Published: April 3, 2013

The University of Colorado Law School recently hosted the 13th Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference in Boulder, marking the first time the conference was held in the Rocky Mountains. The conference originated in Arizona as an informal exchange of teaching ideas among legal writing professionals in the region, but it has grown to be one of the most prestigious regional legal writing conferences in the nation, with dozens of sessions on a wide range of teaching and scholarship issues. Approximately 100 participants came to Boulder from the Rocky Mountain West, the rest of the nation, and as far away as Australia and Qatar.  

Although an unexpected storm dumped about a foot of snow in Boulder, that did not dampen the enthusiasm of those who braved the weather. Participants were enlightened and inspired by the opening plenary session, led by Mary Beth Beazley of Ohio State University, Lyn Entrikin of the University of Arkansas, and Richard Neumann of Hofstra University. At the next morning’s plenary session, participants were enchanted by Colorado Law professor and bestselling author Mimi Wesson, who delivered a talk entitled “Writing the Hillmon Case: An Instance of the Legal Storyteller’s Predicament.”

Todd Stafford, the director of Colorado Law’s legal writing program, ended the conference with an award and an announcement. He presented the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Award to Judy Stinson, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Clinical Professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, for her immeasurable contributions to the legal writing field, including co-founding the conference 13 years ago. He also announced that Colorado Law’s legal writing program is moving to a rotating directorship, with Derek Kiernan-Johnson serving as the next director. Kiernan-Johnson, a co-chair of the conference, thanked the conference sponsors: Westlaw, LexisNexis, Aspen Publishers, West Academic, and Carolina Academic Press.

According to conference co-chair and legal writing professor Natalie Mack, “Colorado Law was happy to host the conference, but after that snowstorm, we suspect many participants are hoping next year’s conference will once again be in a warm location!”