Scribes – the American Society of Legal Writers – has honored long-time Michigan Bar Journal Plain Language Column Editor Joseph Kimble by renaming its Distinguished Service Award the Joseph Kimble Distinguished Service Award. Kimble, a former executive director and 15-year board member of Scribes, was surprised by the announcement while in the audience of the Scribes 2017 Continuing Legal Education Conference at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. The Scribes Board of Directors unanimously voted to rename the award in Kimble’s honor.
Kimble is a distinguished professor emeritus at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where he joined the faculty full-time in 1984. Kimble is senior editor of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing and has published dozens of articles and two books about legal writing. He led the redrafting of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence. He is also past president of Clarity, an international association promoting plain language, a founding director of the Center for Plain Language, and a board member for the Legal Writing Institute.
He was named a “Plain English Champion” by the Plain English Campaign in England, received the first Plain Language Association International Award, received the Burton Award for Reform in Law twice – once for his work on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and once for his work on the Federal Rules of Evidence – received the American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Award, and received the SBM John W. Reed Lawyer Legacy Award.
Scribes was founded in 1953 and is the oldest organization devoted to improving legal writing and honoring legal writers. The first recipient of the Joseph Kimble Distinguished Service Award was Kenneth Gartner, a New York-based commercial trial and appellate litigator.