Texas Tech University

Scribes Moves National Headquarters to Texas Tech University School of Law

George Watson

July 30, 2015

The organization honors legal writers and promotes better legal writing.


The Texas Tech University School of Law will become the national headquarters for Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, effective Saturday (Aug. 1).

Founded in the early 1950s by former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Arthur T. Vanderbilt, Scribes honors legal writers and encourages “clear, succinct and forceful style in legal writing” in an effort to promote better writing throughout the legal community. The move to Texas Tech comes after Dean Darby Dickerson, whose presidency of the group ends Aug. 1, advocated the organization's move to Lubbock because of her expertise with the group.

“I've been honored to serve as an officer and director of Scribes for more than a decade,” Dickerson said. “The organization's move to Texas Tech is exciting for many reasons, one of which is our law school's long emphasis on and leadership in legal-writing.”

Darby Dickerson
Darby Dickerson

Jamie Baker, the faculty services librarian in the School of Law, will serve as Scribes' executive director while senior business assistant Michele Thaetig will serve as its administrative assistant. Law school faculty and staff will work with legal-writing scholars throughout the country.

The organization will be headquartered in Lubbock for at least three years with an option to renew, but the expectation is Scribes will remain at Texas Tech indefinitely.

“Texas Tech Law is well known for excellence in education and will be a splendid home for Scribes,” said Bryan Garner, a legal-writing expert and editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary.

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University has housed Scribes since 2005. Scribes' members include practicing lawyers, state and federal judges, law school deans and professors and legal editors.

Scribes promotes better legal writing in several ways. The group presents three annual awards, two publications, a quarterly newsletter called The Scrivener and the highly regarded The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.

Scribes also sponsors legal-writing programs throughout the country. Those programs have been held at the annual American Bar Association convention, meetings of the Association of American Law Schools and various law schools, including several in Texas.

Scribes encourages camaraderie among those who write about the law, promotes an interest in writing about the history, philosophy and language of the law and those who make, interpret and enforce the law and encourages people to write about the law.

For more information about Scribes, visit its website.