William & Mary Law Dean Davison M. Douglas has long maintained that the ability to write clearly, both analytically and persuasively, is the most important skill students take away from their law school experience.
First-year students at the Law School have just finished a year of intensive work in developing that skill. And three in particular have demonstrated excellence in legal analysis and writing.
Kalina Hillard Parker ’16, Rachel Strubel ’16, and Tyler Chriscoe ’16 were recently announced as winners of the 2014 Kaufman & Canoles Writing Prizes, awarded each year to first-year law students who have demonstrated excellence in legal writing in the Law School’s Legal Practice Program.
The students received their awards at a luncheon held on April 16 at the Law School. On hand were Dean Douglas and a number of faculty from the Legal Practice Program, as well as Alison V. Lennarz, of counsel, and William L. Holt ’08 from Kaufman & Canoles, the law firm that sponsors the awards.
Recipients of the Kaufman & Canoles prizes are chosen by faculty teaching in the Legal Practice Program.
Kalina Parker was named first-place winner. A native of Grand Rapids, Ohio, Kalina is a cum laude graduate of Miami University, where she earned a B.S. in business. She also served as an Italian tutor and as vice president of development for the Miami University Dance Marathon to raise money for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Earning second place was Rachel Strubel, originally from North East, Maryland. As an undergraduate at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Rachel majored in business management, after which she was stationed in Charleston, S.C., as a team leader at a Joint Agency Anti-Terrorism Task Force, and subsequently Yorktown, Va., as the senior instructor at the National Search and Rescue School. She will serve as a Coast Guard JAG officer upon graduation.
And Tyler Chriscoe, a native of Seagrove, North Carolina, took third place. Chriscoe graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University in 2012 with degrees in political science and in philosophy with a concentration in philosophy of law. He then worked for five months in a small law office on criminal law, wills, and real estate. This summer, he will be interning with a district court judge in Asheboro, North Carolina.
As a former legal skills instructor at the Law School, Alison Lennarz understands exactly what these students have accomplished.
“On behalf of the whole firm, we applaud those accomplishments and are so delighted to have you join the ranks of lawyers and enhance our good standing and professional reputation,” Lennarz said during the luncheon. “And we’re excited to hear about what you do going forward. We’re happy to be a part of your success.”
Laura Killinger, director of the Legal Practice Program, in turn offered thanks to Kaufman & Canoles for their continued sponsorship and support for excellence in legal writing.
“It’s wonderful to be able to say to the students that it’s not only important for us to tell them how important writing is,” she said, “but it’s also important for them to hear it from your law firm throughout the year.”
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.