National legal writing group honors Elon Law professor

Assistant Professor Tiffany Atkins L’11 received the Outstanding Service Award from the Association of Legal Writing Directors for her work co-chairing the group’s Biennial Leadership Academy Subcommittee.

Assistant Professor Tiffany D. Atkins L’11

An Elon Law faculty member has been honored for her work over the past year in helping to organize professional development programs that were open to legal writing professors at law schools across the United States.

The Association of Legal Writing Directors recently presented Assistant Professor Tiffany Atkins L’11 with its Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her work co-chairing the organization’s Biennial Leadership Academy Subcommittee.

“When we needed leaders for the Leadership Academy subcommittee this year, Tiffany, thankfully, raised her hand,” said Professor Katrina Lee of The Ohio State University, who served as president at ALWD for 2020-2021. “Under Tiffany and her co-chair’s leadership, the Leadership Academy reached new heights. As I said when I presented her with the award, Tiffany is amazing, and we’re so very grateful to her for her service.”

Initially selected two years ago to co-chair the same subcommittee, Atkins readily agreed to stay in her role through 2021 after the first Biennial Leadership Academy she helped organize was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was important to me to continue this work because leadership is a critical aspect of our role as lawyers and law professors tasked with training future lawyer-leaders,” she said. “Helping fellow law professors identify their leadership strengths, how to lead with empathy and with intentional focus on mentoring others – especially those from historically excluded groups – is how we change and improve both the legal academy and the legal profession for the better.”

For three weeks this spring, she and committee co-chair Sam Moppett of Suffolk Law helped lead 30 participants and facilitators in weekly sessions on topics such as mentorship, handling difficult conversations, promoting equity and inclusion in leadership, and wellness.

The Leadership Academy culminated in a graduation program during the Biennial ALWD Conference where participants shared take-aways and what they hoped to incorporate into their teaching. “It was such a powerful moment of reflection,” Atkins said. “I am encouraged by what they all shared and believe we’ll see the impact of the Academy through their future work. As Marian Wright Edelman once said, ‘Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.’”

Atkins graduated from Elon Law in 2011 as the recipient of the David Gergen Award for Leadership and Professionalism. She taught in the Legal Method & Communication Program from 2016-2018, then spent a year at Wake Law’s Legal Analysis, Writing and Research program before rejoining the Elon Law faculty.

At Elon Law, Atkins has received national attention for her 2020 article “#ForTheCulture: Generation Z and the Future of Legal Education” in the Michigan Journal of Race and Law.

She is a member of the law school’s Antiracism Working Group and recently joined the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers, a community of law teachers, law school administrators, librarians, academic support experts, students and affiliates “working for more than 40 years to improve the legal profession, the law academy and expand the power of law to under-served communities.”

Prior to her entry into legal education, Atkins worked for several years in Greensboro at Legal Aid of North Carolina. She is a graduate of UNC Greensboro’s Political Science and African-American Studies programs.