Law professor with background in zoology has ‘show-and-tell’ philosophy


Washburn Law School’s faculty has grown to include Associate Professor Rory Bahadur. He loves to see students learn so much that he cannot believe he is paid to do it.

“My biggest high in life is classroom time,” said Bahadur.

Bahadur’s career in law has been shaped by his interest in zoology. It was in that subject area that he earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of the West Indies. He then pursued his master’s degree in marine affairs at the University of Miami before finding the time to travel and gain some experience in the field. In his job as a maritime environmental consultant, Bahadur’s position enabled him to do some traveling in various states. It was not until he worked as both a consultant and a fisheries biologist that he was able to make his own schedule and spend time in every one of the fifty states except for Rhode Island and North Dakota. Although he thought the mobile lifestyle was fun, Bahadur had graduated first in his class from the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami and had an opportunity to settle down.

Bahadur started one of the largest plaintiff admiralty firms in Miami. He practiced in the injury department to represent mistreated foreign seamen against large crew ship companies until an opportunity to teach again presented itself.

Miami’s law school invited Bahadur to come back as a professor. He accepted the offer and served as the director of academic support as well. The program that he implemented and revamped by employing active learning methodology was met with overwhelming support from interested students. Bahadur was inspired to use those same techniques in his teaching.

“I wanted to go to a school where professors were not opposed to new or slightly alternative teaching methods in the legal classroom,” said Bahadur.

In the spirit of this, he traveled to the Midwest to check out Washburn. Visiting the university and meeting the people were deciding factors.

Washburn has exceeded Bahadur’s expectations. The senior faculty has made him feel very comfortable, and he especially appreciates those who have given him input on the research he hopes to publish in the near future.

Bill Rich, a colleague at the law school who was also involved in the decision to hire Bahadur, describes him as a wonderful colleague.

“[Bahadur] is great to work with, has lots of energy and has very good ideas about how to teach effectively,” said Rich. “I think he will be a first-rate scholar.”

Rich describes Bahadur as highly regarded and knows that he has been great with students in the past. In fact, Rich revealed that Bahadur was recognized as professor of the year while he was teaching in Miami. He is confident that Bahadur has lots to contribute, given his unique background and ability to provide new perspectives.

Katherine McBride, a student in his first year torts class, describes his teaching approach as animated, yet serious and professional all at the same time.

“He has a show-and-tell kind of philosophy, where he will physically act out a question of law to help us understand the tort better,” said McBride. “It is really obvious that he is passionate about teaching, as it is apparent in his teaching style that he really wants us to understand the tort itself instead of just regurgitating it back on an exam or quiz.”

Another student in Bahadur’s torts class, Sarah Washburn, agrees with McBride.

“He is an engaging but tough professor,” said Washburn. “His hypothetical examples are really creative and memorable, which makes the class fun and interesting.”

Bahadur strives to engage students more than the typical Socratic method and hopes that they will love the law. He says the students have been amazing and seems pleased with the way the year is progressing.