Award named after WMU-Cooley professor


Scribes (the American Society of Legal Writers) named the organization’s Service Award in honor of WMU-Cooley Distinguished Professor Emeritus Joseph Kimble. Kimble was informed of the honor during the organization’s annual CLE conference at the Oklahoma City University School of Law in April.  Pictured are (left to right) Darby Dickerson, dean of the John Marshall Law School and past president of Scribes; Kimble; attorney Kenneth L. Gartner, 2017 winner of the Joseph Kimble Distinguished Service Award; and Mark Wojcik, professor of law at the John Marshall Law School and president-elect of Scribes.   (Photo courtesy of WMU-Cooley)

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Distinguished Professor Emeritus Joseph Kimble was recently honored by Scribes (the American Society of Legal Writers) with the renaming of the organization's Distinguished Service Award to the Joseph Kimble Distinguished Service Award. Kimble, a former executive director and 15-year board member of Scribes, was surprised with the honor during Scribes' 2017 CLE conference at the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Scribes was founded in 1953 and is the oldest organization devoted to improving legal writing and honoring legal writers. Kimble joined the organization's board of directors in 2001, when he became the editor in chief of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, a position he held for 11 years. He is now senior editor of the Journal. In 2005, Kimble was appointed as executive director and served dual roles with the organization for the next five years.

"No one has ever deserved an award such as this more than Joe," said Professor Ralph Brill, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, coauthor of "A Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs" and eminent figure in the field of legal writing. "His work instilling the goal of writing in plain English is so important and has been so successful."

Kimble joined WMU-Cooley in 1984. He is the longtime editor of the "Plain Language" column in the Michigan Bar Journal. He has published dozens of articles on legal writing and written two acclaimed books-"Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language" and "Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law."

When speaking about Kimble's work teaching attorneys and law students to use plain language in legal documents, Professor Laurel Oates, Seattle University School of Law and cofounder of the Legal Writing Institute, said, "Joe Kimble has, in fact, changed the world."

Published: Tue, May 23, 2017