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UALR professor named recipient of prestigious legal writing award

A law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been selected to receive one of the highest honors in her field.

Coleen Miller Barger, the Ben J. Altheimer Distinguished Professor of Law at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, is set to receive the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing.

Presented annually by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute, the prestigious award is given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of Legal Writing.

Among the criteria to receive the award are an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence; willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or legal writing programs; and an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.

Letters of nomination praised Professor Barger’s dedication, mentoring, and motivation and support, not just to students, but to legal writing colleagues and professional organizations.

“This praise is well-deserved, but it is not news to us at Bowen,” said Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz.

“Professor Barger’s well-known dedication to excellence is evidenced by her teaching, her mentoring of her students, her scholarship, and her service to both her colleagues at Bowen and elsewhere. She is an asset to the law school and to the Arkansas legal community, as well as to the legal education community as a whole.”

Professor Barger is the author of the fifth edition of the ALWD Guide to Citation (Wolters Kluwer 2014), co-author of the ALWD Companion: A Citation Practice Book (Aspen Publishers 2010), and author of Arkansas Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007). She is a contributing author to the Arkansas Bar Association’s Handling Appeals in Arkansas handbook.

She serves on the Legal Writing eJournal Advisory Board for the SSRN Legal Scholarship network, and she was formerly editor of the Legal Writing Prof Blog, part of the Law Professor Blogs Network, and the JURIST Legal Research and Writing Guide.
Barger represented the national legal writing community as a member of the Board of Directors for both the Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute.

She has made numerous presentations at these organizations’ national and regional conferences, in addition to appearing as panelist or speaker in continuing legal education programs for organizations such as the Arkansas Bar Association, the Eighth Circuit Appellate Practice Institute, and the Defense Research Institute.

She is a two-time winner of the Arkansas Bar Foundation Writing Excellence Award for articles appearing in Arkansas Lawyer, a publication of the Arkansas Bar Association.

At Bowen, Professor Barger teaches the two-semester, first-year course in legal writing, Research, Writing, and Analysis, in addition to upper-level courses such as Advanced Legal Writing and Advanced Legal Research. She is faculty advisor to the Bowen Moot Court Board, advising teams who represent the law school in national appellate competitions. In her role as Developments Editor of UALR’s Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, Professor Barger contributes to current scholarship on issues facing federal and state appellate courts.

A graduate of UALR for both baccalaureate and juris doctor degrees, Professor Barger has three times won the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching at the law school (1996, 2007, 2013), and she was awarded its Faculty Excellence Award in Service in 2000.

“It’s an incredible honor, and one I hope to live up to. To be recognized nationally by one’s academic peers is over the top,” she said.

“I truly appreciate my dear UALR colleagues who are joining me in this celebration. I am proud to represent them all. The Blackwell Award serves to give national recognition of all the ways we’ve built the legal writing program at Bowen.”