Elon Law administrator honored with legal writing award

Associate Dean Sue Liemer will receive the 2024 Association of American Law Schools Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Section Award during the organization’s January meeting in Washington, D.C.

A longtime law professor and administrator who has continued to guide the growth of Elon Law’s Legal Method & Communication program is the latest recipient of a national award that recognizes “outstanding contribution(s) to the field of legal writing, reasoning and research.”

Associate Dean Sue Liemer will receive the 2024 Association of American Law Schools Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Section Award in January when professors and law school leaders from across the United States convene in Washington, D.C., for the country’s largest annual meeting for legal educators.

Sue Liemer, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at Elon University School of Law. (Photo by Elliott Millner L’23)

News of her selection was officially shared with Liemer on September 21, 2023, in a gathering of her Elon Law colleagues. “The legal writing community is like no other in the legal academy, supporting each other while constantly being at the forefront of innovations in legal education,” Liemer said afterward. “It’s exciting to be recognized by this group!”

Accomplished professors representing five law schools co-authored a nomination letter that detailed Liemer’s prolific contributions to the field of legal writing.

After graduating from Princeton University, Liemer worked as an advertising copywriter before earning her Juris Doctor at the University of Virginia. In 1990, she began teaching legal writing as the director of the program at the Western New England University School of Law.

Liemer followed that role with faculty positions at the University of Mississippi and Southern Illinois University School of Law where she served for 17 years as director of the Lawyering Skills Program.

A tireless advocate for the legal writing community, Liemer served from 1998-2000 as president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and she served a four-year term on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute. She also created and co-edited the Legal Writing Professors’ Blog, which was twice listed in the ABA Journal’s top law blogs.

Legal Methods & Communication Program faculty at Elon Law are (from left) Assistant Professor Bob Minarcin, Associate Professor Sara Ochs, Writing Specialist Janet Keefer, Associate Dean & Professor Sue Liemer, Assistant Professor Chrystal Clodomir, Associate Professor Catherine Wasson, Assistant Professor Srikanth Reddy, and Assistant Professor Caroleen Dineen, interim director of the LMC program. (Photo by Elliott Millner L’23)

Liemer joined the Elon Law faculty in 2017 and was appointed Elon Law’s associate dean for academic affairs in 2021.

The nomination letter described Liemer as “a national leader” with “few peers and no superiors.” The most striking feature of her career has been her “indefatigable support and mentoring” of new teachers and directors.

Liemer has been published more than three dozen times, with a majority of articles focused on legal writing with her other scholarly interests in intellectual property. She has been widely cited by other scholars of legal writing as the author of landmark articles in the field, her nominators wrote, with dozens of presentations at conferences, schools, and other organizations.

“We believe that over the more than three decades of her career as a teacher Sue has made exactly the type of outstanding contributions to the field of legal writing contemplated by the award criteria,” the nominators wrote. “She has nurtured and motivated students at four law schools, helped legal writing educators at those schools and others to improve their teaching skills and programs, and has created and integrated new ideas for teaching and motivating teachers and students.”

The 2024 AALS Annual Meeting, with a theme of “Defending Democracy,” is scheduled for January 3-6, 2024, in Washington, D.C.