Ben Bratman

Professor of Legal Writing, Legal Writing Program Coordinator

Professor Ben Bratman teaches the required first-year courses Legal Analysis & Writing and Legislation & Regulation. Having studied and performed improvisational theater, he also specializes in teaching a broad set of communication skills for lawyers through a course that he created, entitled Applied Improv for Lawyers. In addition, Bratman coordinates Pitt Law’s first-year legal writing program. In that capacity, he launched a “standardized client” program providing every first-year student the experience of interviewing a mock client portrayed by a trained standardized patient from Pitt’s School of Medicine.

Bratman has published several articles and spoken at various conferences about his teaching methods and course exercises, and some of his exercises from Legal Analysis & Writing are in use throughout the country, having been adopted by professors at other law schools. He has also published articles and commentaries concerning bar exam reform, legal education, and the intersection between the two. For several years he was a contributing writer for the Best Practices for Legal Education blog, hosted by Albany Law School.

Since 2020, Bratman has served as faculty advisor to the Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation (PLISF), and he was selected by Pitt Law students as the Distinguished Public Interest Professor for 2021. He has served previously as the faculty advisor to the student Moot Court Board and as the law school’s liaison to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners. Before joining the Pitt Law faculty in 2002, Bratman clerked for a United States Magistrate Judge and practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, and taught for three years at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. In 2011 – 2012 he served as Visiting Professor of Lawyering Skills at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

    Education & Training

  • JD, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • BA, University of Washington
Recent Publications


  • Failure Is Always an Option: Building Resilience among Law Students through Improv, Building Resilience Case Studies on Student Interventions & Psychological Insights Conference, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, May 16, 2024 (jointly with Professor Olwyn Conway, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law)
  • Applied Improv and the Law, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning annual conference, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, June 2, 2023.
  • How the Bar Exam Under Emphasizes Legal Writing Even More Than We Might Think, Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, University of Tennessee College of Law, Dec 1, 2018
  • In Defense of the Chalkboard as Effective Technology in the Legal Writing Classroom, Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Nov 30, 2018
  • Twenty-Five Skills that Legal Education Cannot Ignore (Even if Bar Examiners Will), Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of New Mexico School of Law, March 2015.
Research Interests

Applied Improvisation
Legal Writing
Legislation and Regulation
Employment Law and Employment Discrimination