Professor Anthony Renzo

Contact Information

Ph.: 505-277-0555
Fax: 505-277-1597
Office: 1123

Anthony Renzo

Lecturer III
B.A. 1968, University of Iowa
J.D. 1971, University of Colorado School of Law
Member of the Colorado and Iowa Bars


Anthony Renzo joined the faculty of the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2012, and is teaching Elements of Legal Argumentation, I and II. Before joining the UNM law faculty, Renzo was a professor of law at Vermont Law School, where he taught courses in constitutional rights litigation, appellate advocacy and legal writing.

Renzo received his B.A. with honors from the University of Iowa, and his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif. Following graduation, he clerked for Chief Justice Edward Pringle of the Colorado Supreme Court.

His practice experience includes more than 20 years as a civil liberties and employment lawyer, representing a broad range of clients in federal and state courts throughout the country. He was litigation counsel in many high-profile cases at the trial and appellate levels, including four years as director of the Colorado ACLU Legal Panel.

During his years in practice, Renzo also taught law students and undergraduates as an adjunct professor at a number of universities and colleges, including courses in first amendment law, the Supreme Court and civil liberties, legal process, political theory and legal writing.

He took time away from practice to serve as director of the California Bar Examination for three years, where he worked to improve the minority pass rate and developed the California Professional Responsibility Examination.

Renzo’s scholarship includes guest commentaries on Supreme Court cases for the American Constitution Society, as well as a major article on military trials of civilians in the post-9/11 war against terrorist organizations. Current writing projects include an article on judicial remedies for civilians unconstitutionally detained by the military.

In the classroom Renzo emphasizes the fundamentals of good lawyering. These include respect for the rule of law and the legal process, an obligation to stand up for dissenters, minorities and the powerless, the disciplines of careful reading, critical thinking and clear writing and the importance of professional integrity and humility.


Elements of Legal Argumentation I

Elements of Legal Argumentation I (ELA-I)

ELA-I is the foundational legal analysis and communication course. In the context of a problem solving approach to legal writing students learn how to do the information gathering, pre-thinking and argument development that are essential to good legal communication. Students learn to identify legal issues presented by specific fact situations. They are given an overview of collecting relevant information, including an introduction to legal research. Students learn how to connect this information as they analyze a legal problem in preparation for writing both predictive and persuasive documents. Students learn how to determine relevant legal rules and apply those rules to specific facts to arrive at a reasonable conclusion in a specific case. Students practice organizing the information and their analysis into a logical and coherent structured proof of their conclusion and then effectively presenting the proof in a specific written or oral format to a specific audience. Students also learn to perfect the mechanics of their documents as they learn techniques for effective revising and editing. Assignments include short in class and out of class information gathering, pre-writing, writing and oral communication exercises as well as lengthier writing assignments. In addition, students are introduced to client communications and legal drafting.

Elements of Legal Argumentation II

Elements of Legal Argumentation II (ELA II)

The second semester ELA-2 course continues the study and practice of legal reasoning and communication that was begun in ELA-1. Students will have the opportunity to use their basic understanding of the core concepts and tools learned in ELA-1 as they complete a variety of both oral and written presentations. Focus is on argumentation and rhetoric as the means to building strong and persuasive documents and presentations. Students continue to practice the process of legal writing as they research, analyze, organize, write and revise litigation and other practice related documents. The primary context for the work done in ELA-2 involves writing briefs to a specific court. In addition to writing complete briefs, students will complete several smaller assignments focusing on specific skills related to strong argumentation and development of legal proofs. Students will also give several oral arguments and presentations in class throughout the semester. Additionally, students will be introduced to the role of ADR in client representation and will begin to learn about court and ethical rules related to brief writing and client representation.



  • "There is No Finish Line: Getting Students to Embrace the Legal Writing Process as a Never-Ending Journey Toward the Construction of Legal Meaning," Eleventh Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Arizona State College, Arizona, March 23, 2012.
  • "The Use of Storytelling to Build Self Confidence in Legal Writing Students," The 2011 Applied Legal Storytelling Conference, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado, July 2011.
  • "Lighting a Fire: Using a Student's Passion for Social Justice to Teach Legal Writing Skills," 11th Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, UNLV Law School, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 26, 2011.
  • "Lost in Translation: The Limits of Metaphor in Legal Writing and Analysis," 10th Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Arizona College of Law, March 2010.
  • "Finding a New Dynamic Framework for Legal Writing Assignments in the Apprenticeship Tradition." 2009 Southeast Legal Writing Conference, Stetson University College of Law, September, 2009.
  • "Credibility in Persuasive Writing: Humility as a First Step," Association of Legal Writing Directors' Biennial Conference, University of Missouri at Kansas City, July 2009.
  • "Teaching Legal Writing with Purpose: All Roads Lead to Summary Judgment," 9th Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, March 2009.
  • "The Constitutional Right to Trial by Jury as a Limitation on the Jurisdiction of Military Tribunals," Dartmouth College, February 2008.
  • Organizer, chair, and panelist, "The Use of Ethos in Persuasive Writing: Humility as a First Step," New England Conference of Legal Writing Teachers, Vermont Law School, December 2007.
  • "Combining Doctrinal Subject Matter and Legal Writing Doctrine," Legal Writing Institute, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2006.
  • "Military Trials of Civilians in the War Against Terrorism," University of Trento Law Faculty, Trento, Italy, July 2005.