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Beazley honored with Morgan E. Shipman Outstanding Professor Award

May 14, 2009 | Faculty

It was during Professor Mary Beth Beazley’s third year of law school that she got her first taste of teaching. She was a teaching assistant and vividly remembers taking the initial plunge into the career that she once declared she would never enter.

“I remember closing the classroom door and starting to walk to the front of the class,” she said. “I thought ‘when I get to the front of this class I am going to be a teacher. I wonder what I am going to say.’”

Without a doubt, Professor Beazley managed to get through her first teaching experience, and she has excelled as a leader in the classroom and in the field of legal writing. The class of 2009 honored Professor Beazley this year with the Morgan E. Shipman Outstanding Professor Award. Professor Beazley said that she was truly honored – and a bit teary eyed – when she learned the news.

“Teaching really has three facets: the in-class teaching, the subject matter, and working with the students,” Professor Beazley said. “I am lucky enough to truly love all three of those.”

Professor Beazley came to Ohio State in 1988 after serving as co-director of the Legal Research, Writing, and Reasoning Program at Vermont Law School and as a research and writing instructor at the University of Toledo. She teaches Legal Writing and Analysis, Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Legal Writing, and she has coached the National Moot Court Team for many years.

Professor Beazley received her undergraduate degree in English from Bowling Green State University and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Professor Beazley has authored a widely used textbook (A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy) and numerous articles, including “The Self-Graded Draft: Teaching Students to Revise Using Self-Guided Critique.” She served as the president of the Legal Writing Institute from 1998-00; she has also served as editor-in-chief and as a member of the editorial board of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. She is currently the chair of the ABA’s Communications Skills Committee. She has served as president-elect of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) during 2008-09, and will serve as its president during 2009-10.

In January 2006 she was awarded the Thomas F. Blackwell Award by the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The Blackwell Award recognizes a person who has made a contribution to the field of legal writing by demonstrating “an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.” In June of 2008, she received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education.