The 2005 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award Recipient

The 2005 Thomas F. Blackwell Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Legal Writing was presented to Ralph L. Brill of Chicago-Kent College of Law. Ralph created Chicago-Kent’s three year Legal Research and Writing Program, the first of its kind in the country. He served as Director of the program for 14 years, from 1978-1993.

Ralph’s contributions to the field of Legal Writing and to legal education are numerous. Teaching since 1960, Ralph has spent his career advocating skills training in law schools. Prior to the creation of the Legal Writing Institute, Ralph was very active in the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research, serving as section chair, and instrumental in organizing the Legal Writing workshops that preceded the creation of the LWI. He was also involved in the process of incorporating the Legal Writing Institute and served on the LWI Board from 1986-1990.

Ralph has also served on the Communication Skills Committee of the ABA Section on Legal Education. It was through the efforts of this committee that, in 1996, the ABA adopted standards related to Legal Writing requirements in the law school curriculum, and standards 405(c) and 405(d) related to job security. He is also the co-author of A Sourcebook on legal writing programs, published by the American Bar Association, and has been active in the Association of Legal Writing Directors. In 1997, Ralph was given the American Association of Law Schools Legal Writing, Research, and Reasoning Section award for contributions to the profession of Legal Writing.

Despite no longer being Director of Legal Writing at Chicago-Kent, Ralph continues to work tirelessly to elevate the status of legal writing professionals and programs.