Consistently ranked as one of the nation's top programs and led by award-winning full-time faculty, University of Arizona Law's Legal Writing Program is a leader in innovative, student-centric courses and materials, professional service, and scholarship that advances the field.
In addition to the accomplishments and initiatives we share below, our Legal Writing faculty are responsible for some of our most popular beyond-the-classroom activities and content, from Sylvia Lett's monthly Short Story Club, to Joy Herr-Cardillo's ('84) end-of-semester Escape Room review session, to a must-see orientation video demonstrating exactly what not to do on Zoom.

Legal Writing Program faculty (l-r): Joy Herr-Cardillo, Sylvia Lett, Diana Simon, Susie Salmon, Carolyn Williams, and Tessa Dysart.

This group of diverse, active scholars lead at a local, regional, and national level. They serve on boards of directors and in the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Arizona Public Media, the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, and more.
I encourage you to read through the latest Legal Writing highlights below. I'm proud of the work they've done and am eager to see what they accomplish next!

We also note the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this past week. Please join us virtually this Thursday evening for a special conversation with Arizona Law faculty on the influence Justice Ginsburg has had on the law (see details below, "Around the College").

Until the footnotes,

Spotlight on the Legal Writing Program
Renowned Journal of Appellate Practice and Process Finds New Home at Arizona Law

After two decades at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's William H. Bowen School of Law, the Journal of Appellate Practice and Process has transferred to Arizona Law

Tessa Dysart (upper right), assistant director of legal writing and clinical professor of law, is the publication's new editor in chief. Diana Simon (lower right), associate professor of legal writing and an assistant clinical professor, will serve as the managing editor. Additional legal writing faculty will be involved as editors. 

Following the Journal's move, Arizona Law entered an innovative partnership with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) to collaborate on publishing the influential journal. Among the changes coming to the Journal through this collaboration are a conversion from print to online-only editions and the end of the paid subscription model. This move will expand the global reach of the Journal, both in terms of readership and article submission. 

Contact to subscribe to the journal.

Director Susie Salmon Named President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute

Professor Susie Salmon, director of our Legal Writing Program, has been named president-elect of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) for the 2020-22 biennium and president for the 2022-24 biennium. Salmon recently finished a three-year term on the board of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. 

She says, 

"Legal education will be forever changed by the events of 2020, and legal-writing professors -- with our focus on rhetoric and pedagogy -- have found ourselves uniquely prepared to meet the challenges of this historical moment. LWI and its members must lead the academy through this opportunity for disruptive change."

Arizona Law's Legal Writing Escape Room Engages Students

Professor Joy Herr-Cardillo ('84) is the mastermind behind Arizona Law's "Escape the Semester" legal-writing escape room review session. The escape room has been held the past two academic years, and plans are underway to go virtual this year. 

Herr-Cardillo also spearheaded the program's innovative 1L Legal Research, Analysis and Communication curriculum, which in many cases incorporates a Team Based Learning strategy.

Professor Salmon with a team of law students after they successfully completed the Legal Writing Program's "Escape the Semester" review session last year. Students are (l-r): Jordan Walker, Juno McCallum, Amber Rudnick, and Steven Shedd.

A team of Professor Carolyn Williams's students working on last year's "Escape the Semester" challenge, (l-r) Harry Yadav, Marit Haugan, Savannah Knight, Devin Kern, and Will Fortna.

Carolyn Williams Selected as Editor of ALWD Guide to Legal Citation

The board of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) selected Carolyn Williams, associate professor of legal writing and associate clinical professor of law, as the new editor of the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, published by Wolters-Kluwer. Williams was selected through a highly competitive process in which prospective editors submitted proposals describing and illustrating how they would revise the ALWD Guide for its seventh edition. 

Forthcoming Book from Tessa Dysart to Focus on "Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era"

Assistant Director Tessa Dysart, recently promoted to clinical professor of law and awarded continuing status, is co-editing a book with Professor Tracy Norton of Touro Law. "Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom," forthcoming from Carolina Academic Press in 2021, moves beyond the pandemic teaching of Spring 2020 and explores best practices for creating and delivering quality legal education in an online format. The book will contain over 30 chapters written by law teachers from across the country on topics from building community to creating effective online, hybrid, or asynchronous courses.

New Podcast "Practice in Place: Law and Justice Go Viral"

In response to the massive shifts the profession is facing in the wake of COVID-19, the Legal Writing program has launched the podcast, "Practice in Place: Law and Justice Go Viral." Created, produced and hosted by Susie Salmon, the podcast features in-depth interviews between legal writing faculty and attorneys and judges who are adapting during the pandemic. Episodes have covered topics such as private prisons, #AppellateTwitter, and how courts are continuing to serve the public under COVID-19 constraints.

