Scholarship in Legal Communication Awards Named in Honor of Professor Phelps
The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the Teresa Godwin Phelps Award(s) for Scholarship in Legal Communication. The creation of the Phelps Awards – named after Professor Phelps, who directs the Legal Rhetoric Program at American University Washington College of Law – supports LWI's discipline-building priority. Starting in 2017, the annual awards will recognize outstanding scholarship that strengthens the discipline of legal communication. One or more awards will be 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 will include (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 will be 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 award will be the quality of the individual work of scholarship.
An inaugural selection committee made up of established legal writing scholars will establish the award selection process and recommend recipients to the LWI Board. In subsequent years, past recipients of the Phelps Awards will join the selection committee.
LWI thanked these members of the inaugural selection committee for agreeing to serve:
- Lisa Eichhorn, Director of Legal Writing & Professor of Law, University of South Carolina School of Law
- Elizabeth Fajans, Associate Professor of Legal Writing, Brooklyn Law School
- Ian Gallacher, Professor of Law & Director of Legal Communication & Research, Syracuse University School of Law
- Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Associate Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law
- Kate O'Neill, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
The Phelps Awards are an initiative of LWI’s Discipline-Building Working Group, which is chaired by Ellie Margolis and includes Linda Berger, Sherri Keene, Anne Ralph, Ruth Anne Robbins, and Nantiya Ruan. The DBWG was formed during the summer of 2015 to work toward LWI's priority goal of building the discipline and focuses on activities in four primary areas:
1. building understanding of what discipline building might include;
2. persuading target audiences about its value;
3. supporting the authors of discipline-building scholarship; and
4. strengthening its impact and influence.