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2023 Central States Legal Writing Conference

Embracing New Challenges and Opportunities: Ready for Impact

September 22-23, 2023

Hosted by Drake University Law School
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Drake University Law School is pleased to host the 2023 Central States Legal Writing Conference on Sept. 22 and 23. This year’s theme, Embracing New Challenges and Opportunities: Ready for Impact, will allow attendees to explore how recent trends such as student and faculty wellness, ABA Standard 303, and ChatGPT can enhance our teaching.

Registration Information

Thank you for your interest in the Central States Legal Writing Conference hosted by Drake University Law School. 

A registration fee of $75.00 covers your participation in all conference sessions as well as the reception and meals indicated in the Schedule Overview.



Conference Schedule (Tentative)


Friday, September 22
Noon - 2:00 p.m. Registration
2:00-2:50 p.m.

Room 201

NextGen Bar Prep: A Third Semester of Legal Writing?
Elizabeth Sherowski
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

So You’re Scared to Talk About DEI? Beginner-Friendly Exercises for the LW Classroom
Julia Steggerda-Corey
Drake University Law School


Room 203
What Dancing Bear? Editing in Four Stages
Michael Tripp
University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law

Down with Toxic Positivity: Wellness Culture through a Community Care Lens
Kim D. Ricardo
University of Illinois Chicago Law

3:00-3:50 p.m.

Room 201
Extreme Makeover (Learning Management System Edition): Transforming a Storeroom to a Classroom
Anne Alexander and Jayne Woods
University of Missouri School of Law

Potential Impact of Pandemic-Caused Declines in Reading Test Scores on Future Law Students
Nicole Chong
Penn State Law


Room 203
DEI in the LRW Classroom
Jody Marcucci
DePaul University College of Law

Michelle Cue
DePaul University College of Law

How to Motivate Students in a Post-Covid Classroom
Stephanie Juliano
Touro Law Center

4:00-4:50 p.m.

Room 201
The Professor Is In: How Pop-Up Help Desks Help Students
Mandee Baumer
Penn State Law

The Importance of Using Social Justice Issues
in the Classroom
Randall Ryder
University of Minnesota Law School

Empower Tomorrow's Legal Writers Today
with BriefCatch
Jackie Kappus


Room 203
Enhancing Cross-Cultural Competency and Professional Identity Formation Via Interactive Student Engagement|
Robin Juni
GW Law School

The Future is Now: Teaching Students to Communicate with Large Learning Models
Deborah Sundquist O'Malley
Saint Louis University School of Law


Room 206
Think Globally, Act Locally: Using Virtual Technology to Promote Cross-Cultural Competency
David Austin
California Western School of Law (Visiting Professor at UIC Law School in Fall 2023)

Mark Wojcik
University of Illinois Chicago Law School

5:00-6:30 p.m. Evening Reception
Kern Commons
Saturday, September 23
8:30-9:30 a.m. Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:50 a.m.

Room 213
Plenary Panel on Artificial Intelligence
Kristen Davis
Stetson Law

Christoph Henkel
Drake University Law School

Christopher Porter
Drake University

Moderator: Melissa Weresh
Drake University Law School

10:00-10:50 a.m.

Room 201
From Feedback Loops to Feedback Literacy: Feedback Strategies to Make Students Great Professionals
Jennifer Spreng
Southern Illinois University School of Law


Room 203
Professional Identity in a Legal Writing Classroom: Exercises for Helping Students Explore Their Values and Develop Professional Identity
Rebecca L. Scharf
William S. Boyd School of Law/UNLV

Innovative LMS Design for a Student-Centered Experience
Rachel Stabler
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor
College of Law

11:00-11:50 a.m.

Room 201
Get Ready for NextGen Assessment Methods
Wanda M. Temm
University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law

Maggie Eilertson
Mitchell Hamline School of Law


Room 203
Reflecting for Impact: Using Reflective Techniques to Enhance and Develop Students’ Professional Identities Across the Curriculum
Mary Ksobiech, Dawn Anderson, and Caroline Sheerin
University of Iowa College of Law

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch
Kern Commons
1:00-1:50 p.m.

Room 201
Three Simple (Plus Additional Not-So-Simple) Ways to Incorporate NextGen Skills into Existing Assignments
Betsy Six
University of Kansas School of Law

Arguing with ChatGPT
Brad Desnoyer
Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Visual Methods: Matching Student Learning Styles
Meghan Sholy-Wells
University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law


Room 203
Making ChatGPT Work for Us
Michelle Falkoff
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Current Law Faculty Demographics: What's Changed?
Kristen Tiscione
Georgetown University Law Center

2:00-2:50 p.m.

Room 201
Results from Phase I: Integrating NextGen Bar Questions in First-Year Writing and Legal Ethics
Christine Rollins
Saint Louis University School of Law

A Helpful Alliance: Collaborating with a Doctrinal Professor on a Closed Memo Problem
Karen Cooper
Emory Law School


Room 203
Pouring from an Empty Cup: Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic
Meredith Geller
Northern Illinois University College of Law

Trading Legalese for “Oh, Yes Please!”: How to Train 1Ls to Embrace Conversational Writing
Kirsten Williams
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

2:30 - 3:15 p.m.

Kern Commons
Closing Remarks (Ice cream treats!)

Scholars' Forum

Once again, the Central States Conference is pleased to host a Scholars' Forum. The forum will begin Friday morning and run through lunch leading up to the start of the conference. If you are interested in participating or have questions, please reach out to Brad Desnoyer.

Travel and Accommodations

Getting to Des Moines

The Des Moines International Airport (DSM) is a short cab or ride share ride from campus. (Unfortunately, the conference hotel does not offer an airport shuttle.)

Two additional airports in the region may offer lower airfares than DSM.

The airport in Omaha (OMA), Eppley Field, is an approximately two hour drive to Drake's campus. The Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is a slightly under three hour drive. You will need to rent a car for these options. The conference hotel, Home2Suites, offers complimentary, on-site parking.

Hotel Accommodations

Special rates for conference attendees are available at the following hotel:

Home2Suites Des Moines at Drake University
2650 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311
Rate: $159/night
Click here to reserve a room.
Please note: The default booking is for a Thursday through Sunday reservation. If you are not booking for that entire time, you will need to change the dates before selecting a room.

Find more information about attractions and events in Des Moines here

Campus Parking

Campus parking is available in Lot 1. Lot 1 is located on 25th Street between Carpenter and Forest Avenues. All conference sessions will be held in Cartwright Hall, 2621 Carpenter Avenue.  - approx. two blocks from Lot 1.

Parking passes are only required for Friday's sessions. (Passes are not necessary on the weekend.)

Please click here to register your vehicle.

Print your pass and place it on the dashboard of your car when you arrive. 

Click here for a map highlighting Lot 1 and Cartwright Hall.

Parking/walking map

Walking map highlighting routes from Home2 Suites and visitor parking.