You are also invited to attend the related LawCats Live webinar, to be held Thursday, October 1, at 12:15 (PST). Register here.

Sylvia Lett Named an AALS Teacher of the Year

Sylvia Lett, associate professor of legal writing and assistant clinical professor of law, was one of four Arizona Law recipients of an Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Teacher of the Year Award. Lett's courses include Intro to the U.S. Legal System; Legal Research, Analysis, and Communication; and Law and Humanities. She is also a core faculty member in Arizona Law's online Foreign Diplomat Training Program, earning rave reviews from students, such as, 

"I loved how Professor Lett made everything easier. After reading the lectures, I had doubts or didn't comprehend at all some terms or processes, and she explained all, making it look so easy. I felt like I was at the university and she was standing in front of me."

Susie Salmon Honored with Edith Sayre Auslander Established Visionary Award

Susie Salmon was recognized by the University of Arizona Commission on the Status of Women, Equity, and Mentoring (CSW) as a recipient of the 2020 Edith Sayer Auslander Established Visionary Award. This award honors leaders who exemplify the vision set out by the original Arizona Board of Regents Commission in 1990. Vision Award recipients cultivate diversity and actively advance CSW goals relating to campus climate, career and professional development, and issues of equity and inclusion.

Diana Simon Wins Global Legal Skills Award for Groundbreaking Research in Cross-cultural Legal Education

Diana Simon, associate professor of legal writing and an assistant clinical professor, received a Global Legal Skills Award for her research on cross-cultural differences in plagiarism, detailed in her Dusquesne Law Review article, "Cross-Cultural Differences in Plagiarism: Fact or Fiction?" The award was presented to her during the 14th Global Legal Skills Conference at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. 

Tessa Dysart
  • Co-author (with Judges Aldisert and Southwick), Winning on Appeal (NITA 3d. Edition 2017)
  • In Search of Sound Judg(e?)ment, 21 The Green Bag 195 (2018)
  • Managing editor of Appellate Advocacy Blog (added to list of best legal blogs by ABA in 2018)

Joy Herr-Cardillo
  • "Escape the Ordinary: How to Close Out Your Semester with a Challenging "Escape Room" Competition," The Second Draft, Vol. 33 (Spring 2020) at 34

Sylvia Lett
  • Forthcoming piece in newsletter of AALS section on Balance in Legal Education

Susie Salmon
  • "Reconstructing the Voice of Authority," 51 Akron L. Rev. 143 (2017) (also selected for publication in Legal Writing Institute's Monograph on Moot Court)
  • Co-author (with Mark A. Hannah), "Against the Grain: The Secret Role of Dissents in Integrating Rhetoric Across the Curriculum," 20 Nev. L. J. 935 (2020)

Diana Simon
  • "The Power of Connectivity: The Science and Art of Transitions," 18 Legal Comm. & Rhetoric: JALWD ___ (forthcoming 2021)
  • "A How-to Guide for Creating Optimal Hypotheticals for Law Students: Keeping it Focused and Fun," 19 Scribes Journal of Legal Writing___ (forthcoming 2020)

Carolyn Williams
  • #CriticalReading #WickedProblem, 44 S. ILL. U. L.J. 179 (2020)
Around the College
LawCats Live Webinars, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1

The most recent LawCats Live webinar on September 3 featured (clockwise from top left) Professors Tessa Dysart, Barbara Atwood ('76), Rebecca Tsosie, and Melissa Tatum.

TOMORROW, Thursday, September 24, at 5:15 p.m. (PST)
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death in the midst of the most fraught presidential election season in recent memory raises issues that the nation will debate in the months and years to come. And the "Notorious RBG" -- with her lacy dissent collar, signature large eyeglasses, and low ponytail -- resonated as a singular cultural icon. But Justice Ginsburg's life, work, and example also bore deeply personal meaning for many, most especially for women and attorneys. Whether as a young mother and wife and one of only nine women in her incoming class at Harvard Law School in 1956, as the architect and executor of an incremental impact litigation strategy that dismantled much sex- and gender-based discrimination in our nation's laws, or as a jurist who evolved from moderate consensus builder to great dissenter, Justice Ginsburg left an indelible imprint on American life and law.
Join us for a conversation, moderated by Professor Susie Salmon, with Professors Barbara Atwood ('76), Chris Griffin, Negar Katirai, and others, as we share what Justice Ginsburg meant to us and reflect on her legacy. All attendees will be invited to share their reflections as well.


