Post Written by Jeffrey Proske

Special kudos to Emory University School of Law for recognizing the enormous achievements of Tina L. Stark in the field of transactional drafting. On September 1, 2017, Emory announced the “Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills.” According to Emory’s announcement, the award will be given annually to an educator who is:

  • committed to training students to be practice-ready transactional attorneys
  • dedicated to engaging, inspiring, motivating, and nurturing students
  • devoted to teaching with passion, using creative and innovative methods
  • known for achievement in curriculum or program development and pedagogy
  • pledged to advance the cause of transactional law and skills education

I’m sure I’m only one of many voices in the crowd of transactional skills professors who owe Tina Stark a debt of gratitude for her groundbreaking work in teaching transactional skills. There could not be a more fitting tribute to her legacy than this award.

When I started teaching nine years ago, I wanted to impart transactional negotiation and drafting skills to my students, but had no idea how to begin the process of creating a syllabus for such a class, or how to teach the skills effectively.  I thank my lucky stars for meeting Tina at the Emory Transactional Law Conference in 2010, and for discovering Tina’s excellent drafting text – “Drafting Contracts: How and Why Lawyers Do What They Do.” I have used her text every time I’ve taught drafting courses since.

Beyond the guidance Tina’s book gave me in developing my course, Tina personally assisted me week after week the first time I taught the course to walk me through the best practices for implementing the interactive exercises in the book. She took my panicked calls in the days leading up to each class and made special efforts to make sure I felt comfortable with the materials. She was a great mentor to me, and I could not be more pleased to know that her efforts through the years are being celebrated.

After teaching my transactional skills course for eight years, there are now several hundred more practicing lawyers who competently and confidently advise clients with their transactions thanks in great measure to the work of Tina Stark.