Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers – has renamed its Distinguished Service Award as the Joseph Kimble Distinguished Service Award. The honor came as a complete surprise to Professor Kimble, a former Executive Director and longtime Board Member of Scribes. Professor Kimble was in the audience at the Oklahoma City University School of Law when the announcement was made. The decision to name the Distinguished Service Award for Professor Kimble was a unanimous decision of the Scribes Board of Directors in great appreciation of his years of dedicated service to Scribes.
Joseph Kimble is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. He was a staff attorney for the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals. He later practiced law in Flint, Michigan. He joined the full-time Thomas Cooley faculty in 1984.
He is senior editor of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing and the longtime editor of the “Plain Language” column in the Michigan Bar Journal. He has published dozens of articles on legal writing and written two acclaimed books. He led the redrafting of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence. Professor Kimble is also a past president of the international organization Clarity, served as the executive director of Scribes (the American Society of Legal Writers), is a founding director of the Center for Plain Language, and was on the board of the Legal Writing Institute. He is a Fellow of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the State Bar’s Publications Committee.
In 2000, he was named a “Plain English Champion” by the Plain English Campaign, in England. He is one of the first persons to receive that award. In 2007, he won the first Plain Language Association International Award for being a “champion, leader, and visionary in the international plain-language field.” He has twice won a prestigious Burton Award for Reform in Law — in 2007 for his work on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in 2011 for his work on the Federal Rules of Evidence. In 2010, he won the award from the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research of the Association of American Law Schools. And in 2015, he received the John W. Reed Lawyer Legacy Award from the State Bar of Michigan.
The first recipient of the Kimble Distinguished Service Award was the Honorable Kenneth L. Gartner, a longtime Chair of the Scribes Brief-Writing Award Committee. With the help of a large team of legal writing professors and attorneys who read winning briefs submitted from moot court competitions across the country, the Scribes Brief-Writing Award Committee annually selects the “Best of the Best” Moot Court Briefs.
Kenneth Gartner is a commercial trial and appellate litigator with the New York law firm of Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello LLP, where his practice includes commercial real property, business contracts, tort, and fraud cases. He also represents judges, lawyers, and law firms in criminal, civil, and disciplinary matters and serves as an expert witness or special counsel on legal ethics issues. He previously served as a civil and criminal trial judge in the Nassau County District Court, where he earned the history of being the most published judge in the history of the New York State District Court. He has chaired the Scribes Brief-Writing Committee for more than ten years.