About LWI


The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving legal communication by supporting the development of teaching and scholarly resources and establishing forums to discuss the study, teaching, and practice of professional legal writing. We believe that effective legal communication is critical to the wellbeing of society, the judicial system, and the legal profession.


LWI was founded in 1985 by Laurel Oates and Chris Rideout, who hosted a legal writing conference at the University of Puget Sound School of Law in 1984.  That conference gave birth to LWI’s scholarly journal, Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute; a newsletter now known as The Second Draft, which features essays, book reviews, and shorter articles on legal writing pedagogy; what is now known as the Teaching Bank, plans for national conferences, and the ideaof the Institute itself. See Mary S. Lawrence, The Legal Writing Institute, The Beginning: Extraordinary Vision, Extraordinary Accomplishment, 11 J. Leg. Writing 213, 214 (2005).  Today, more than thirty-five years later, LWI is going strong.  With over 1,700 members, LWI continues to support legal writing teaching and scholarship, as well as work to improve the status of legal writing faculty nationwide.

For more information on LWI’s status efforts, click here.
For a complete history of the Legal Writing Institute, view the timeline below and read Mary Lawrence's article.
To hear Chris Rideout talk about the original conference, click here.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Legal Writing Institute is committed to a policy against discrimination and in favor of equal opportunity for all of its members regardless of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, domestic partnership, marital status, family status, immigration status, or any other characteristic protected by law. As an organization committed to clear communication and attuned to the power of words, we follow the lead of diverse communities and aim to mirror the ever-evolving language they use to define themselves.

Board of Directors

The LWI Board of Directors establishes LWI's policies and priorities, and Board members contribute to the planning and operation of LWI's publications, projects, events, conferences, and workshops. The Board works closely with more than 20 volunteer committees and editorial boards to carry out these initiatives. Board members serve four-year terms, with about half the members elected every two years.

View Full Board

Become a Member

Become a General Member: Anyone who is interested in legal writing or the teaching of legal writing may subscribe to LWI's email distribution list. To learn more about LWI's publications, resources, conferences, and workshops, become a general member.