Monday, January 15, 2018

NYSBA Offers an Advanced Legal Writing Seminar

Judge LebovitsThe New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) will offer an Advanced Legal Writing seminar with Justice Gerald Lebovits, a New York City judge since 2001 and president of the 300-judge New York State Association of Acting Supreme Court Justices.

Justice Lebovits has been an adjunct professor of law for 32 years, currently at Columbia, Fordham, and NYU. Students at Fordham, New York Law School, and St. John’s have each elected him Adjunct Law Professor of the Year. He has authored six books and more than 300 articles and given hundreds of CLEs on legal writing, ethics, criminal practice, and landlord-tenant law for bar associations, government organizations, and the New York State Court System. He will also be known to many New York lawyers because he has authored the Legal Writer Column for the New York State Bar Journal since 2001.

Justice Lebovits will share easy-to remember and simple-to-understand methods of persuasive writing and the essential elements of a winning brief — from cover to conclusion, including storytelling, theme, organization, style, rhetoric, ethics, and legal method. 
  • Monday, April 23, 2018 | Long Island
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | Westchester
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 | NYC (Manhattan)
  • Monday, April 30, 2018 | Syracuse
  • Wednesday, May 2, 2018 | Rochester
  • Thursday, May 3, 2018 | Buffalo
  • Friday, May 4, 2018 | Albany
NYSBA Members: $125 | Non-Members: $225
4.0 MCLE Credits in Skills

January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

First Call for Presentation Proposals - Global Legal Skills Conference - Melbourne, Australia (Dec. 9-12, 2018)

Global Legal Skills Conference 13

Melbourne, Australia

December 9-12, 2018

Co-Sponsored by Melbourne Law School and The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, in cooperation with the Legal Writing Institute, the American Bar Association Section on International Law, the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, the International Law Students Association, the American Society of International Law, Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, and other organizations.

In holding the GLS-13 Conference at Melbourne Law School, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where the law school is located: the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging.

First Call for Presentations

Presentation proposals for the GLS-13 Conference are now being accepted on topics relating to legal writing and legal skills education (particularly for lawyers and law students who speak English as a second language), international litigation, comparative and international law, and related subjects.

Please send an email to Prof. Mark E. Wojcik at with the subject line “GLS-13 Proposal.” Include a proposed title, brief description, and proposed speakers. Individual presentations will normally be 15-20 minutes. Panels and roundtables will normally be an hour and include three to five speakers. You may be nominated to be on more than one panel but speakers will normally be given only one speaking opportunity to allow others to participate.

The first call for presentations will be open until February 28, 2018 and decisions made by March 28, 2018. Additional presentation proposals will be accepted until April 30, 2018 if space is still available. Poster presentations will be accepted until November 1, 2018

More Information?

The GLS Website for the Melbourne Conference will launch on February 1, 2018 at with information about registration, travel, hotels, and a preliminary conference schedule. The website for the 2017 GLS conference in Mexico can be viewed at

Additional information about the GLS-13 conference, including sponsorship opportunities, can be had from the Conference Co-Chairs, Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago [(312) 987-2391 or] or Dr Chantal Morton, Director of the Legal Academic Skills Centre, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia.

January 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Washington and Lee is Hiring

Washington and Lee Law SchoolWashington & Lee School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, invites applications for the position of Professor of Practice and Legal Writing Instructor. 

Responsibilities of the Instructor include teaching two sections of first-year legal writing each term, working with the Director of the Legal Writing Program and other Instructors to develop a modern curriculum in this subject, and teaching one additional course.   In addition to holding a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-accredited school, candidates for the position must have at least two to three years of post-J.D. experience in a position or positions requiring substantial legal writing.  The school seeks in particular candidates who are enthused about working closely with students in the development of this critical skill.

The Legal Writing Instructor position is a nine-month contractual position with teaching responsibilities beginning annually in mid-August and ending in mid-May. However, in the opening year of the Legal Writing Program, the position will commence on June 1, 2018 to provide time to work on program design. The Instructor will hold a two-year contract and will be eligible for a longer-term appointment thereafter.  The anticipated salary for the nine-month position is $70,000.     

