Online Exclusives

A Champion of Legal Writing Retires

Every student who took part in Boston College Law School’s Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing Program in the past thirty-five years—and that’s everyone because LLR&W (now called Law Practice I&II) is a 1L requirement—benefited from the presence of Professor Jane Kent Gionfriddo. The award-winning teacher, who also directed the program for over two decades, has retired, leaving a long line of graduates well trained in the fundamentals of lawyering.

“Jane’s vision and leadership formed the foundation of our widely acclaimed legal writing program,” said E. Joan Blum, a professor of legal reasoning, research and writing. “In addition to serving as program director more than 20 years, she elevated our national status by serving as president of the Legal Writing Institute and as editor-in-chief of the institute’s Monograph Series. Jane accomplished a great deal in her 35 years here at BC Law, and we wish her well in the next chapter in her life.”

Gionfriddo began teaching in the LRR&W program in 1982 and three years later became the director of the program, a position she held for twenty-two years. Her strength as a teacher was recognized with the Boston College Distinguished Teaching Award for 1999-2000.

An in-demand writer, editor, consultant, and speaker, Gionfriddo published and presented widely.

She focused her scholarship on pedagogical issues concerning legal analysis and writing, including an article in the Texas Tech Law Review that received the journal’s outstanding lead article award. She was a contributing author on the second edition of the Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs and co-author with Daniel Barnett of a first-year legal analysis and writing textbook, Legal Reasoning and Objective Writing: A Comprehensive Approach.

At the Legal Writing Institute, she held a variety of positions, including on the board of directors and as president from 2000 through 2002. She co-edited, with several LRR&W colleagues from the Law School, the institute’s semi-annual newsletter, “The Second Draft,” was the first editor-in-chief of the Monograph Series, and was on the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

Gionfriddo worked as a consultant at major Boston law firms, giving presentations to and working individually with associates, and advised other law schools on curricular issues, including Harvard Law School.

A familiar face at professional gatherings, she often spoke at the conferences of the Legal Writing Institute, Association of Legal Writing Directors, American Association of Law Schools, and American Association of Law Libraries.

“With skill and compassion, Jane communicated the art and craft of legal research, reasoning, and writing to generations of our students and to other professionals,” said Dean Vincent Rougeau. “Though we will miss her, her legacy endures.”

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