Pio Cardinal Laghi Distinguished Chair in Law and Professor
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Office Location: MSL 460
J.D., University of Washington Law School
B.A., Montana State University
After law school, Sisk entered into public service, serving in all three branches of the federal government: legislative assistant to a United States Senator, law clerk to a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and appellate specialist with the United States Department of Justice. Subsequent to government service, he was the head of the appellate department for a Seattle law firm. As an appellate attorney, Sisk has handled appeals cases before ten of the thirteen federal courts of appeals and several state appellate courts. Sisk joined the faculty of the Drake University Law School in 1991, where he was appointed the Richard M. & Anita Calkins Distinguished Professor.
Sisk is also the author of a novel, Marital Privilege, published in 2014 by North Star Press, which is a legal drama with a law professor, lawyers, and judges as characters and which is set in the Twin Cities.
Sisk is a nationally-recognized scholar on the subjects of civil litigation with the federal government and empirical (statistical) analysis of judicial decision making; he also writes about federal courts, legal ethics, and constitutional law. He is the author of the casebook, “Litigation With the Federal Government,” which is published by Foundation Press, and a treatise by the same name, which is published by ALI-ABA. Sisk’s empirical work on court decisions was honored with the Article Prize from the Law and Society Association in 1999.
He has remained an active member of the practicing bar, primarily in appellate litigation and as an expert witness or consultant on legal ethics. In recent years, he has briefed cases before the U.S. Supreme Court on civil suits against the federal government and jurisdiction in the Court of Federal Claims. He served as reporter for the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct Drafting Committee appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court to draft the new set of ethics rules to govern lawyers in Iowa. Sisk also is an elected member of the American Law Institute.
|Description of course 600 :||This course will examine how civil litigation is conducted from the initiation of a lawsuit to its final resolution in a trial court. Students will examine issues relating to pleadings, joinder of claims and parties, discovery, summary judgement, motions for judgement as a matter of law, motions for a new trial, post-trial motions, and ethical limitations on pleadings and motions. The course may include a brief introduction to subject matter and/or personal jurisdiction.|
|Description of course 725 :||This course will examine issues of legal ethics and the professional responsibility of lawyers. Students will study the law governing the conduct of lawyers in areas like formation of the lawyer/client relationship, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, client communications and the lawyer's role within the adversarial process. Additionally, students will move beyond the legal rules and regulations to explore expanded and aspirational ideas of what a lawyer's role can and should be in the lawyer/client relationship, in the profession and in society.|
|Description of course 798 :|
|886||Litigation W/Fed Govt||3|
|Description of course 886 :||This course will introduce students to the unique principles that apply when the sovereign is a party to a court action. Because the federal government is a party in nearly one- third of all civil cases in the federal courts, an under- standing of these principles is vital for any student interested in litigation or government practice. Students will examine the role of the Department of Justice, the question of federal sovereign immunity, suits against federal officers,a nd awards of attorney's fees against the government. Students also will explore when and how the government responds to injuries that it has caused to its citizens.|
|950||Supervised Resrch & Writing||.5|
|Description of course 950 :||Under the supervision of a faculty member, a student may receive up to two hours of course credit for researching and writing a substantial paper on a topic of the student's own choosing. The student must receive the instructor's per- mission to enroll in this course and must meet periodically with the instructor for discussion, review and evaluation. Each faculty member may supervise the research of no more than five students each semester.|
|951||Clinic: Appellate I||3|
|Description of course 951 :||Third-year students only. Students in the Appellate Clinic will work on a pro bono civil appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas. Students will review the trial court record, identify and research issues for appeal, prepare an opening brief and a reply brief, and a student may be designated to present the oral argument to the court. 3 credits in the fall, 1-3 credits in the spring. Students should anticipate two semesters, but second semester involvement is dependent on case progress (spring semester is called Advanced Appellate). Third-year students who took clinic during their second- year may apply. Enrollment by permission only.|
|952||Clinic: Appellate II||1|
|Description of course 952 :||This is the second semester of the two-semester clinic related to Appellate work. Prerequisite: LAWS 951|
Litigation with the Federal Government
Federal Litigation and Procedure
Empirical Studies of Judicial Decision-Making
Much of my scholarly work over the past decade attempts to unravel a contradiction that weaves its way through the statutes, case-law and legal theory applying to suit against the sovereign United States – that the federal government is the same and yet is not the same as every other party in civil litigation. The question is how and where to draw the line between those kinds of harm caused by government that are properly the subject for a judicial remedy by a damages judgment against the United States and those collateral, but sometimes harmful, consequences of vital or policy-oriented government operations that should be shielded from judicial review. In the past 10 years, I’ve written and had published a treatise and a casebook on “Litigation With the Federal Government” and several articles on federal sovereign immunity and government litigation struggling toward a resolution of this persistent question.
Upcoming: Preparing a new edition of my treatise, finishing an overview for a symposium, and planning an article that further addresses federal government liability.
