The Teresa Godwin Phelps Award(s) for Scholarship in Legal Communication highlights LWI's discipline-building priority. As of 2017, this annual award recognizes outstanding scholarship that strengthens the discipline of legal communication. One or more awards are given each year for scholarly articles or essays; if warranted, additional awards may be presented for outstanding books within the discipline.
Naming these awards in honor of Terry Phelps recognizes her consistent support for and encouragement of others’ scholarly work and her own exemplary scholarship in narrative, international human rights, and legal rhetoric, including the foundational article that nourished and influenced all subsequent study of the field, The New Legal Rhetoric, 40 Sw. L.J. 1089 (1986). This article was the essential introduction to the idea that legal writing was itself a field worthy of serious study.
For the purposes of the award, discipline-building scholarship includes (a) scholarship on the theories, principles, practices, and conventions of legal communication and (b) scholarship fostering the development of legal writing and research as an independent field of study. Eligibility for the Phelps Awards is defined by the content of the scholarship—the discipline of legal communication—and not by the author’s faculty status, level of experience, or area(s) of teaching. The sole criterion for the awards is the quality of the individual work of scholarship.
The selection committee includes legal writing scholars and prior award winners.
The Phelps Award was designed by LWI’s Discipline Building Working Group.