Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ken Adams to Receive the LWI Golden Pen Award

The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) has announced that Ken Adams is the recipient of the 2014 Golden Pen Award. The author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, published by the American Bar Association, Mr. Adams is an internationally known expert in legal drafting. The award will be presented during the 2014 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, June 29-July 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. 

The LWI Awards Committee recommended Mr. Adams for the 2014 Golden Pen to recognize his exemplary work in contract drafting at a time when transactional law is increasingly important in the overall legal writing curriculum. The LWI Board unanimously approved the Awards Committee's recommendation.

The Golden Pen Award honors those who make significant contributions to advance the cause of better legal writing.  These contributions may take any form, such as promoting the use of clear language in public documents, improving the quality of legal writing instruction, advocating for better writing within the legal community, outstanding scholarship or journalism about legal writing or legal topics, or exceptional writing in law practice.  The award is normally given to someone who is not an active member of LWI, but active members may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

According to The Lawyers Weekly, “in the world of contract drafting, Ken Adams is the guru.” The nomination submitted to the LWI Awards Committee echoed this assessment, stating that “Ken is the author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, simply the best guide to contract language—ever.” It went on to say that “[he] focuses on the language of contracts—not what you express in a given contract provision, but how to express it in modern and effective contract language. On that subject, he is without peer; no one else comes close.”

Mr. Adams’s blog is consistently listed in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (designated as the top 100 law-related blogs).  He also has been recognized by the ABA Journal as one of the leading innovators in the legal profession. As another blog put it, 

Mr. Adams has been recognized as a “Legal Rebel,” a lawyer dedicated to remaking the profession. Ken’s mission is to reform the way lawyers draft contracts. He’d like to see useless words, phrases, and clauses eliminated, and the remaining provisions translated into readable English. If your practice involves drafting contracts, then you should own a well-worn copy of Ken’s book, A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and you should read his blog regularly.

Mr. Adams practiced transactional law for more than 15 years and was a lecturer in law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 2006 to 2012, where he taught the school’s first course on contract drafting. He currently provides seminars throughout the U.S., Canada, and internationally (see

Previous recipients of the Golden Pen award are
  • Arthur Levitt, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • Don LeDuc, Dean of the Thomas Cooley Law School;
  • Linda Greenhouse, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times;
  • the late Honorable Robert E. Keeton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts;
  • Richard Wydick, Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law;
  • the Honorable Ronald M. George, the Honorable Carol A. Corrigan, and the Honorable James D. Ward, Justices of the Supreme Court of California and the California Court of Appeal;
  • the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit;
  • the National Association of Attorneys General; William C. Burton, Esq.;
  • George Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric in the English Department at Duke University; and Jeffrey Rosen, Professor of Law at The George Washington University and President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center.
The Legal Writing Institute Awards Committee is co-chaired by Hether Macfarlane (Pacific McGeorge) and Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago). Other members of the awards committee are Jill Barton, Kirsten Dauphinais, Jennifer Lear, and Lou Sirico. 
Hat tips to LWI President Melissa H. Weresh and LWI President-Elect Linda L. Berger

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