Texas Tech Legal Writing Specialist Wins National Recognition

A Texas Tech University School of Law legal writing specialist is the recipient of the inaugural Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award, sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute (LWI).

Natalie Tarenko won the award based on her article "Can the Windowpane Speak? Re-evaluating Orwell’s Metaphor," published in Volume 22, No. 1 of The Second Draft. Tarenko’s article was selected from among those published by legal writing advisors in The Second Draft’s segment "From the Desk of the Legal Writing Specialist" during the past academic year.

Walter Huffman, dean of Texas Tech’s law school, says the school is doubly fortunate to have Tarenko on its staff.

"We are fortunate to have a person with Dr. Tarenko’s skills assisting our students in improving their ability to communicate legal concepts in writing. We are especially fortunate because, in addition to her now nationally acclaimed skill, first and foremost, she really cares about students," said Huffman.

The director of Texas Tech’s Legal Practice Program, Nancy Soonpaa, agrees that the real beneficiaries of Tarenko’s talent are the students who seek to improve their writing skills by consulting her.

"Students comment favorably on how helpful she is and how much they appreciate the opportunity to work with her not only through group workshops, but also in one-on-one conferences," Soonpaa said. "Her dedication, enthusiasm and collegiality are great assets to the law school."

Deborah Hecht, for whom the award is named, served as the director of the Legal Writing Center at Touro University School of Law for eight years. During that time, she worked to develop Touro’s Legal Resources Center and was active in LWI. She died in 2005, after which the legal writing advisors in LWI began the process of establishing the award in Deborah’s memory. The award will be officially conferred at the LWI Biennial Conference in Indianapolis in July.

CONTACT: Casey Carson, director of alumni relations, Texas Tech University School of Law, (806) 742-3990, ext. 315 or casey.carson@ttu.edu