The IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law community is deeply saddened by the recent death of Professor Molly Warner Lien, who headed the law school’s Legal Research and Writing Program from 1993 to 2001. Molly passed away on September 11.
“Molly made an incredible contribution to our law school and to our legal writing program, and she was amazingly devoted to her students,” remembers Dean Harold J. Krent. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
A passionate teacher and advocate for practical skills training, Lien joined the Chicago-Kent faculty in 1986 as a visiting assistant professor and was promoted to visiting associate professor three years later. In 1993, she succeeded Professor Ralph Brill as director of the law school’s Legal Research and Writing Program.
During her time at Chicago-Kent, Lien taught Comparative Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, the Russian Legal System in Transition, Legal Research and Writing, and Introduction to the American Legal System (for international LL.M. students).
Lien was also an expert on Russian law. In the early 1990s, she studied Russian law and economics as a summer student at the State Finance Academy in Moscow and spent subsequent summers researching issues related to Russian constitutionalism. During the 1990s and early 2000s, she taught summer courses on the Russian legal system for American students in Moscow. Her article “Red Star Trek: Seeking a Role for Constitutional Law in Soviet Disunion” appeared in the Stanford Journal of International Law.
After leaving Chicago-Kent in 2001, Lien spent a year as a visiting consultant at the National University of Singapore to establish a practical skills training program there. She later joined the faculty of John Marshall Law School, where she was a professor of law and director of the Lawyering Skills Program. In 2008, the Legal Writing Institute selected Lien and her friend and former colleague Ralph Brill as co-recipients of the inaugural Terri LeClercq Courage Award.
Lien was an honors graduate of the Emory Law School, where she served as articles editor of the Emory Law Journal. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Miami and performed in many operatic roles. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Wilbur F. Pell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, practiced law for a few years, and then taught legal research and writing as a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago.
We offer our condolences to her family and friends. She is survived by her husband, John Lien; her son Robert Warner; and her three grandsons. Another son, John Charles Warner, passed away earlier this year.