Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Legal writing as a distinct academic discipline is only a couple of decades old, but the oldest legal writing organization in the U.S. dates back to 1953. Scribes, The American Society of Legal Writers, promotes better writing throughout the legal community, including law schools.
Scribes encourages good legal writing with an annual book award, a law-review award, and a brief-writing award. It also publishes The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, which frequently accepts articles by legal writing professors and its other members. And it publishes an informative newsletter, The Scrivener.
Any attorney is eligible to join Scribes. You can join as a regular member if you've published two articles, ever served as a journal editor, published a book on a legal topic, or published two judicial decisions. Otherwise, you can join as an associate member. Many professors are able to cover the annual dues with their professional development accounts or by simply asking their schools for assistance.
Scribes is an organization in which practitioners, judges, deans, and law professors come together with the common goal of improving legal writing. Its website announces:
"Advocating lucidity, concision, and felicitous expression, Scribes seeks to spread the growing scorn for legal writing that is turgid, obscure, and needlessly dull."
If that sounds good to you, check out http://www.scribes.org/ for more information.
Institutional membership is also available for your law school.