Sunday, July 16, 2017
Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--Is Moving Its National Headquarters to The John Marshall Law School in Chicago
Scribes -- The American Society of Legal Writers -- will be moving its national headquarters from Texas to The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Since 2015, its executive office has been located in Texas at the Texas Tech University School of Law. Before that, it was located in Michigan at the Western Michigan University Thomas Cooley Law School.
The national legal writing organization has strong connections in Chicago to support a successful move to that city. Darby Dickerson, the new Dean of The John Marshall Law School, was the longest-serving President of Scribes. She is now the organization's immediate past president. The current Scribes President is the Honorable Michael Hyman, a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court and a past president of the Chicago Bar Association. He is also a past president of the Illinois Judges Association and the Decalogue Society. The President-Elect is Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School. The editor of The Scrivener, the newsletter for Scribes, is Professor Maureen Collins of The John Marshall Law School. The new Executive Director of Scribes will be Philip Johnson, Student Services Librarian at the Louis L. Biro Law Library of The John Marshall Law School.
Scribes is dedicated to encouraging legal writers and improving legal writing throughout the entire legal community. Founded in the 1950s, Scribes is the oldest organization of its kind. It has almost 2,700 members, including state and federal judges, practicing lawyers, law-school deans and professors, and legal editors. As written in its Constitution, Scribes's goals are:[
- to foster a feeling of fraternity among those who write about the law, and especially among its members;
- to create an interest in writing about the history, philosophy, and language of the law and about those who make, interpret, and enforce it;
- to help and encourage people who write about the law; and
- above all, to promote a clear, succinct, and forceful style in legal writing.
Scribes confers a variety of awards to recognize excellence in legal writing, including awards for books, law review articles, and moot court briefs. It also confers a lifetime achievement award whose recipients include: Federal Circuit Court Judges Richard Arnold, Guido Calabresi, Frank Easterbrook, and Richard Posner; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and John Paul Stevens; and the Right Honorable Harry Woolf, former Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
Scribes has both individual and institutional members (including law schools and courts). There are also (so far) two Student Chapters of Scribes -- one at Texas Tech University School of Law and the other at The John Marshall Law School. In 2007, Scribes created the National Order of Scribes to honor graduating law students who excel in legal writing. Each year, every law school that is an institutional member of Scribes may nominate law students to be inducted into the National Order of Scribes.
The John Marshall Law School, the new institutional home of Scribes, has long been regarded as having one of the strongest legal writing programs in the United States. The Lawyering Skills Program is chaired by Professor Kim Chanbonpin, the current President of the Legal Writing Institute. Professor Wojcik, the President-Elect of Scribes, is also a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute and a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. Professor Maureen Straub Kordesh, another member of the JMLS Lawyering Skills Faculty is also a former board member of the Legal Writing Institute and a former president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.