Wednesday, June 13, 2007

new courage award

The Legal Writing Institute's Awards Committee has announced a call for nominations for a brand new award established by Professor Terri LeClercq, the LeClercq Courage Award, which will be presented during the Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference in July, 2008.  Any member of the Legal Writing Institute may nominate someone for the award. Submit your nominations directly to Julie Spanbauer at on or before July 1, 2007. 

Images Professor LeClercq retired in 2006 from her position as a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Texas at Austin after a distinguished career in language and the law.  She holds a Ph.D. in English and taught students at the University and at the Law School for nearly two decades.  Terri is the author of Guide to Legal Writing Style and Expert Legal Writing, two of the first reference books specifically for legal writing. Her expertise in language and the law has made her a sought-after expert witness in language interpretation for statutes and contracts.  But it is Terri's daring spirit that led her to create LWI's Courage Award. Whether deciding to leave the English Department 23 years ago and teach in a law faculty, or standing up for colleagues fighting battles against their school's hierarchies, or being arrested for peacefully protesting foreign military officer education at Ft. Benning's School of the Americas, Terri's words and deeds embody the courage that this award seeks to foster.

Nominees must be members of the Legal Writing Institute who have demonstrated an act of courage by doing something, despite fear, that most people could not or would not do. Ordinarily, one person will be selected for this award per year except in situations in which several people are responsible for a specific act of courage.

Courage for the purposes of this award might be demonstrated in the following ways:

Personal Courage: The recipient might have done something extraordinary that reflects a commitment to the profession. A professor who overcame great adversity to teach legal writing or who overcame such adversity while continuing to teach legal writing would exemplify personal courage.

Moral Courage: The recipient might have stood up to authority for a principled reason and despite personal or professional risk of ostracism or other negative consequences. Another example of moral courage might include a professor who stood up to a major publisher in order to get a new type of text published.

Civil Courage: The recipient might have done something for the world at large despite personal adversity or other circumstances that required courage as defined above. For example, a recipient may have worked in a developing or emerging nation.

These examples are not intended to be exhaustive; the LWI Awards Committee welcomes diverse examples and definitions of courage.

hat tip:  Prof. Julie M. Spanbauer


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