Gregory C. Sisk & Mark S. Cady, Lawyer and Judicial Ethics: Iowa Practice (Thomson-West, 2012, 2010 and 2007 eds.).
Gregory C. Sisk, Litigation with the Federal Government: Cases and Materials (2d ed., University Casebook Series 2008).
Gregory Sisk, Litigation with the Federal Government (4th ed., ALI-ABA 2006).
Greg Sisk, Marital Privilege (North Star Press, 2014).
Gregory C. Sisk, Twilight for the Strict Construction of Waivers of Federal Sovereign Immunity, 92 N.C. L. Rev. 1245 (2014).
Gregory C. Sisk & Michael Heise, Muslims and Religious Liberty in the Era of 9/11: Empirical Evidence from the Federal Courts, 98 Iowa L. Rev. 231 (2012).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims and Forum-Shopping in Money Claims Against the Federal Government, 88 Ind. L.J. (forthcoming 2012).
Gregory C. Sisk & Michael Heise, Ideology ‘All the Way Down’? An Empirical Study of Establishment Clause Decisions in the Federal Courts, 110 Mich. L. Rev. 1201(2012).
Michael Heise & Gregory C. Sisk, Religion, Schools, and Judicial Decision Making: An Empirical Perspective, 79 U. Chi. L. Rev. 187 (2012).
Gregory C. Sisk, Foreword: Official Wrongdoing and the Civil Liability of the Federal Government and Officers, 8 U. St. Thomas L.J. 295 (2012).
Gregory C. Sisk, Lifting the Blindfold From Lady Justice: Allowing Judges To See the Structure in the Judicial Code, 62 Fla. L. Rev. 457 (2010).
Gregory C. Sisk & Pamela Abbate, The Dynamic Attorney-Client Privilege, 23 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 201 (2010).
Gregory C. Sisk & Nicholas Halbur, A Ticking Time Bomb? University Data Privacy Policies and Attorney-Client Confidentiality in Law School Settings, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 1277 (2010).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Inevitability of Federal Sovereign Immunity, 55 Vill. L. Rev. 899 (2010).
Gregory C. Sisk, Returning to the Pruneyard: The Unconstitutionality of State-Sanctioned Trespass in the Name of Speech, 32 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 389 (2009).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Continuing Drift of Federal Sovereign Immunity Jurisprudence, 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 517 (2008).
Gregory C. Sisk, Uprooting the Pruneyard, 38 Rutgers L.J. 1145 (2008).
Gregory Sisk, The Quantitative Moment and the Qualitative Opportunity: Legal Studies of Judicial Decisionmaking, 93 Cornell L. Rev. 873 (2008) (reviewing Frank B. Cross, Decision Making in the U.S. Courts of Appeals (2007)).
Gregory C. Sisk, Change and Continuity in Attorney-Client Confidentiality: The New Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct, 55 Drake L. Rev. 347 (2007).
Gregory C. Sisk, John Paul II: The Quintessential Religious Witness in the Public Square, 45 J. Cath. Legal Stud. 241 (2007).
Gregory C. Sisk, A Primer on the Doctrine of Federal Sovereign Immunity, 58 Okla. L. Rev. 439 (2005).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Willful Judging of Harry Blackmun, 70 Mo. L. Rev. 1049 (2005).
Gregory C. Sisk, How Traditional and Minority Religions Fare in the Courts: Empirical Evidence from Religious Liberty Cases, 76 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1021 (2005).
Gregory C. Sisk, A Primer on Civil Discovery Against the Federal Government, 52 Fed. Law. 28 (2005).
Gregory C. Sisk & Michael Heise, Judges and Ideology: Public and Academic Debates about Statistical Measures, 99 Nw. U. L. Rev. 743 (2005).
Andrew P. Morriss, Michael Heise, & Gregory C. Sisk, Signaling and Precedent in Federal District Court Opinions, 13 Sup. Ct. Econ. Rev. 63 (2005).
Gregory C. Sisk, Abortion, Bishops, Eucharist, and Politicians: A Question of Communion, 43 Cath. Law. 255 (2004).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Trial Courts of the Federal Circuit: Diversity by Design, 13 Fed. Cir. B.J. 241 (2004).
Gregory C. Sisk, Andrew P. Morriss, & Michael Heise, Searching for the Soul of Judicial Decision-Making: An Empirical Study of Religious Freedom Decisions, 65 Ohio St. L.J. 491 (2004).
Gregory C. Sisk, Yesterday and Today: Of Indians, Breach of Trust, Money, and Sovereign Immunity, 39 Tulsa L. Rev. 313 (2003).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Tapestry Unravels: Statutory Waivers of Sovereign Immunity and Money Claims Against the United States, 71 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 602 (2003).
Gregory C. Sisk, Suspending the Pardon Power During the Twilight of a Presidential Term, 67 Mo. L. Rev. 13 (2002).
