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The Second Draft - Volume 33, No. 1

Letter from the President

  • Kristen K. Tiscione
    Professor of Law, Legal Practice
    Georgetown University Law Center

Dear LWI Colleagues,

I’m having a hard time believing this will be my last Letter from the President before my term ends. The time has flown by, and as a community dedicated to improving the teaching and discipline of legal writing and the status of legal writing faculty, we have done a tremendous amount of good work together.


Visual Identity Manual Approved

In October, the Board approved the first visual identity manual for LWI, which will ensure a uniform look and feel to all LWI and LWI-related communications. Many thanks go to the Public Relations and Social Media (PR&SM) Committee, Ruth Anne Robbins (chair), Leslie Culver, Brad Desnoyer, Joe Fore, Kim Hoist, Steve Homer, Susan King, and Tracy McGaugh Norton, as well as Iselin Gambert, Communications and Public Relations Officer, for their expertise, time, and dedication in drafting the manual. The manual is available for review on the website at and will go into effect April 1, 2020.

The PR&SM Committee and Iselin have now turned their attention to developing policies and procedures for LWI to engage actively, intentionally, and strategically with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Professional Status Committee Publishes Article on Eliminating ABA Standard 405(d) and Introduces Toolkits to Help Improve Status

As a follow-up to my last message, we are proud to inform you that the Professional Status Committee’s first published article, arguing that all skills-based faculty should be entitled to security of position equal to ABA Standard 405(c), is now available here.

In addition, the first two of four planned toolkits, designed to help members dealing with issues relating to salary and security of position are now posted on the Professional Status Committee webpage, Look for two more kits on workload and voting rights in the coming months.

Thanks to committee members, Mary Bowman (co-chair), Melissa Weresh (co-chair), David Austin, Heidi Brown, Olympia Duhart, Lyn Entrikin, Lucy Jewel, Suzanne Rowe, Amy Sloan, and Craig Smith
for this important work.


At the January 2020 AALS Annual Meeting in D.C., the Association of Legal Writing Directors and LWI were pleased to present the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing to Brad Clary, a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. Professor Clary served the legal writing community for thirty-seven years at his home institutions, as the President of ALWD, as a principal contributor to the second edition of the Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs (ABA, 2d ed. 2006), as ALWD Liaison to the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and as an adored teacher and mentor to students and faculty.


Our Fall 2019 One-Day Workshops were a terrific success, with topics ranging from Ethics and Professionalism in Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy to Developing Life-Long Learners. Our sincere thanks to the following schools and site chairs for hosting and organizing these workshops:

• Charleston School of Law, Jennifer L. North

• Florida International Univ. College of Law, Margaret Brenan Correoso and Marci Rosenthal

• Gonzaga Univ. School of Law, Kevin Shelley, Sandra Simpson, and Lisa Bradley

• Penn State Dickinson Law, Tiffany Jeffers

• Rutgers Law School, Amy Soled

• SMU Dedman School of Law, Ruth Cross and Dr. Beverly C. Dureus

• St. Mary’s Univ. School of Law, Afton Cavanaugh

• Univ. of Alabama School of Law, Anita Kay Head and ary Ksobiech

• Univ. of California–Irvine, Rachel Croskery-Roberts

• Univ. of Iowa College of Law, Chris Liebig

• Univ. of Massachusetts School of Law, Julie A. Baker

• Univ. of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, DeShun Harris and Jodi Wilson

• York Univ. Osgood Hall Law School & Univ. of Toronto Law, Shelley Kierstead, Yemisi Dina, Katherine Lopez, and Alexia Loumankis


Spurred on by recommendations from the Second Draft Editorial Board, the LWI Board of Directors has been working for a few years now on how to improve access to LWI publications from our website. To make a long story short, and after reviewing several proposals, the Board decided this fall to pursue the option of building a new publications portal with our current website developer, Brick Factory. Once launched, the portal will make it possible to access individual articles (rather than an entire issue or volume) online and use keywords to search for articles on our website on a given subject across the publications listed above. The portal is currently in production, and we hope to launch it before the end of the semester. Our major scholarly journal, the Journal of the legal Writing institute, will continue to be hosted by Apex on its own site, but as is the case now, our website will link to the journal site from the new publications landing page. 


The conference committee looks forward to seeing you all at Georgetown Law July 15-18, 2020 for the 19th Biennial Conference, Teaching, Writing, and Thriving at All Stages. For conference updates and registration information, visit the conference website at Be sure to register early for  a discount! We are particularly excited to be hosting the gala on Friday, July 17, from 6-10 p.m. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the only major museum in the world dedicated solely to championing women through the arts.


We are thrilled to announce that the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference is scheduled for July 1416, 2021 and will be hosted by The City Law School, University of London. We are grateful for the efforts of Robert Mcpeake, Principal Lecturer and conference co-founder, for his efforts in bringing us back to where it all started! We will inform you with more details as they are finalized.



Last, but not least, we are thrilled to announce that the 20th biennial conference will go back to “the crossroads” at Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, July 13-16 for 2022. Congratulations to Dean Andrew Klein and Professors Adams and Schumm for their impressive proposal. From Boulder in 2019 to D.C. in 2020, to London in 2021, and then back to Indy in 2022, we have many exciting conferences lined up!


When you read this message, I will have just a few months left as President before Kim Holst adeptly steps into that role in July 2020. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors, let alone become President, of an organization that has given me so much in terms of intellectual and emotional support in my legal writing career over the years.

For this biennium, the major goals we set for the Board were threefold:

• to continue the work of two relatively new Board committees, the Discipline Building Working Group and the Professional Status Committee;

• to improve the professional look and feel as well as the currency and content of all LWI Communications, including the website; and

• to improve Board communication with and provide support for our many members serving on committees, particularly the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

As for the first goal, we have continued to support our members’ scholarship through grants, workshops, and retreats; introduced new and unique formats for engaging in scholarship and consumption of scholarship; published an excellent article on the inadequacies of ABA Standard 405(d); and launched two new toolkits on salary and security of position issues. We hope the article and toolkits will serve to strengthen our existing support for members struggling with status issues.

As for the second goal, with the help of the Public Relations & Social Media Committee, we designed and approved the first Visual Identity Manual on behalf of LWI, which will result in a more uniform and streamlined look for our organization’s communications, and we will soon launch a new and improved page to showcase and search LWI publications. Although we have made vast improvements to our website, we have more work to do in addressing the challenges associated with keeping its content current and fresh.

As for the third and final goal, we implemented new procedures for Board members to stay in touch with our member committees and provide support for their work, including monetary support. We have also worked hard to recognize and celebrate new voices. That commitment is reflected in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s successful Happy Hour (cohosted with ALWD) at the ALWD Conference in May 2019, as well as in our new Influential Teaching Award and Emerging Scholar’s Award, to be given for the first time in July 2020. Despite these efforts, I believe we still have more work to do in partnering with ALWD to further diversity and inclusion within our organization as well as in the legal writing classroom.

In closing, I extend my sincere thanks to the 2018-2020 LWI Board of Directors, the members of the Executive Committee, the chairs and members of LWI’s many committees, One-Day workshop hosts, conference chairs and volunteers, and all those who have helped LWI thrive. Many of these contributions go unsung but not unnoticed. We could not do it without you.


Kristen K. Tiscione