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Elon Law faculty contribute to international legal writing conference

Associate Professor Catherine Wasson and Professor Sue Liemer served as facilitators and panelists at a biennial gathering of scholars from around the world who focus their teaching on legal research and writing.

Elon Law Associate Professor Catherine Wasson (left) and Professor Sue Liemer

Two Elon Law professors took part this summer in the biennial conference of a nonprofit professional association of directors of legal reasoning, research, writing, analysis, and advocacy programs from law schools throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.

Professor Catherine Wasson, director of Upper Level Writing at Elon Law, and Professor Sue Liemer, director of Elon Law's Legal Method & Communication Program, traveled to the University of Minnesota Law School from July 19-21 to share knowledge and insights with colleagues who are members of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

The theme of the ALWD 2017 conference – “Acknowledging Lines: Talking About What Unites and Divides Us” – was chosen, in part, to respond to the officer-involved shooting of Philando Castile only a few miles from the conference site. Castile had his death captured on a Facebook Live stream when his girlfriend videoed the 2016 fatal encounter with a local police officer.

Four invited speakers addressed the impact that implicit and explicit bias have on institutions & classrooms, and on colleagues, students, and themselves. Wasson served as a facilitator for two small-group discussions during which conference attendees explored issues raised by the speakers in more depth. 

Other conference sessions focused on teaching and scholarship. Liemer took part on the “Doing More with Less, or Just Doing Less: Responses to the Tension Between Scholarship and Teaching” panel discussion with faculty from four different law schools. She also participated in the separate ALWD Innovative Teaching Workshop, which took place before the start of the larger conference began, speaking on the theme of “Introducing First-Year Law Students to Emerging Technologies.” 

Established in 1996, ALWD seeks to help law schools provide excellent legal writing instruction by supporting the administration of legal writing programs; enhancing the leadership skills and professional development of legal writing professionals; supporting members’ teaching, research, and scholarship; and advocating on behalf of the discipline of legal writing within the legal academy and the legal profession. 

Liemer served as ALWD president in 1999/2000 and as its corporate secretary for the last eight years. Wasson has been on the organization’s board of directors since 2010, and has served as treasurer since 2015.

Eric Townsend,
8/9/2017 5:10 PM