June 16, 2011
Cooley Law School Professor Receives Most Prestigious Legal-Writing Honor for the Second Time
Only professor in Michigan to receive coveted Burton award
On Monday, June 13, 2011, Thomas M. Cooley Law School Professor Joseph Kimble received the most prestigious national award in legal-writing – a Burton Award for Legal Achievement, specifically, the Reform in Law Award for Kimble’s drafting work on the completely restyled Federal Rules of Evidence. Kimble, who chaired Cooley’s Research & Writing department, is the only professor in Michigan to receive a coveted Burton award. In fact, this is his second Burton Award. In 2007, he received one for his work in redrafting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He has served as the drafting consultant on all federal court rules since 1999.
The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement are designed to reward major achievements in the law ranging from literary awards to the greatest reform in law. The award recipients are selected, generally, by professors from Harvard Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of California at Irvine School of Law, among others.
“Joe is a passionate advocate for the value and critical importance of clarity in legal writing,” said Don LeDuc, president and dean of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. “He doesn’t just set the bar for students and future practicing attorneys but for the entire legal industry.”
Kimble’s work also caught the attention of the legal world in 2000, when he was named a "Plain English Champion" by the Plain English Campaign in England. In 2007, he won the first Plain Language Association International Award and in 2010, he won a lifetime-achievement award from the Association of American Law School’s Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.
At Cooley, Kimble teaches Research & Writing and Advanced Research & Writing and chaired the school’s Research & Writing department for 15 years. Kimble has published many articles on legal writing and research, including a book entitled Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language. He has given more than 100 presentations on plain language worldwide and is the editor in chief of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, the longtime editor of the “Plain Language” column in the Michigan Bar Journal, and a past president of the international organization Clarity.
The Burton Awards 12th Annual Awards Program and Gala took place Monday, June 13, 2011 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.burtonawards.com.
About Cooley Law School:
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 15,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September.
About the Burton Awards:
The Burton Awards is funded by the Burton Foundation which is a non-profit, academic effort devoted to recognizing and rewarding excellence in the legal profession. Since its inception in 1999, the organization has focused primarily on the refinement and enrichment of legal writing. The founder of the program is William C. Burton, a partner in the law firm Sagat/Burton LLP and both a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, and Assistant Special Prosecutor. He is the author of the authoritative reference book, Burton’s Legal Thesaurus (McGraw-Hill), now in its fourth edition.