On October 20, UIC Law’s Writing Resource Center hosted its 2021 National Day on Writing event, “Write Chicago: Words and Power.” The second annual discussion featured a dynamic panel of professional writers for an exploration of the value and impact of storytelling as a tool for advocacy, change and empowerment. The full discussion is available online for public viewing.
Long-time UIC Law Legal Writing Professor, Kim D. Ricardo, who serves as Director of UIC Law’s nationally ranked Lawyering Skills Program, opened the event with a discussion about the many professional writers who have called Chicago home. She also shared her own experience as a writer and attorney who struggled with the transition to legal writing and provided advice for law students who may be experiencing something similar.
“Don’t let law school suck your imagination dry,” Ricardo said. “Learning the law can be incredibly frustrating because there’s so many cases where the outcomes simply do not seem fair. But if you allow yourself to think, ‘well, I guess that’s what the law is,’ you won’t let yourself imagine what the law could be. And you might not dare yourself to work towards the justice that you can envision with your imagination.”
This year’s event, moderated by Danielle McCain, Associate Director of the Writing Resource Center, featured NBC personality Jeanette Conrad-Ellis, activist and artist Glenance Green, UIC Law Professor Hugh Mundy and Attorney Michael Wilder. The event featured engaging discussions on why the panelists write, their early experiences with writing and what their daily writing looks like now. Each author entwined their own personal stories and experiences with this year’s theme.
A 2016 graduate of the Law School, Jeanette Conrad-Ellis is a Senior Consultant with the Employee Labor Relations Academy and the author of The Black Diamond Series, a young-adult fiction series. Conrad-Ellis is a regular, featured correspondent on Milwaukee NBC-affiliate WTMJ 4’s “The Morning Blend” and was chosen as a Top 20 finalist for an advice guru position with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Glenance Green, a writer, filmmaker and community organizer, is the Co-Founder of the Black Researchers Collective, a collective of Black researchers equipping communities with research tools to be more civically engaged and policy informed. Green is also the author of Shades of Green, an anthology of poetry and prose, and has written, directed and/or produced more than 10 films.
Professor Hugh Mundy, a former Assistant Federal Public Defender, teaches Evidence, Criminal Procedure and Lawyering Skills at UIC Law. Mundy is widely published in leading law reviews, as well as the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. His forthcoming article, “Course Correction: A Proposal to Limit the Admissibility and Use of Course of Investigation Testimony in Criminal Trials,” will appear in the UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review.
Michael Wilder is a member and shareholder of the Global Board of Directors at Littler Mendelson, P.C. and the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Black Men Lawyers’ Association. Wilder is the author of The Playbook for a Dollar & a Dream and has another book on the way. Also a successful entrepreneur, his company, Wilder World Productions, has produced board/card games, including “Rep Your City” and “Rep Your Music.”
UIC Law’s Legal Writing program is known for its rigorous research and writing requirements and its robust faculty leadership. All students are required to take four semesters of lawyering skills courses, with options for specialization in the fourth semester. Many members of the Law School’s Lawyering Skills faculty have served in national leadership roles. Director Ricardo recently completed a two-year term as President of the Legal Writing Institute. In 2017, UIC Law was named the new national headquarters for Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers.
You can watch the 2021 National Day on Writing event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIgbvuTlWOI