Tammy Pettinato Oltz

  • Director of the Law Library, Thormodsgard Law Library
  • Assistant Professor, School of Law
    • Family Law, Employment Discrimination, Disability Law, Legal Research & Legal Writing

Contact Info

Office Address

Law School Room 108
215 Centennial Drive Stop 9003
Grand Forks, ND 58202-9003

Curriculum Vitae


Tammy Pettinato Oltz has taught at the University of North Dakota School of Law since 2013, where her courses have included Family Law, Employment Discrimination, Disability Law, and Lawyering Skills. Her research focuses primarily on promoting equality, especially in the areas of race, sex, sexual orientation, and social class. She also publishes frequently on issues related to legal education and pedagogy.

Pettinato Oltz was named Director of the Law Library in 2017 after serving for a year as Interim Director. In that capacity, she works to promote legal research across the curriculum, facilitate the sharing and promotion of faculty scholarship, and develop ties to the broader North Dakota legal and library community. In 2017, she wrote and received a grant, on behalf of the Law Library, to create a legal self-help collection that circulates throughout the state, ensuring greater access to legal information for rural citizens.

In 2018, Pettinato Oltz was appointed by Governor Burgum to sit on the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council. She is also a member of the boards of the Mid-America Law Library Consortium and the Online Dakota Information Network and has served on multiple national committees.

Pettinato Oltz’s work has been cited by the Iowa Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and in multiple appellate briefs. Her work has also been cited in the Yale Law Journal, the Brooklyn Law Review, the Cardozo Law Review, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, & Justice as well as in several other law journals and in multiple treatises.

Pettinato Oltz earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she served as a Research Assistant to Professor Martha Minow and on the Harvard Negotiation Law Review and the Harvard Law Record. She also holds an M.S.I. from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining UND, she taught at the University of Louisville School of Law, the University of La Verne College of Law, and UCLA School of Law.

Representative Publications & Presentations


Tammy R. Pettinato and Anne Mullins, North Dakota Legal Research (2016).


Tammy R. P. Oltz, LGBTQ Rights Under Title VII, in David Holt, Ed., Sexual Orientation, Gender Identities, and the Law. (forthcoming 2018).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Initiatives and Referenda in Michigan: A Research Guide, in Beth Williams, Ed., Exploring Initiative and Referendum Law (2008). (Originally printed in 26(3/4) Legal Reference Services. Q. 137 (2007)).


Tammy R. Pettinato, Employment Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders: The Promise and Limits of Title VII Disparate Impact Theory, 98 Marq. L. Rev. 831 (2014).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Defying “Common Sense?”: The Legitimacy of Applying Title VII to Employer Criminal Records Policies, 14 Nev. L. J. 770 (2014).

Tammy R. Pettinato, The Custody Catch-22: Post-Interrogation Release as a Factor in Determining Miranda Custody, 65 Ark. L. Rev. 799 (2013).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Legal Research for the Non-Law Librarian: An Introduction, 5 Pub. Services Q. 155 (2009).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Dealing with Pro Se Patrons, 4 Pub. Services Q. 283 (2008).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Legal Information, The Informed Citizen, and The FDLP: The Role of Academic Law Librarians in Promoting Democracy, 99 Law Libr. J. 695 (2007).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Transforming Marriage: The Transformation of Intimacy and the Democratizing Potential of Love, 9 J. L. & Fam. Stud. 101 (2007).


Tammy R. P. Oltz, University of North Dakota Law Library Wins Grant to Help Bring Legal Information to Rural Communities, 41 WestPac News 5 (Spring 2018).

Tammy R. P. Oltz, Jumping the Snark: Are Humor and Sarcasm Ever Appropriate in Legal Writing?, The Gavel (Fall 2017).

Tammy R. P. Oltz, Relinquishing Legal Research, The Second Draft (Fall 2017).

Tammy R. P. Oltz, Three Legal Writing Lessons from Gorsuch’s First Opinion, The Gavel (Summer 2017).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Two Letters, One Message: Teaching Plain Language Through Letter Writing, Clarity (November 2013).

Tammy R. Pettinato & JoAnne M. Sweeny, Game On: Using Interactive Games to Promote Clearer Prose, The Learning Curve (Summer 2013).

Tammy R. Pettinato, Diversity in Law of Socio-Economic Class: A Personal Essay, Louisville Bar Briefs (February 2013).


  • Presenter, Legal Research Just-In-Time: A New Approach to Integrating Legal Research into the Legal Writing Curriculum, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, September 2018 (with Denitsa Mavrova-Heinrich).
  • Presenter, #MeToo: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, at the University of North Dakota School of Law, Buzz Session, April 2018.
  • Presenter, Teaching Professionalism or Teaching Conformity: When Does Teaching Students to Fit in Go Too Far?, at the University of Maryland School of Law, Capital Area Legal Writing Conference, March 2016.
  • Invited Panelist, Employment Discrimination, at the University of North Dakota School of Law, Helen Hamilton Day, March 2016.
  • Invited Panelist, Ethics, Professionalism, and the Generational Divide, at North Carolina Central University, Southeast-Southwest People of Color Conference, March 2015
  • Presenter, Special Challenges for Law Students from Lower Socio-Economic Backgrounds, at Duquesne University School of Law, Fourth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference, December 2014
  • Presenter, Using Innovative Pedagogy to Improve Learning, at Stanford Law School, Fourth Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, September 2014 (with Anne Mullins)
  • Presenter, Helping Students Find Their Professional Identity, at UNLV Law School, 14th Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, March 2014 (with Anne Mullins)
  • Invited Panelist, Civil Rights, Social Justice, and the Town of Leith, Cobbsville? A White Supremacist Takeover in Leith, North Dakota?, UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, October 2013
  • Presenter, Employment Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders: The Promise and Limits of Title VII, at UNLV Law School, Labor and Employment Law Colloquium, September 2013
  • Panel Moderator, Constitutional Law: Powers, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference, August 2013
  • Presenter, Fun with Big Words: Using Interactive Games in the Legal Writing Classroom, at the University of Buffalo Law School, Empire State Legal Writing Conference, June 2012 (with JoAnne M. Sweeny)
  • Invited Presenter, Faculty Services at UCLA School of Law, Harvard Law School Library, November 2008

J.D., Harvard Law School

M.S.I., University of Michigan School of Information

B.A., English Literature, summa cum laude, Gannon University