Practice in Place: Law and Justice Go Viral
Thursday, October 1, at 12:15 p.m. (PST)
In a conversation moderated by current Arizona Law 3L Vince Redhouse, join Professor Susie Salmon, Judge Laine McDonald ('06), and attorney Ted Schmidt ('77) as they discuss how the pandemic has affected courts and highlighted existing issues in our legal system, how lawyers have adapted their advocacy to the "new normal" of virtual lawyering, and how the College of Law's legal-writing and advocacy programs are preparing students to navigate the uncharted waters of post-pandemic practice.

View Previous LawCats Live Sessions
LawCats Live recordings are available on the Arizona Law website. If you've missed one of our past sessions, you can catch up here.

If you have questions about any LawCats Live event, contact Corrina Eklund, Alumni Engagement Coordinator, at 520-621-7409 or
Black Law Students Association Sponsors "Coffee Conversations" this Fall, Starting Sept. 25
The University of Arizona's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is proud to announce their monthly speaker series, "Coffee Conversations with BLSA," to be held throughout this academic year. DeLorean Forbes (3L) is the organization's president, and writes:
"After the murder of George Floyd, BLSA, alongside the University of Arizona Student Bar Association (SBA), issued a joint statement in which we called on our law college community to become more active in the fight for racial and social justice. In an effort to practice what we preach, BLSA is undertaking an ambitious plan, in conjunction with multiple other student organizations, to host renowned legal and economic scholars from around the country each month who will deliver virtual lectures about legal issues that Black America faces every day."
The first virtual conversation features Arizona Law Professor Justin Pidot, this Friday, September 25 at noon (PST):

Additional confirmed speakers so far include: Professor LaToya Baldwin Clark (UCLA Law), Professor Emerita Carol Rose (University of Arizona Law/Yale Law), and Professor Fred Smith, Jr. (Emory Law). These speakers will discuss topics such as the history of redlining, educational disparities along racial lines, and qualified immunity reform. 

BLSA Coffee Conversations are open to all Arizona Law students, faculty, and alumni, and well as to lawyers from across Arizona. BLSA looks forward to seeing as many members of the legal community as possible attend the virtual conversations and engage in these critical discussions about the history and current state of race in America.
Watch the Arizona Law master calendar for details about upcoming Coffee Conversations each month. 

Alumna's Artwork Honors Justice Ginsburg -- and Supports Arizona Law

Heidi Nielson ('15), an attorney and artist in Washington, DC, recently approached the Arizona Law Alumni and Development Office looking for a way to support the college through her artwork depicting the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She decided to donate a portion of proceeds from her illustration of Justice Ginsburg to the college's Justice Advocates Coalition.

Heidi shares,

"I've been a little overwhelmed by the news since Friday and the outpouring of support my work has received, but I am trying to model the resilience that Justice Ginsburg demonstrated throughout her life. I am permanently going to be donating 25% of the proceeds from all orders of my RBG work to the The Justice Advocates Coalition (JAC), a student-formed initiative at my alma mater, the University of Arizona, that launched in 2017 with the dual goal of empowering marginalized communities and supporting law students pursuing a career in public interest law. This student-run organization provides summer living stipends to qualified students who accept unpaid summer positions with nonprofit law organizations.
I know from experience the heavy burden that law school debt places on graduates (often $100k+), making it hard to pursue a career in public interest. RBG dedicated her life to serving the public and I want to help the next generation do the same."

Thank you, Heidi!

Download Your Arizona Law Digital Wallpaper 

If you'd like to project a visual reminder of your pride in Arizona Law, you can select one of our digital wallpapers to use as your Zoom background. There are over a dozen to choose from.

In the News

KTAR News, interview featuring professor Tara Sklar
KOLD News, quoting professor Tara Sklar
McKnight's Long-Term Care News, quoting professor Tara Sklar
UA News, interview featuring professor Tara Sklar

COVID-related updates

From UA administration:

From the College of Law:

College of Law Coronavirus Response Information, including current College of Law Status

COVID-19 and Law Coalition, mobilizing University of Arizona Law expertise in response to the pandemic
COVID-19 Health Law Resources, with new video resources added frequently

"Writing" is the single most common response by legal employers to the question, "What skill should students focus on, first and foremost?" 
As this edition of Letter of the Law recounts, our legal writing faculty have designed and deliver a program that answers that call -- for our students, across programs, and for our profession.
Each one is an extraordinary teacher, active scholar, and leader in the profession. As mentors and colleagues they embody the values we celebrate in legal academia. Together they form a critical and active faculty cohort that improves all that we do.


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