Washington and Lee University School of Law is an Equal Opportunity employer that adheres to a robust nondiscrimination policy. The school welcomes candidates who are members of communities traditionally under-represented in the legal profession and academia. Interested individuals should submit a statement of interest, cv, and references to Mary Ervin at  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. 

The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings on routine matters excluding appointments, tenure and promotion. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range of $70,000 to $79,999. And the number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor is expected to be between 36 and 45.

Hat tips to Dean Brant J. Hellwig and Professor Christopher B. Seaman at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.


January 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research - New Scholars Showcase

The Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research presents a "New Scholars Showcase" this year at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego. The New Scholars Showcase will feature three newer scholars who teach legal writing and who have been selected by the Section's Program Committee through a competitive process.

The presenters will be Professors Erin Carroll (Georgetown University Law Center), Jane Grise, (University of Kentucky College of Law), and Anne Ralph (The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law). The panel moderators will be Professors Scott Fraley (Baylor University School of Law) and Carol L. Wallinger (Rutgers Law School).


January 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego

Thorton AALS PanelThe Association of American Law Schools is holding its annual meeting this week in San Diego. Many of the substantive panels are heavy with legal writing content. One such panel is a program sponsored by the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, Co-Sponsored by the AALS Section on International Legal Exchange and the AALS Section on North American Cooperation. The panel is called "Focus on the Facts: Teaching Civil-Law Trained Lawyers to Work with Facts in U.S. Legal Writing."  Here's the panel description:

Those who teach first-year J.D. students know that it can be challenging to teach them to support their legal arguments by working with the facts in the detailed way that U.S. legal audiences expect. Indeed, it can be even more challenging to teach this skill to our international law students. These students usually come from civil-law legal systems in which cases do not have binding precedential value, so judicial opinions do not need to be made factually consistent with precedent to the extent required in the U.S. Accordingly, many international lawyers are not accustomed to working with the facts at a detailed, concrete level, and find our need to analogize our facts to, and distinguish them from, those of precedent surprising and even perplexing. The panel will discuss what they do to help their international law students develop the skill of writing fact-based U.S. legal analysis, including pre-writing to identify how U.S. lawyers use facts in legal writing; planning to identify, select, and organize arguments and counterarguments, and to choose the most relevant facts; writing fact-based analysis effectively; and editing to strengthen the analysis, add or revise factual descriptions, and look for errors.

The moderators are Professor William H. Byrnes (Texas A&M University School of Law) and John B. Thornton (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law). The speakers are Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher (Barwrite and Barwrite Press), and Professors Robin M. Nilon (Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law), Michael D. Murray (University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth), and Hether C. Macfarlane, (University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law).

At the same time in a different room, there's a panel sponsored by the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, Co-Sponsored by the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education, on the topic of "Tips from the Trenches: Teaching Students to Help Social Justice Practitioners From First Year to Graduation." Here's the description of that panel:

This panel brings together legal writing faculty and clinicians who collaborate to make social justice issues central to legal education. One panelist uses "canned" legal writing problems that raise social justice issues and introduce students to the work of lawyers who have accomplished social change. A legal writing professor and a clinical professor from a second school collaborate on simulation exercises that bring social justice issues into the legal writing classroom, assisting students in professional identity development and exposing them to family and juvenile law issues. The legal writing director and clinical director from a third school describe how their collaborations that bring issues from the law clinic or legal nonprofits into the 1L legal writing classes led to collaborative efforts to improve students' ability to transfer their learning from the first-year through clinical and externship experiences and beyond. A legal writing professor from a fourth school will describe upper-level writing projects that engage 2L and 3L students in providing assistance to social justice partners. This panel describes the widely differing ways we bring social justice into our classrooms, offers key "lessons learned" over years of doing this work, and engages the audience about how they might apply these lessons.

