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Diana Pratt Named 2007 Recipient of the Blackwell Award

December 22, 2007

Diana PrattDETROIT (Dec. 22, 2007) – Diana Pratt, former Wayne State University Law School Director of Legal Research and Writing, was named the 2007 recipient of the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award.

The Blackwell Award, which is the most prestigious in the field of legal writing, recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching, mentoring other teachers and advancing the field of legal writing. The recipient of the award must also demonstrate “the ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating Legal Writing educators and students.”

“On behalf of Wayne State University students, alumni, staff and faculty members, I would like to congratulate Professor Pratt on this prestigious award,” said Wayne State University Law School Dean Frank H. Wu. “She is a legend in the legal community and has left – and will continue to leave – her mark on each and every one of us. We are all grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her.”

Recently retired, Pratt taught at Wayne State University Law School for 26 years and is widely admired by alumni for creating a first-class legal writing program. She wrote one of the first legal writing texts ever published, and has a national reputation for her service to the profession. Due to her commitment to students, many alumni and friends recently pulled together to create a Diana Pratt Legal Research and Writings Merit Award.

 “Diana’s commitment to her students and to maintaining the highest standards in the legal writing program inspired me,” said Legal Research and Writing Instructor Kristin Theut. “She has worked tirelessly to teach one of the most important skills that a lawyer can have and, at the same time, she has helped the instructors in the program gain professional respect and stability.”

“As the profession of law has changed, the Legal Research and Writing Program has also evolved, and reflects those changes,” said Legal Research and Writing Instructor Clara McCarthy. “Because of Diana’s intellectual integrity and creativity and her ability to motivate her students, the Program continues to enjoy a reputation for excellence.”

Added Legal Writing Instructor Amy Neville, “I have had the pleasure of working as an instructor under Diana’s directorship for the past eight years.  I was also a student at Wayne State University Law School and thus had the benefit of learning legal writing, 23 years ago, in a legal writing program designed and directed by Diana. The strength of the program both then and now is directly attributable to Diana’s leadership.”

Pratt has served as the Chair of the AALS Section of Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute and as editor/editor-in-chief of the Institute’s Legal Writing Journal. She earned her A.B. from Radcliffe College, her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Pratt will be honored at a joint ALWD and LWI reception at the AALS conference on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, in the Imperial Ballroom East.

For more information on how you can give to the Diana Pratt Legal Research and Writings Merit Award, please contact the Wayne State University Law School Office of Advancement & Alumni Relations at (313) 577-3113.

Founded in 1927 as Detroit City Law School, Wayne State University Law School is the only public law school in the Detroit metropolitan area.  The Law School is accredited by the ABA and is a member of AALS; has five live-client clinics; the Arthur Neef Law Library with a collection of over 620,000 volumes in a variety of formats; and a state-of-the-art building with lecture and court facilities, multi-media and distance learning classrooms, and offices for student groups. The Law School currently has 800 students and approximately 11,000 living alumni working in 48 states and 15 foreign countries.

Training the next generation of lawyers, advocates and leaders