Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blackwell Award

The Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute announced the winner of the 2011 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing:

Carol McCrehan Parker

Carol is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Law, and Director of Legal Writing at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

This distinguished award is presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of Legal Writing by demonstrating:

  •  an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence;
  • a willingness to help other Legal Writing educators improve their teaching skills or their Legal Writing Programs; and
  • an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating Legal Writing educators and students.

As her nominating materials evidence, Carol exemplifies these qualities in several important ways. She has been described as a mentor of students and teachers alike, a leader of who leads while respecting the voices and ideas of others, a person who exhibits “faithfulness to her colleagues, law students, and the legal profession.” Former students describe her as challenging yet supportive, a teacher who knows when to nurture and when to nudge. Her legal writing colleagues at the University of Tennessee offer numerous examples of the ways she has helped them to become better teachers, whether in the classroom, in student conferences, or in designing teaching materials. For example, one described her “happy ability of assisting an instructor to create and teach a better legal memorandum problem without micro-managing the process.” Another says, “She is willing to let those teaching legal writing experiment, happy to give credit to a teacher for an experiment’s success, eager to work with a teacher without qualification or judgment when an experiment fails.”

Carol has long been a leader in the national community of legal writing professionals as well, sharing her experiences and theories through her scholarship and her presentations at national and regional conferences. Her work in promoting legal writing across the curriculum is particularly noteworthy, as shown by publications such as Liberal Education in Law: Engaging the Legal Imagination Through Research and Writing Beyond the Curriculum, 1 J. ALWD 129 (2002), and what has been described as a true “trail-blazing” article, Writing Throughout the Curriculum: Why Law Schools Need It and How to Ac Phieve It, 76 Neb. L. Rev. 561 (1997).

If you would like to offer your congratulations to Carol, she may be reached at cparker4 [at] Please watch the listservs and the Legal Writing Prof Blog for announcements about the presentation of the Blackwell Award to Carol.

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