The moderator is Professor Shailini J. George (Suffolk University Law School). The speakers are Professors Mary Bowman and Lisa E. Brodoff, (Seattle University School of Law), Kimberly P. Jordan and Katrina June Lee, (The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law), Sarah E. Ricks (Rutgers Law School), and Amy Vorenberg (University of New Hampshire School of Law).

Other legal writing events being held this week include the luncheon award ceremony for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research at which Dean Darby Dickerson (the original author of the ALWD Citation Manual) will receive a lifetime achievement award. There will also be a reception on Friday evening co-sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute Reception. 

If you're attending the AALS conference this week, we invite guest blog posts on panels and events that you attend.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

January 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Congratulations to Sabrina DeFabritis (Suffolk) and Suzanna K. Moran (Denver), Outgoing and Incoming Chairs of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

Sabrina DeFabritisProfessor Sabrina DeFabritiis of Suffolk University Law School (picutred at left) is about to finish her 2017-18 term as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. As Section Chair Professor DeFabritiis has overseen the Section's committees, programs, and awards.

Suzanna Moran Denver AALS LWRR ChairProfessor Suzanna K. Moran of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (pictured at right) is the incoming Chair for 2018-19. She will assume that role at the upcoming AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, which his being held from January 3-6, 2018. Professor Moran is the Hartje & Reese Chair in Lawyering Process and Professor of the Practice at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

While still in law school she began her career as a legal editor for The Yearbook of International Environmental Law. She edited that publication for seven years, working with leading environmental lawyers from around the world. She later became a staff attorney at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited for ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter for four years.

Professor Moran then left the field of professional writing and editing for private practice. She represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of litigation matters related to natural resources, environmental law, and real estate.

In 2005, she returned to editing when she became Director of Publications at the Denver Art Museum. She was responsible for the editorial content and quality of the museum’s written materials and managed a staff of eight editors and graphic designers.

In her secret life, Professor Moran performs with the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra. We'll have to ask her which instrument she plays. Her other interests include all manner of outdoor activities, reading, movies, beating back the encroaching wilderness of her backyard, and playing MMORPGs (that's the acronym for massively multiplayer online role-playing games).

Chartered on January 1, 1974, the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research promotes the communication of ideas, interests, and activities among the members of the Section; reports on the status of legal research and writing; and makes recommendations on matters concerning law school administration and matters of interest in the teaching and improvement of law school curriculum.

Wendy-Adele Humphrey Texas TechProfessor Wendy Adele Humphrey of Texas Tech University School of Law (pictured at right) is the current Secretary of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. She is expected to become the Section Chair-Elect at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting. She would then become Section Chair in 2019-20 during the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting, which will be held in New Orleans.

The members of the Section's 2017-18 Executive Committee (in addition to the Section Officers) are:

  • Robert Brain, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Rebekah N. Hanley, University of Oregon School of Law
  • Allison D. Martin, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
  • Joseph Mastrosimone, Washburn University School of Law
  • Anne Mullins, University of North Dakota School of Law
  • Nancy J. Soonpaa, Texas Tech University School of Law

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

December 24, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Nominations for the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education

Here's a final reminder that the schedule has changed this year for nominations for the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wedneday, December 20, 2017.

The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement highlight the importance of writing in the legal profession, providing a forum to honor legal professionals and law students whose work exemplifies the goals of our field. The Awards were founded in 1999 by William Burton, author of Burton’s Legal Thesaurus and recipient of the Legal Writing Institute’s 2010 Golden Pen Award.

