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July 1, 2004

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law Communications, 512-471-7330

Wayne Schiess Named Director of Legal Writing

Photo of Wayne Schiess
Wayne Schiess

AUSTIN, Texas — Dean Bill Powers has named Wayne Schiess Director of Legal Writing at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Schiess’s formal appointment is effective in fall 2004.

Schiess graduated from Cornell Law School in 1989 and came to UT Law in 1992 after practicing with the Texas firm of Baker Botts LLP. He has been a lecturer in legal writing and, since 2002, a senior lecturer in legal writing. He teaches the required, first-year course in legal writing, as well as Writing for Litigation, Basic Drafting, and a Seminar in Legal Writing.

In April 2003, Schiess published his first book, Writing for the Legal Audience, and he has also published numerous articles related to legal writing, legal drafting, and plain language. He is a frequent speaker at CLE conferences and seminars.

“Wayne’s track record of teaching excellence, his commitment to his field, and his vision for the future of our program made him the right choice for this job,” Dean Powers said. “I’m pleased to have him in charge of our legal-writing program.”

Schiess has already implemented two changes in the law school’s legal-writing program.

First, he has overseen the hiring of two new legal-writing faculty:

Beth Youngdale, formerly Head of Student Services at the law school’s Jamail Center for Legal Research. Youngdale received her J.D. from the Law School in 1992 and her M.L.I.S. from The University of Texas Library School in 1994.

Betsy Chestney, a 2002 graduate of UT Law and currently in her second year as a clerk to the Honorable Sam Sparks of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

“We couldn’t be happier with the outstanding faculty we were able to hire,” Schiess said. “Beth and Betsy will be great additions to the writing program.”

Second, Schiess has implemented a significant change in the Teaching Quizmaster program.

“Historically, the TQs had primarily an academic role,” Schiess said. “That role evolved and expanded over the years to include a large social component. Our alumni from the last 15 years well know that your TQ was your friend, your mentor, your social director, and your teacher.”

But beginning in the 2004-2005 academic year, TQs will return to their academic roots. “We believe that our writing program will be more effective if TQs can focus on assisting the writing faculty with research and writing,” Schiess said. “So we’ve removed social responsibilities from the TQ role to allow our TQs to concentrate on research and writing.”

This change follows another change in the program, from pass-fail to grades, implemented in 2003-2004.