Faculty Presents at Empire State Legal Writing Conference

St. John’s Law faculty members—present and past—presented at the Biennial Empire State Legal Writing Conference, held virtually over May 13th – 14th. The two-day conference, with over 30 panel presentations, was hosted by New York Law School (NYLS) and its legal writing faculty; more than 200 participants registered. Legal writing professors from around New York State serve on the program committee, including Professor Robin Boyle, conference co-founder.

Professor Kayonia L. Whetstone, formerly of SJ and now an Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills at Howard University School of Law, co-presented on the plenary panel: “Empire State and Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Scholarship Plenary: Making Progress on Scholarship with an Online Writing Group.” Two years ago at this very conference, Professor Whetstone and co-participants created a remote writing group to provide accountability for their scholarship. They presented on the different functions that their writing group has served, lessons learned from the process, and tools that helped them work together. They meet virtually twice each week.

Professor Boyle assisted in organizing the Scholars program, supported by a grant from the ALWD. Budding scholars in one breakout room discussed their “Germ of an Idea.” In another breakout room, “Drafts Review,” Professor Boyle co-led a three-hour session in which authors presented their full-length drafts of scholarly articles and participants commented. The topics for the developing scholarship were wide ranging. 

Professor Boyle also co-presented on a panel titled, “Swimming with Broad Strokes: Publishing and Presenting on Non-Legal Writing Topics.” This session encouraged participants to explore scholarly topics beyond the traditional legal writing discipline. Professor Boyle shared her experiences in researching, writing, and presenting on such topics as human trafficking, cults, and the civil rights movement.

Professor Rebecca Lowry also co-presented on a panel titled, “The Classroom Knows No Bounds.” This session addressed best practices to assist international J.D. and LL.M. students, non-native English speakers, and visiting and recently immigrated students. The panelists shared tips and practical exercises to help engage a diverse student body.

Professor Boyle gave the conference’s closing remarks and thanked NYLS and the conference participants.

Robin Boyle
Professor of Legal Writing

Rebecca Lowry
Adjunct Professor of Law