Since 2004, the Burton Awards have included a category for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. The award is given annually during a black-tie gala at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the education of lawyers in the field of legal analysis, research, and writing. The Award may result from any activity related to educating students or lawyers about legal writing—teaching, writing books or articles, serving or advancing the interests of the legal-writing community, designing superb or innovative legal-writing courses or programs, and any related achievements. 
Here is the list of previous recipients of the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education
  • 2004 - Kent D. Syverund, Dean and Garner Anthony Professor at Vanderbilt University Law School
  • 2005 - Darby Dickerson, Vice President and Dean at Stetson University College of Law (now Dean of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago)
  • 2006 - Ralph Brill, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Acting Dean and Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • 2007 - Laurel Oates, Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law
  • 2008 - Mary Beth Beazley, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Legal Writing at Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law (now a Professor at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law)
  • 2009 - Richard K. Neumann Jr., Professor at Hofstra University School of Law
  • 2010 - Helene S. Shapo, Professor of Law Emeritus at Northwestern University Law School
  • 2011 - Marjorie Dick Rombauer, Professor Emerita of Law at University of Washington
  • 2012 - Tina L. Stark, Professor of the Practice of Law and Director of the Transactional Program at Boston University School of Law.
  • 2013 - Mary Lawrence, Professor Emerita at University of Oregon School of Law
  • 2014 - Anne M. Enquist, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director of the Legal Writing Program at Seattle University School of Law
  • 2015 - Marilyn Walter, Professor and Director of the Legal Writing Program at Brooklyn Law School
  • 2016 - Louis J. Sirico, Jr., Law Professor, Villanova University
  • 2017 - Linda Edwards, E.L. Cord Foundation Professor of Law, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
The Burton Awards provide an excellent opportunity to publicize the achievements of the legal writing education community. The Nominations Committee therefore seeks nominations of deserving individuals (or groups!) for the Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education Award. Nominations should describe the contributions of the nominee(s) and should be emailed to one or more of the following members of the selection committee: Professors Noah Messing, Grace Tonner, or Nancy Schultz.
Nominations for other categories for the Burton Awards are due by January 23, 2018. Click here for more information about those nominations. This includes nominations of law student articles.
In February 2018, there will be a maybe-just-like-the-Academy-Awards Facebook Live Announcement Ceremony to announce the winners of the 2018 Burton Awards. The 19th Annual Burton Awards Ceremony and Celebration will be held at the Library of Congress on Monday, May 21, 2018. That glamorous special event is co-sponsored by the American Bar Association through its Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress.
Hat tip to Noah Messing.

December 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 8, 2017

LWI One-Day Workshops

If you're hosting or attending one of the Legal Writing Institute's One-Day Workshops, please send us a write-up of your workshop (or your part of a workshop) and a photo if you have one. We're happy to post your work as a guest author on the Legal Writing Prof Blog. Thanks!

The Editors

December 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Congratulations to Emily Grant at Washburn

Emily Grant - Washburn
The faculty at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas has voted to recommend Emily Grant for tenure and promotion to Professor of Law.

Professor Grant joined the Washburn faculty in 2011, where she teaches courses in legal writing and estates and trusts. She previously taught legal writing courses at her alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law, where as a student she served as articles editor for the University of Illinois Law Review. She then joined the University of Kansas School of Law faculty as a part-time lecturer in the Lawyering Program and was later named as a full-time lawyering professor while also working with students as part of the Academic Resources Program.

Before starting her teaching career, Professor Grant was Court Counsel for the  Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau, a small country in the Western Pacific Ocean. She also clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for federal district courts in Illinois and Kansas.

Professor Grant is a co-director of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.

Hat tip to Joseph Mastrosimone, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Washburn University School of Law.


December 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The University of Illinois at Chicago and The John Marshall Law School in Merger Discussions

The American Bar Association Journal and other media outlets have reported that the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and The John Marshall Law School (JMLS) of Chicago have been discussing a possible merger that would make JMLS the first public law school in the city of Chicago. If an agreement is reached, the law school would remain at its downtown location next to the Chicago Bar Association and across the street from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The John Marshall Law School is particularly well-known for its legal writing program.

A page of frequently asked questions about the possible merger provides this additional information:

UIC is one of the few public research universities designated with the highest Research 1 classification by the Carnegie Foundation that does not have a law school. Sixty-five percent of all Research 1 universities, public and private, have a law school.

The John Marshall Law School is an independent law school and the possibility of becoming Chicago’s only public law school would allow it to expand its current mission and grow its quality, unique programs within a strong public university.

A natural alignment exists between UIC’s public mission and JMLS’s commitment to provide access and opportunity to students from underserved communities and to help fill the justice gap for citizens in the Chicago area. The new arrangement would fill a significant void in the country’s third largest city. Chicago is one of very few major cities in the United States without a public law school.

