More About the Author
Wayne Schiess directs the David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law. He has been teaching legal writing at UT Law for 21 years. Here's how he got there.
Wayne grew up in a small town in Idaho and attended a small high school that offered no Advanced Placement courses. When he arrived at college, his roommate was surprised that Wayne was taking freshman English. "Didn't you take A.P. English?" the roommate asked. "What's A.P.?" Wayne replied.
This wasn't auspicious for a future writing teacher, but despite this lack of early opportunities, Wayne eventually discovered that he liked writing and writing clearly. He came to value clear writing through the influence of his mother, who returned to college to finish her English degree when Wayne was 17. That's right, his mother was an English teacher, although by the time she finished her bachelor's and master's degrees and began teaching freshman English at Boise State University, Wayne was away, finishing college.
Wayne attended Cornell University School of Law and took a job in the Dallas office of Baker Botts, where he tried a transactional practice and later did some bankruptcy work. Mostly, he wrote a lot of memos. In 1992, he was lucky enough to land a job teaching legal writing at UT Law, and he's been there ever since. He now devotes himself in a nerdy, mildly obsessed, and always enthusiastic way to legal writing and nothing but. (Professionally speaking, of course. In his personal life he is devoted to his wife and children.)
At UT Law he teaches analytical legal writing, persuasive legal writing, legal drafting, and plain English. He's a frequent seminar speaker and has published dozens of articles on practical legal-writing skills, plus four books:
* Writing for the Legal Audience (2003, with a second edition coming in 2014)
* Preparing Legal Documents Nonlawyers Can Read and Understand (2008)
* The Legal Memo: A Basic Guide (2008)
* Better Legal Writing (2005)
His blog at Legalwriting.net was named one of the ABA Journal Blawg 100 in 2007, and he writes a monthly column on legal writing for Austin Lawyer magazine. In 2010, his work on the Texas Pattern Jury Charges was recognized by the Center for Plain Language, and in 2012 he was selected as the UT Law Legal Writing Teacher of the Year.