Laghi Distinguished Chair

Gregory Sisk holds the Laghi Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He received his B.A. from Montana State University and his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, where he graduated first in his class, was an editor on the law review, and president of the moot court board. Prior to joining the legal academy, he served as a legal advisor in all three branches of the federal government: as a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, as a law clerk to a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, and as an appellate attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice representing the United States in the courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. Subsequent to his government service, he was in private practice as the head of the appellate department of a Seattle law firm.

Professor Sisk joined the University of St. Thomas law faculty in 2003, after teaching for twelve years at the Drake University Law School, where he had been named as the Richard M. & Anita Calkins Distinguished Professor.








He teaches Civil Procedure and Professional Responsibility, as well as a special course with original materials on Litigation with the Federal Government. His casebook, "Litigation With the Federal Government:  Cases and Materials," was originally published by Foundation Press in 2000 and is now in its second edition (2008).  It has been adopted at several law schools, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Catholic University, New York University, the University of Pittsburgh, and McGeorge School of Law.  Sisk recently created an Appellate Clinic, in which he supervises students in briefing and arguing a pro bono case before the United States Court of Appeals.

Professor Sisk is author of the treatise on the subject, "Litigation With the Federal Government," published as the fourth edition by ALI-ABA in 2006.  He has written more than four dozen articles, many published in top 25 law reviews, on litigation with the federal government, judicial decision-making, awards of attorney's fees, professional responsibility, constitutional interpretation, law and religion, and tort reform. His scholarly works have been cited by the United States Supreme Court, several federal courts of appeals, and the supreme courts of several states. In a keynote speech before the annual Judicial Conference of the Court of Federal Claims in 2008, Judge S. Jay Plager of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit singled out one of Sisk’s articles as the “definitive piece” on Court of Federal Claims jurisdiction over money claims and saying “it is always refreshing to find a law review article that addresses issues that are relevant to the work of judges and practicing lawyers.”  S. Jay Plager, Money and Power: Observations on the Jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 17 Fed. Cir. B.J. 371, 374 (2008).

In an ongoing partnership with Professor Michael Heise of Cornell Law School, Sisk has been conducting a series of studies of religious liberty decisions in the lower federal courts over several decades.  The most recent reports from these studies have been published or are in the editorial stage at the Michigan Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, and the Notre Dame Law Review.  An earlier empirical study of judicial decisionmaking and the influence of judicial background, co-authored with Professors Michael Heise and Andrew Morriss, was published in the New York University Law Review and received the 1999 Article Prize from the Law and Society Association.

Professor Sisk has remained active as a member of the legal profession. He maintains a limited practice, primarily as an appellate attorney and as an expert witness on professional ethics and conduct. In recent years, he has focused that limited practice on claims against the federal government in the Supreme Court and other courts.  See John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 750 (2008) (co-counsel for petitioner on case asking whether the statute of limitations for claims in the Court of Federal Claims is a jurisdictional condition on the waiver of sovereign immunity); United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation, No. 09-846 (decided April 26, 2011) (author of amicus curiae brief in support of neither party arguing that the Court of Federal Claims has exclusive authority in cases where the substance of the dispute is a claim for money and suggesting that the better answer to the problem of duplicative lawsuits in multiple courts is to transfer the district court case to the Court of Federal Claims to be resolved in a single case). On Sisk's appellate litigation, see also Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. Brown & Bryant, Inc., 132 F.3d 1295, 1303 n.5 (9th Cir. 1997), amended, 159 F.3d 358, 365 n.6 (9th Cir. 1998) ("Litigation often produces criticism for its participants. This case, however, was extraordinarily well briefed and argued by consummate professionals on both sides and we are grateful for that.").

In 2012, Professor Sisk led a study exploring the scholarly impact of law faculties, ranking the top third of American law schools.  Refined by Professor Brian Leiter, the “Scholarly Impact Score” for a law faculty is calculated from the mean and the median of total law journal citations over the past five years to the work of tenured members of that law faculty.  In addition to a school-by-school ranking, the study reports the mean, median, and weighted score for each law faculty, along with a listing of the tenured law faculty members at each ranked law school with the highest individual citation counts.  The law faculties at Yale, Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford stand out nationally in scholarly prominence, followed by several others that are traditionally ranked among the elite law schools. Three law schools accredited within the past two decades -- the University of St. Thomas, Nevada-Las Vegas, Chapman, and Florida International -- have already made a scholarly impact that dramatically outpaces their academic reputations. 

Professor Sisk previously 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.  He is the co-author of the continuing treatise on lawyer ethics in Iowa.  "Lawyer and Judicial Ethics:  Iowa Practice" (Thomson-West, 2010) (with Chief Justice Mark S. Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court).  He is a member of the American Law Institute, the nation's premier law reform organization.  Sisk is also active with the Conference on Catholic Legal Thought, writing and speaking about religion and public life and the role of faith in professional life.  He occasionally participates as a member of the Mirror of Justice blog, which present a diverse array of Catholic perspectives on the law, public life, and social justice.

Sisk lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with his wife, Mindy, and his daughter, Caitlin.

A Sample of Current and Recent Projects and Activities

Download Curriculum Vitae in Pdf

Online Curriculum Vitae (Including List of Publications with Links to Articles)



Professor Sisk's Class

Web Pages:

Civil Procedure I

Civil Procedure II

Professional Responsibility

Litigation with the Federal Government


 Data from Empirical Study of Religion Freedom Decisions



  University of St. Thomas School of Law
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