Any merger arrangement would require:

  • approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees;
  • approval by The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees;
  • degree approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education;
  • approval of a major change in operation from the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; 
  • approval from the Higher Learning Commission, which is a regional accreditor for both institutions.

The timeline for a merger would also depend on the steps needed to ensure a smooth transition for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of each institution.

Click here to read more.


December 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Advanced Legal Writing Seminar at the Chicago Bar Association

Kathleen Dillon NarkoProfessor Kathleen Dillon Narko will teach an Advanced Legal Writing Seminar at the Chicago Bar Association on December 1, 2017 from noon to 2:10 p.m. The program will earn attendees two Illinois MCLE credits.

Professor Narko teaches Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. She is a frequent presenter at national and regional Legal Writing Institute conferences, and has written and spoken on a variety of topics related to communication and legal analysis. Her research interests include collaboration and learning theory and integration of analytical communication in law practice. She received her her B.A. in history, cum laude, from Yale University and her J.D. from Cornell Law School. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Chicago Bar Association Record and is a former member of the Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers.

The program is free for CBA Members who have the CLE Advantage Package, $50 for CBA members who don't have the CLE Advantage Package, and $100 for persons who are not members of the Chicago Bar Association. If you miss the live program on December 1, 2017, you can rent the DVD version of it after the program. Contact the Chicago Bar Association for more information about registration or renting the DVD version of the program.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

November 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Charles Calleros

Charles Calleros has been named the Alan B. Matheson Fellow at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in Phoenix. This named professorship is awarded to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and service to the O’Connor College of Law. .    
Hat tip to Andrew M. Carter

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is Your Law School an Institutional Member of Scribes?

Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--has individual and institutional memberships. Any ABA-approved law school, federal or state appellate court, or law firm may become an institutional member. Institutional membership entitles each faculty member, judge, or attorney at the respective organizations to all the benefits of membership, including receiving the Scribes Journal, The Scrivener, and bi-weekly email tips on legal research, writing, and grammar. Additionally, law schools may induct students into the National Order of Scribes. It is an honorary organization to recognize graduating law students who excel in legal writing. Law schools who are members may annually nominate up to five students to be inducted into the National Order of Scribes. $650 per year or $350 per year for institutions with fewer than 10 members of its own.

The Scribes website lists 39 U.S. law schools as institutional members. The law schools that are institutional members are:

  • Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
  • California Western School of Law
  • Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law
  • Charlotte School of Law
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Florida Coastal School of Law
  • Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco
  • Hofstra University, Maurice A. Deane School of Law
  • Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College
  • Northern Kentucky University - Chase College of Law
  • Mercer University School of Law
  • Mississippi College School of Law
  • Oklahoma City University School of Law
  • Saint Louis University School of Law
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • South Texas College of Law
  • Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law
  • Southwestern Law School
  • Stetson University College of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Tech University School of Law
  • The John Marshall Law School - Chicago
  • The University of Texas School of Law
  • Western Michigan University - Cooley Law School
  • University of Akron, C. Blake McDowell Law Center
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law
  • University of Houston Law Center
  • University of La Verne College of Law
  • University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
  • University of Missouri School of Law
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law
  • University of Oklahoma Law Center
  • Valparaiso University School of Law
  • Washburn University School of Law
  • Western New England University School of Law
  • William Mitchell College of Law (now the Mitchell Hamline School of Law)

Click here for more information on membership in Scribes.



October 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Darby Dickerson Wins the 2018 AALS Section Award for Her Significant Lifetime Contributions to Legal Research and Writing

Darby DickersonDarby Dickerson, Dean of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section Award from the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to the field of legal research and writing. The award was created in 1995 and conferred for the first time at the 1996 AALS Annual Meeting. The award has sometimes been described as a “Lifetime Achievement Award in Legal Writing Education."

