Group, 2012)

CASES AND MATERIALS ON CIVIL PROCEDURE, 6th edition (with D. Crump, W. Dorsaneo and R. Perschbacher; Lexis Publishing 2012 & Supp. 2013)

FEDERAL COURTS: CASES AND MATERIALS, 13th edition (with C. Wright and J. Oakley; Foundation Press, 2012 & Supp. 2013)

PROBLEMS IN LEGAL ETHICS, 10th edition (with M. Schwartz, R. Wydick and R. Perschbacher; West Group, 2012)

CIVIL PROCEDURE, 6th edition (with F. James, G.C. Hazard Jr., and J. Leubsdorf; Foundation Press, 2011)

Toward a Nonracial Sovereign in SOVEREIGNTY, EMERGENCY AND LEGALITY (A. Sarat, ed.; Cambridge University Press, 2010)

The Overlooked Significance of 'Place' in Law and Policy: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina in RACE, PLACE, AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA (R. Bullard and B. Wright, eds.; Westview Press, 2009)

Place, Disasters, and Disability in LAW AND RECOVERY AFTER DISASTER: HURRICANE KATRINA (R. Malloy, ed.; Ashgate Press, 2009)


Class Action Silence, BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 2014)

Realigning Parties, 2014 UTAH LAW REVIEW 109 (2014)

Deconstruct and Superstruct: Examining Bias Across the Legal System, 46 U.C. DAVIS LAW REVIEW 1563 (2013)

Perceptions of Justice: An International Perspective on Judges and Appearances, 36 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL (with R. Perschbacher; 2012-2013)

The Elusive Goal of Impartiality, 97 IOWA LAW REVIEW 181 (with R. Perschbacher; 2011)

The Roots of Removal, 77 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 1 (lead article, 2011)

Ruralism and Patent Litigation in the Eastern District of Texas, 14 SMU SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY LAW REVIEW 293 (Symposium Issue, 2011)

The Future of International Class Actions, 18 SOUTHWESTERN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 21 (Symposium Issue, 2011)

Enabling the Federal Rules, 44 CREIGHTON LAW REVIEW 7 (Symposium Issue, 2010)

Reasonableness in E-Discovery, 32 CAMPBELL LAW REVIEW 435 (Symposium Issue, 2010)

Just Go Away: Due Process, Representation, and Preclusion in Class Actions, 5 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1079 (2009)

Poverty and Global Ruralism, 13 THE JOURNAL OF GENDER, RACE AND JUSTICE 1 (Symposium Issue, 2009)

E-Pitfalls: Ethics and E-Discovery, 36 NORTHERN KENTUCKY LAW REVIEW 449 (Symposium Issue, 2009)

The Revolution of 1938 and Its Discontents, 61 OKLAHOMA LAW REVIEW 275 (with R. Perschbacher; Symposium Issue, 2008)

Statutory Interpretation in the Context of Federal Jurisdiction, 76 GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW 52 (2007)

Constructing Class Action Reality, 2006 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1415 (2006)

The Defendant's Obligation to Ensure Adequate Representation in Class Actions, 74 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY LAW REVIEW 511 (Symposium Issue, 2006)

Distancing Rural Poverty, 13 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL ON POVERTY LAW & POLICY 3 (Symposium Issue, 2006)

The Forum Game, 84 NORTH CAROLINA LAW REVIEW 333 (2006)

The Rural Venue, 57 ALABAMA LAW REVIEW 941 (2006)

Recusal and the Supreme Court, 56 HASTINGS LAW JOURNAL 657 (2005)

Redefining the 'Public' Profession, 36 RUTGERS LAW JOURNAL 721 (2005)

The End of Law, 84 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1 (with R. Perschbacher; 2004)

Implied 'Consent' to Personal Jurisdiction in Transnational Class Litigation, 2004 MICHIGAN STATE LAW REVIEW 619 (Symposium Issue, 2004)

When Reform Is Not Enough: Assuring More than Merely "Adequate" Representation in Class Actions, 38 GEORGIA LAW REVIEW 927 (2004)

The Hidden Bias in Diversity Jurisdiction, 81 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW QUARTERLY 119 (2003)

The Politics of the Rural Vote, 35 ARIZONA STATE LAW JOURNAL 743 (2003)

Ruralism, 88 IOWA LAW REVIEW 273 (2003)

U.S. Class Actions Go Global: Transnational Class Actions and Personal Jurisdiction, 72 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW 41 (2003)

Judicial Disqualification in the Federal Appellate Courts, 87 IOWA LAW REVIEW 1213 (2002)

Pre-Certification Communication Ethics in Class Actions, 36 GEORGIA LAW REVIEW 353  (2002)

'I Lost at Trial-In the Court of Appeals!' The Expanding Power of the Federal Appellate Courts to Reexamine Facts, 38 HOUSTON LAW REVIEW 1129 (2001), reprinted in 51 DEFENSE LAW JOURNAL 591 (2002)

In the Wake of Schooner Peggy: Deconstructing Legislative Retroactivity Analysis, 69 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI LAW REVIEW 453 (2001)

Three's A Crowd: A Proposal to Abolish Joint Representation, 32 RUTGERS LAW JOURNAL 387 (2001)

Enter at Your Own Risk: The Initial Consultation & Conflicts of Interest, 3 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LEGAL ETHICS 689 (with R. Perschbacher; 1990)

Reading Beyond the Labels: Effective Regulation of Lawyers' Targeted Direct Mail Advertising, 58 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW REVIEW 255 (1987); reprinted in XI ADVERTISING LAW ANTHOLOGY (with R. Perschbacher; 1987)



Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Selected Achievements

Named Justice Marshall F. McComb Professor of Law for 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15

Executive Board, AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, 2009-2010