William and Mary Law School

Kaufman & Canoles Awards Recognize First-Year Students for Legal Writing

  • Excellence in Legal Writing
    Excellence in Legal Writing
    Dustin H. DeVore '01, partner, Kaufman & Canoles, joined recipients at the 2011 Kaufman & Canoles Writing Awards luncheon. The 2011 recipients are, from left, Jarred O. Taylor '13, Emily M. Bentz '13, and Samuel G. Mann '13. Professor Fredric Lederer, far right, is director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology and the Legal Skills Program.
    Photo by Jaime Welch-Donahue

The law firm of Kaufman & Canoles recognized three members of the first-year class for outstanding legal writing at a luncheon at the Law School on April 22.  

Dustin H. DeVore, a 2001 graduate of the Law School, and partner at the firm’s Williamsburg office, presented the 2011 Kaufman & Canoles Writing Awards to Jarred O. Taylor ’11, for first place, to Samuel G. Mann ’11, for second place, and to Emily M. Benz ‘11, for third place.

During spring semester, approximately 220 first-year students submitted a final client memo as part of the Legal Skills Program.  Program faculty recommended the best memos submitted by their students for recognition; from these 16 finalists, Helena Mock ’01, the program’s writing specialist, chose the three award recipients.

In remarks at the luncheon, Professor Fredric Lederer, director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology and the Legal Skills Program, thanked the firm for its generosity in sponsoring the awards and for its efforts to encourage students to improve their writing skills.  “Legal writing is the fundamental foundation of being a good lawyer,” he said.  “It is hard to do. It is an ongoing task for lawyers to get better each day of our professional lives.”

DeVore congratulated the award recipients and emphasized the significance of writing skills regardless of the career paths the students might pursue.  “Legal writing is the one thing that really connects all areas of the law,"  he said. “Your writing can have incredible impact for your clients.”

His best advice for students was for them to read everything they could by accomplished legal writers. He added that there were great writers at the Law School, including former dean and current William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. DeVore counseled students to be lifelong learners, and to seek feedback on their writing from colleagues, “whether you are in year one of your career or year fifty.”