Click on the links below to read more about awards and scholarships given by LWI:

Blackwell Award

Golden Pen Award

Legal Writing Scholarships

2015 Awards:


The 2015 Blackwell Award:


The Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute are proud to announce that the 2015 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing will be awarded to Helen Shapo, Professor of Law Emerita at Northwestern University School of Law.

The Blackwell Award Reception will be held from 8-10 p.m. on Friday, January 2, 2015, during the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

The Boards of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) jointly created this distinguished award to honor the life of our colleague, Tom Blackwell. The award is presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of Legal Writing by demonstrating:

  • an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence;
  • a willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or their legal writing programs;
  • and an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.

 Helene exemplifies these qualities and has been a pioneer in the legal writing field. As explained in her nomination letter:

[T]hroughout her 35-year career in the LRW field, she has quietly but firmly pushed for both more and more diversified course offerings and for more credits for those courses, better faculty salaries and status, and greater job security.

In just about every way possible over her incredible career, Helene has been an innovator and a leader in our field. Through her writing, speaking, service, and curriculum design, she has been a guiding light in advancing the discipline of Legal Writing, improving the way it is taught to students, and improving the status and security of Legal Writing faculty.

The 2015 Golden Pen Award:

(Information will be posted when available)



2014 Awards:


The 2014 Blackwell Award:

The Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute awarded the 2014 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing to Jan Levine at the AALS Conference in New York City. Jan is an Associate Professor and Director of Legal Research and Writing at Duquesne University School of Law.

As stated in the letter nominating him for the Blackwell Award, Jan exemplifies the qualities honored by this award in several important ways:

For a quarter of a century, he has brought practical strategies for better legal writing education to his students. Through his work as a legal writing director, he has upgraded the legal writing programs at four very different law schools – Virginia, Arkansas-Fayetteville, Temple, and Duquesne – improving directly the legal education of all the students at those schools. In addition, his conference presentations, service, and scholarship have helped an entire generation of legal writing professors innovate and professionalize, helping to improve the legal skills training of many more students across the country.  There are scores of legal writing professors and program directors who have benefitted from [his] assistance with their careers and his tireless mentoring, consulting, and strategizing. 


The 2014 Golden Pen Award

Ken Adams is the recipient of the 2014 Golden Pen Award. The author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, published by the ABA, 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 this recommendation.

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. 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