Briefing Room


Ohio State Law Professor Mary Beth Beazley receives National Legal Writing Award

July 17, 2008 | Faculty

Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Associate Professor Mary Beth Beazley was recently presented the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education.  The award is one of several national Burton Awards given annually to lawyers and law students in recognition of excellent legal writing and other accomplishments.  Professor Beazley’s Award was given for her outstanding educational contribution in the field of legal analysis, research, and writing.

“I’m incredibly honored and thrilled to have received such recognition,” Professor Beazley said.  “It was also wonderful to hear so many of the other award-winners extol the importance of legal writing in the practice of law.  I hope that such occasions demonstrate how vital it is for law students to obtain a good foundation in legal writing.”     Nominations for the awards were made by law school deans and managing partners of some of the nation’s largest law firms.  Professor Beazley was nominated by Susan DeJarnatt, an associate professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.  Professor DeJarnatt said she has admired Professor Beazley’s contributions at conferences as well as Beazley’s book, A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy.

“Mary Beth Beazley has made extraordinary contributions to legal writing education.  She is a wonderful mentor to new teachers through her engaging and insightful contributions at conferences and through the legal writing listserv.  She’s down to earth and approachable which makes it particularly easy to reach out to her. … In short, Mary Beth is one of the stalwarts of the legal writing teaching community — we have all benefitted from her work in the field,” DeJarnatt said.

The June 16 awards ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Those in attendance included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as guest speaker, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and author Bill Press as master of ceremonies, and 200 prominent members of the legal community.

Professor Beazley has taught legal writing since 1983.  Before joining Moritz in 1988, she served as the co-director of the Legal Research, Writing, and Reasoning Program at Vermont Law School following her time as a research and writing instructor at the University of Toledo.  At Moritz, she teaches Writing and Analysis, Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Legal Writing.  She is also the coach of Ohio State’s National Moot Court Team.

Beazley received her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

She served as the president of the Legal Writing Institute from 1998-00; she is currently the chair of the ABA’s Communications Skills Committee and is president-elect of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.  In 2006, the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors presented her with the Thomas F. Blackwell Award, which recognized her outstanding contribution to the field of legal writing.

The Burton Foundation, established in 1999, is a nonprofit academic organization that is dedicated to recognizing excellence in legal writing.  The founder, William C. Burton, Esq., is a partner at the international law firm D’Amato and Lynch and is a member of the New York and Florida Bar Associations.  He is the author of the widely used reference Burton’s Legal Thesaurus and is an advocate for plain, concise, and modernized legal writing.  He has also authored many articles in the New York State Bar Association Journal and is a former New York State assistant attorney general.  For more information about the awards, visit

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law has served the citizens of Ohio and the nation since its establishment in 1891.  The nationally recognized College has played a leading role in the legal profession through countless contributions made by graduates and faculty.  The College’s more than 9,000 alumni include justices of the Ohio Supreme Court, judges in courts of federal appeal, current and former members of the U.S. Congress, managing partners in law firms of all sizes, leaders in some of the nation’s largest companies, and representatives of nonprofit agencies across the country.  For more information about the College, visit