Frank Cross, Michael Heise, & Gregory C. Sisk, Above the Rules: A Response to Epstein and King, 69 U. Chi. L. Rev. 135 (2002).
Gregory C. Sisk, Teaching Litigation with the Federal Government, 49 J. Legal Educ. 275 (1999).
Gregory C. Sisk, Iowa’s Legal Ethics Rules – It’s Time to Join the Crowd, 47 Drake L. Rev. 279 (1999).
Gregory C. Sisk, Andrew P. Morriss, & Michael Heise, Charting the Influences on the Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study of Judicial Reasoning, 73 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1377 (1998).
Gregory C. Sisk, Stating the Obvious: Protecting Religion for Religion’s Sake, 47 Drake L. Rev. 45 (1998).
Gregory C. Sisk & Jerry L. Anderson, The Sun Sets on Federal Common Law: Corporate Successor Liability under CERCLA After O’Melveny & Meyers, 16 Va. Envtl. L.J. 505 (1997).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Balkanization of Appellate Justice: The Proliferation of Local Rules in the Federal Circuits, 68 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1 (1997).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Essentials of the Equal Access to Justice Act: Court Awards of Attorney’s Fees for Unreasonable Government Conduct (Part Two), 56 La. L. Rev. 1 (1995).
Gregory C. Sisk, Comparative Fault and Common Sense, 30 Gonz. L. Rev. 29 (1995).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Essentials of the Equal Access to Justice Act: Court Awards of Attorney’s Fees for Unreasonable Government Conduct (Part One), 55 La. L. Rev. 217 (1995).
Gregory C. Sisk, Questioning Dialogue by Judicial Decree: A Different Theory of Constitutional Review and Moral Discourse, 46 Rutgers L. Rev. 1691 (1994).
Gregory C. Sisk, A Primer on Awards of Attorney’s Fees Against the Federal Government, 25 Ariz. St. L.J. 733 (1993).
Gregory C. Sisk, Interpretation of the Statutory Modification of Joint and Several Liability: Resisting the Deconstruction of Tort Reform, 16 U. Puget Sound L. Rev. 1 (1992).
Gregory C. Sisk, Recovery for Emotional Distress under the Warsaw Convention: The Elusive Search for the French Legal Meaning of Lesion Corporelle, 25 Tex. Int’l L.J. 127 (1990).
Gregory C. Sisk, The Constitutional Validity of the Modification of Joint and Several Liability in the Washington Tort Reform Act of 1986, 13 U. Puget Sound L. Rev. 433 (1990).
Gregory C. Sisk, Two Proposals to Clarify the Tucker Act Jurisdiction of the Claims Court, 37 Fed. Bar News & J. 47 (1990).
Gregory C. Sisk, Tucker Act Appeals to the Federal Circuit, 36 Fed. Bar News & J. 41 (1989).
Gregory C. Sisk, Interim Attorney’s Fees Awards Against the Federal Government, 68 N.C. L. Rev. 117 (1989).
Gregory C. Sisk, Comment, Toward a Unified Reasonable Use Approach to Water Drainage in Washington, 59 Wash. L. Rev. 61 (1983).
Gregory C. Sisk, Twilight for the Strict Construction of Waivers of Federal Sovereign Immunity, North Carolina Law Review (forthcoming 2014)
Sisk, Gregory C., The Legal Ethics of Real Evidence: Of Child Porn on the Choirmaster's Computer and Bloody Knives Under the Stairs (May 6, 2014). Washington Law Review, 2014, Forthcoming; U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-18.
Sisk, Gregory C., Twilight for the Strict Construction of Waivers of Federal Sovereign Immunity (April 18, 2014). 92 North Carolina Law Review 1245 (2014); U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-29.
Gregory Sisk, Has the United States Waived Sovereign Immunity Through the Tucker Act for Damages Claims Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?, in PREVIEW of United States Supreme Court Cases (ABA, 2012).
Gregory Sisk, The Classic Tension Between the Zealous Advocate and the Officer of the Court, Iowa Law., Nov. 2010, at 10.
Gregory Sisk, Rules and Morality: What a Lawyer Must Do Versus What He/She Should Do, Iowa Law., Apr. 2009, at 12.
Gregory Sisk, United States v. Navajo Nation: When May a Tribe Seek Damages from the Government for Breach of Trust?, in PREVIEW of United States Supreme Court Cases (ABA 2008).
Gregory Sisk, Dangers of Crossing the Lines of Professionalism and Civility in the Name of Zealous Advocacy, Iowa Law., Mar. 2008, at 10.
Gregory C. Sisk, Judges Are Human, Too, 83 Judicature 178 (2000).
Gregory Sisk, Private Property (Expression on), in Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (CQ Press 2008).
Gregory Sisk, Standing, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution (Facts on File 2007).
Gregory Sisk, Ripeness, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution (Facts on File 2007).