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Elon Law faculty participate in national legal writing conference

Four members of the faculty at Elon Law travelled to Florida to participate in the 14th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, held June 27 through July 1.

Catherine Wasson, associate professor of law and director of legal research and writing, was joined by assistant professors of law Tom Noble and Robert Parrish, and assistant professor of legal writing Patricia Perkins at the conference. More than 650 colleagues from across the country and world participated in workshops and programs designed to promote the exchange of information and ideas about legal writing teaching and scholarship.

Wasson participated in the conference as small group leader for a workshop titled, “Critiquing Student Work,” aimed at helping new teachers learn how to give effective feedback on student papers. She also co-hosted a breakfast for new directors of legal writing programs and was recognized for eight years of service on the editorial board of the Legal Writing Institute’s peer-edited journal, Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

At the conference the four Elon Law professors attended more than 50 sessions on topics such as assessment planning, teaching methods, curriculum and program development, legal research, learning theory, composition and rhetoric, and professional development.

Started in 1984, the Legal Writing Institute now includes a membership of more than 2100 professors representing all ABA-accredited law schools in the United States, legal educators from several foreign countries, as well as members from college English departments, independent research-and-consulting organizations, and the practicing bar. The Institute sponsors the Golden Pen award, to honor persons who have “made an extraordinary contribution to the cause of better legal writing.” Past recipients include Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission; former N.Y. Times Supreme Court Reporter Linda Greenhouse; and members of the California Judicial Council’s “Plain Language Jury Instructions” project. It also sponsors the Thomas Blackwell Award, which is given to a legal writing professor who has demonstrated “the ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence,” as well as a willingness to help colleagues improve their teaching skills and their legal writing programs. The award celebrates the life of Thomas F. Blackwell, a legal writing professor at the Appalachian School of Law who was killed in a law school shooting in January 2002.

Philip Craft,
1/26/2011 4:09 AM