State - MSU Law writing specialist wins national contest award

EAST LANSING, MI -- Professor Jeremy Francis, writing skills specialist at Michigan State University College of Law, has won the Legal Writing Institute's Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award for his article on helping law students develop their own sense of style in their legal writing.

Francis' article, "Finding Your Voice While Learning to Dance," appeared in the fall 2009 issue of The Second Draft (PDF), the LWI's biannual newsletter. The Hecht Award is given every other year to the legal writing specialist who submits the best article in terms of effectiveness, clarity, and style. The award was created in memory of Deborah Hecht, the founder of Touro University School of Law's Legal Writing Center and an active LWI member until her death in 2005.

"Professor Francis' commitment to guiding students through the legal writing process is an important factor in MSU Law's excellent Research, Writing, and Advocacy program," said Joan Howarth, dean of MSU College of Law. "We are very pleased that the Legal Writing Institute has recognized Professor Francis' fine work with this national award."

The LWI will officially present the award at its biennial conference on Sunday, June 27. This year's conference will be held on Marco Island, Florida.

With more than 2,100 members representing 38 countries, the Legal Writing Institute is the second-largest organization of law professors in the United States. Physically housed at Mercer University School of Law in Savannah, Georgia, the LWI seeks to improve legal writing through publications and events focused on legal writing, analysis, and research.

Professor Francis works in tandem with MSU Law's Research, Writing, and Advocacy instructors to reinforce first-year students' grammar and punctuation skills and to teach students the conventions of legal style. His workshops, one-on-one instruction, and optional seminars help prepare students to pass a required proficiency test by the end of their first year. A former high school teacher, Professor Francis taught prospective English teachers through Michigan State University's Teacher Education and English departments before joining the MSU College of Law in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in English education from MSU in 2007.

Published: Tue, Jun 29, 2010