In a planning meeting for the 2009 Mercer Law Review Symposium celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), a colleague of mine asked what I thought the significance of that event was to legal education. Not having a pithy and erudite answer ready at hand, I simply said "considerable." This answer seemed to me self-evident; the LWI had, after all, changed the way legal writing is taught in American law schools. It had also worked hard-along with the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD)-to increase the pay and status of legal writing professors across the nation. Members of the LWI had, during that quarter century, also published hundreds and hundreds of articles and books on topics related (some closely, some not) to legal writing specifically and legal analysis and communication more generally. These facts seemed to me to be fairly obvious, even to one who did not teach in the field, but my colleague had a somewhat confused and slightly skeptical look on his face. I wondered whether I needed to explain all this to him; I wondered if he really did not understand the importance the LWI had played in marshalling the efforts of countless individuals to make legal writing and communication courses in American law schools better, and in so doing, making the entire enterprise of legal education more sound. I know with conviction that my colleague supports the cause of legal writing, and I strongly suspect that he was one of the early supporters of the idea to have the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law become the current LWI host school. Yet there was that look. I let it pass at the time, but over the weeks between this conversation and the Symposium, the feeling remained that I needed to say more-not just to my colleague, but to anyone who was curious and ambivalent about the importance of the LWI.
David T. Ritchie, Reflections, Remembrances, and Mimesis: One Person's View of the Significance of the 25th Anniversary of the Founding of the Legal Writing Institute, 61 Mercer L. Rev. 747 (2010).