2000 Rombauer Award Recipient

Mary S. Lawrence

Mary S. Lawrence was appointed as the University of Oregon’s first legal research and writing director in 1978. She served in that capacity until retiring in 2000. Although technically retired, she continues to pursue her interest in the legal writing profession nationally. She serves as a consultant to the Law School Admission Council and as senior editor on the editorial board of The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

Legal Writing is Professor Lawrence’s second professional career. Before entering law school, she earned a national reputation as a scholar and pioneer in the field of English as a Second Language. At the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute, she wrote Writing as a Thinking Process, considered a groundbreaking text in the study of English as a Second Language. At the University of Michigan, she developed the theoretical principal of “spiraling” for writing instruction.

Professor Lawrence was also a pioneer in the legal writing field. Spiraling and “skills transfer” became major principals on which she based the University of Oregon School of Law’s program, with the program centered not on writing per se but rather on legal analysis.

During her years at the University of Oregon, Professor Lawrence earned the first Hollis Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the school also endowed a scholarship in her name. In 1996, the Association of American Law Schools’ section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research honored Professor Lawrence with an award for distinguished service to the profession.