Terri LeClerq Courage Award

Terri LeClercq has been and continues to be a daring and courageous legal writing specialist, teacher, and scholar. She has stood up for colleagues fighting battles against their schools' hierarchies, was arrested for peacefully protesting foreign military officer education at Ft. Benning's School of the Americas, and advocates for prisoners' civil rights. Her words and deeds embody the courage that this award seeks to foster.

Terri created the Courage Award to honor "courage writ large"concerning legal writing. Through the award, the Legal Writing Institute seeks to honor a member who has demonstrated courage by doing, despite fear, something that most people would not do. Such courage ight be demonstrated in any of the following ways: 

  • Personal Courage: The recipient might have done something extraordinary that reflects a commitment to the legal writing profession. A professor who overcame great adversity to teach legal writing or who overcame such adversity while continuing to teach legal writing would exemplify personal courage. 
  • Moral Courage: The recipient might have stood up to authority for a principled reason and despite personal or professional risk of ostracism or other negative consequences. An example of moral courage might include a professor who supported or stood up for a colleague or advocated to get a new type of controversial or out-of-the-box text published. 
  • Civil Courage: The recipient might have done something for the world at large despite personal adversity or other circumstances that required courage as defined above. For example, a recipient may have taught in a developing or emerging nation or worked on issues of political or social justice.

When submitting your nomination for an award recipient, please answer the following question: What is your definition of courage, and how do the nominee's actions fit? 

2016 Winner : Laurel Oates & Mimi Samuel

Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel of Seattle University received the third Terri LeClercq Courage Award at the gala on July 12, 2016, during the 2016 LWI Biennial Conference in Portland. Laurel and Mimi have consistently championed the role of legal communication in fostering just and effective legal systems around the world, and LWI is honored to be able to recognize their work.

Terri LeClercq created the Courage Award to honor “courage writ large” relating to legal writing and demonstrated in the form of personal, moral, or civil courage. Through the award, the Legal Writing Institute honors members who have demonstrated exemplary courage by doing, despite fear, something that most people would not do. Past recipients of the Courage Award are Ralph Brill and Molly Lien (jointly) and Terry Phelps.  

The LWI Awards Committee recommended, and the LWI Board enthusiastically agreed, that Laurel and Mimi should be the recipients of the third Courage Award. The selection is based on their demonstration of  extraordinary “courage writ large” concerning legal writing by conducting teaching-methods workshops in Afghanistan and by teaching legal writing in Russia, India, and numerous countries in Africa. The LWI Board enthusiastically agreed.