Darby Dickerson began her full-time academic career in 1995 as a legal writing professor at Stetson University College of Law in Florida. She soon became Director of Stetson’s Legal Writing program. She was one of the first legal writing professors to become dean of a law school. She has now served as the dean of three law schools—first Stetson, then Texas Tech University School of Law, and finally The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Dean Dickerson, now with many career accomplishments and public accolades, began teaching legal writing without job security or status. During the early years of her career, in addition to training students to succeed in practice, Dean Dickerson was a leader in professional organizations including the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), and the American Bar Association (ABA), working to bring recognition to legal writing professionals. Over her time as a dean, she has worked to improve the status of professors who teach legal writing at her law schools and has appointed many legal writing professors to associate dean and other high administrative positions. She has also worked to ensure pay equity for those who teach legal writing.

Dean Dickerson authored the first four editions of the ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation, a book praised for improving the teaching and learning of legal citation in the United States. Over the years, proceeds from the Manual helped ALWD fund summer scholarship grants for legal writing professors. Her academic and professional articles demonstrate a lifelong dedication to creating and sharing knowledge about the legal profession, including the ethics of legal writing, law school pedagogy, and the lawyer’s (and law professor’s) place in society.

Dean Dickerson is now a nationally-known leader in legal education. Besides serving on the Executive Committee of the AALS, she is also a Past Chair of several AALS sections, including the Deans’ Section and the Section on Institutional Advancement. She is also a past ALWD director. For many years she served as Managing Editor of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

In 2005, she received was the second person to receive the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the Darby Dickerson Award for Revolutionary Change in Legal Writing, named by the Association of Legal Writing Directors to honor her contributions to legal writing. And in 2016, National Jurist Magazine named her one of the “most influential people in legal education.”

Dean Dickerson is the Immediate Past President of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute and Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. She is active in the American Inns of Court, having been part of three Inns: the Mac Taylor Inn in Dallas; the Ferguson-White Inn of Court in Tampa (where she served on the Executive Board and as President); and the Texas Tech University School of Law Inn of Court in Lubbock (where she was a founding member and on the executive committee). She has also been active in bar activities at the local, state, and national level.

Darby Dickerson received her B.A. and M.A. from the College of William & Mary, and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. After graduation, she clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and then practiced commercial litigation with the law firm now known as Locke Lord in Dallas, Texas.

The 2018 Section award will be presented to Dean Dickerson at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego during the luncheon for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. That event will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2018, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. That luncheon is a ticketed event and tickets should be purchased when registering for the AALS Annual Meeting.

The 2018 AALS Awards Committee was made up of Linda Berger (UNLV), Janet Siegel Brown (Northwestern), Alyssa Dragnich (Arizona State), J. Lyn Entrikin (University of Arkansas at Little Rock), Suzanne Rowe (Oregon), Helene Shapo (Northwestern), and Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago). The award nominee was then approved by the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, which is chaired by Sabrina DeFabritiis (Suffolk). The Chair-Elect is Suzanna Moran (Denver), who will become Section Chair at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting. The Section Secretary is Wendy Adele Humphrey (Texas Tech School), who will become the Section Chair-Elect. The immediate past Section Chair is Bob Brain (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles). Other members of the Section Executive Committee are Rebekah Hanley (Oregon), Allison Martin (Indiana University-McKinney School of Law), Joseph Mastrosimone (Washburn), Anne Mullins (North Dakota), and Nancy Soonpaa (Texas Tech).

Here is the cumulative list of the 20 individuals who have won the Section Award from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research for lifetime contributions to the field of legal research and writing. (Some years are missing because the award was not presented that year.)

