The Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute have selected UIC Law Professor Teri McMurtry-Chubb as the winner of the 2021 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing.
The Blackwell Award is one of the most prestigious awards in legal writing. Created in 2002, the Blackwell Award honors the life of Thomas F. Blackwell for his personal and professional qualities as a legal writing educator. Each year, the Association of Legal Writing Directors joins with the Legal Writing Institute to give this award to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of legal writing by demonstrating an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence; a willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or their legal writing programs; and an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.
McMurtry-Chubb researches, teaches and writes in the areas of legal history and discourse, critical rhetoric and genre analysis. She has lectured nationally on structural discrimination in educational institutions and the workplace and is a leader in designing curricula to facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“We are overjoyed to celebrate Teri as the 2021 Blackwell Awardee,” Professor Kim Ricardo, Director of UIC Law’s Lawyering Skills Program, said. “Given jointly by the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors, the Blackwell is the legal writing professoriate’s highest honor. It recognizes outstanding leadership, mentorship and teaching. Teri is the first person of color and the first Black woman to receive the Blackwell Award. In these difficult times Teri’s work not only gives us hope, but also a map to lead us out into the light.”
A national leader in legal writing, McMurtry-Chubb previously served as President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, becoming the first person of color to ever head a national legal writing organization. She is a board member and officer-designate for Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers. She also chaired the Legal Writing Institute Diversity Initiatives Committee, served as the Chair of the Iowa National Bar Association, the founding chapter of the National Bar Association, and as a gubernatorial appointee to the Iowa State Historical Society Board of Trustees.
McMurtry-Chubb also received the 2018 Teresa Godwin Phelps Award for Scholarship in Legal Communication. She is the author of more than 20 articles, numerous book chapters and essays, and two books: Legal Writing in the Disciplines: A Guide to Legal Writing Mastery (Carolina Academic Press 2012) and the forthcoming historical monograph Race Unequals and Social Betters: Overseer Contracts, Scientific Management, and the Fight for White Masculine Identity in the Plantation Economy (Lexington Books).