  • 1996 – Mary Lawrence (Oregon) [first recipient of the award]
  • 1997 – Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent)
  • 2002 – Helene Shapo (Northwestern)
  • 2003 – Laurel Currie Oates (Seattle)
  • 2005 – Marilyn Walter (Brooklyn)
  • 2006 – Terri LeClerq (Texas)
  • 2007 – Anne Enquist (Seattle)
  • 2008 – Eric Easton (Baltimore)
  • 2009 – Richard K. Neumann, Jr. (Hofstra)
  • 2010 – Joe Kimble (Thomas Cooley)
  • 2011 – Elizabeth Fajans (Brooklyn)
  • 2012 – Susan Brody (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) and Mary Barnard Ray (Wisconsin) [two winners that year]
  • 2013 – Terrill Pollman (UNLV) and Jill Ramsfield (Hawaii) [two winners that year]
  • 2014 – Jan Levine (Duquesne)
  • 2015 – Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago)
  • 2016 – Suzanne Rowe (Oregon)
  • 2017 – Linda B. Berger (UNLV)
  • 2018 – Darby Dickerson (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago)

Congratulations to Dean Darby Dickerson.

October 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Registration Open for the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers

Here's a reminder that registration is now open for the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Annual Conference. The Conference will be held on Friday, October 27, 2017 from 8:30-4:30, at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Registration is free.

To register, please follow this link:

Hat tip to Jessica Rubin, Director of Legal Practice and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.


September 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Suzanne Ehrenberg has Died

Ehrenberg-suzanneWe share today the sad news of the passing of Suzanne Ehrenberg, a Professor of Legal Research and Writing q5 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Professor Ehrenberg received her B.A. (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Williams College and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She practiced law for four years with the Chicago firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt and served as a staff attorney with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

She joined the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty in 1985 and became associate director of the Legal Writing Program in 1988. In 1998, she was a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. In 2001, she took a position with Northwestern University School of Law as a clinical associate professor. She returned to Chicago-Kent in 2004.

Professor Ehrenberg taught a broad range of courses, including legal research and writing, remedies, law and literature, corporations, communication and legal reasoning, and appellate procedure. She was married to Steven Greenberger, a law professor at DePaul University College of Law.

We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, colleagues, and students.


September 27, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Vermont is Hiring . . . Again!

Vermont Law SchoolIn addition to an earlier post about a legal writing position at Vermont Law School, the school also has an opening for its Assistant Director of theAcademic Success Program.  This is a 12-month faculty position.  A full description and required qualifications are posted on the Vermont Law School website. All applications should be submitted through the link on the website. 


Hat tip to Beth McCormack.




September 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Loyola-Chicago is Hiring

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is hiring for a newly created position: Director of Bar Success and Academic Support.  The job posting, which includes a detailed position description, qualifications for the position, and information about the application process, can be found at:

The Director of Bar Success and Academic Support will be responsible for developing and executing comprehensive programming to support student success throughout law school and the bar exam.  This position includes teaching classes and workshops, meeting individually with students, administering academic support programming, and tracking student performance and bar exam data to continually reassess the program and student needs. 

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others.  The Director of Bar Success and Academic Support will be a vital part of the School of Law's curriculum and mission.

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty and staff.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion (except where religion is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job), national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status or any other factor protected by law.


The position is not tenure-track and may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.  Additionally the person hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

Hat tip to Mary Ann Becker.



September 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congratulations to the Central States Legal Writing Conference

Congratulations to the Central States Legal Writing Conference Planning Committee (Debby McGregor, Cynthia Adams, Jim Dimitri, Allison Martin, and Joel Schumm) and to the host law school Indiana McKinney for a successful regional conference this past weekend. The reviews have been great!
Hat tip to Kim Chanbonpin, Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.


September 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Carol Didget at Suffolk University

Suffolk University Law School announced that it will have a Visiting Professor of Legal Writing for the 2017-2018 academic year, Carol Didget. Carol is teaching Legal Practice Skills I and II this year. She received her B.A. with honors in International Relations from Amherst College and graduated with her J.D. from Cornell Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Alvin Thompson of the District Court of Connecticut and then moved to practice litigation with the law firms Hinkley Allen and, later, Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault. She taught in New Zealand and South Africa before joining the Legal Practice Skills faculty at Suffolk from 2000 to 2003. She also served as an Adjunct at Suffolk in fall 2016 and now as a Visitor for the current academic year.

Hat tip to Kathleen Elliott Vinson, Professor of Legal Writing and Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy at Suffolk University Law School.


September 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)