On Saturday, May 13, the Law School community gathered in Colonial Williamsburg’s Kimball Theatre with soon-to-be-graduates, their families, and friends to celebrate the Class of 2017’s contributions and achievements. Dean Davison M. Douglas presented awards and special recognitions with help from faculty, administrators, and staff, and representatives of the Student Bar Association and Honor Council. Following the ceremony, class members and guests enjoyed a reception at the Law School.
The following awards and special recognitions were celebrated during the ceremony:
Order of the Coif
Order of the Coif, Class of 2017
Membership in the Order of the Coif is the highest academic honor a law student can achieve. It is equivalent to membership in Phi Beta Kappa for undergraduates, and recognizes the scholastic achievements of law students selected from the upper 10 percent of their class. Members of the Class of 2017 inducted into the Order of the Coif were: Kristin M. Adams, William J. Conlin, Brian P. Currie, Gordon M. Dobbs, Anna C. Ellermeier, Emily C. Hessler, Matthew M. Hilderbrand, Lila L. Inman, Emily O. Kesler, Madelyn A. Krezowski, Carrie M. Mattingly, Katlyn M. Moseley, Andrew J. Pecoraro, Elizabeth Plowman, Michelle C. Prendergast, John M. Satira, Katherine B. Shaffer, Carly J. Tebelman, Anne G. Wallice, Michelle A. Weinbaum, and Christina L. Wentworth.
Order of the Coif, Honorary Member
Coif chapters may elect to honorary membership “those who as lawyers, judges and teachers have attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.” The William & Mary chapter of the Order of the Coif was established in 1981; those chosen as honorary members graduated prior to 1981 and have achieved distinction as law students and as professionals. William & Mary law faculty who are Coif members select the graduate who will receive this honor.
This year, the faculty voted to induct Dianne O’Donnell J.D. ’76 as an honorary member of the Order of the Coif. O’Donnell has spent her career as a securities regulation attorney with a particular expertise in mutual fund regulation. A 1973 alumna of Smith College, she was one of the top students in her graduating class at William & Mary Law School, and was an Articles Editor on the William & Mary Law Review. After graduating in 1976, she joined the Securities and Exchange Commission as an attorney in the Division of Investment Management, eventually rising to the position of Special Counsel to the Director of the Division. In 1983, she left the SEC to become Associate General Counsel of The Boston Company Advisors, a subsidiary of Shearson Lehman Brothers, where she handled legal matters pertaining to mutual fund regulation.
In 1986, O’Donnell became become Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management, the asset management subsidiary of PaineWebber (now UBS Global Asset Management) where she served until 2001. In 2001, she joined the New York City law firm Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, where she still practices law. Her practice continues to focus on mutual fund regulation.
American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence Award
This award recognizes outstanding performance in bankruptcy law. The recipient was Anne G. Wallice.
ABA State and Local Government Law Award
This award, whose recipient is chosen by faculty who teach land use and local government law, recognizes outstanding performance in this area of study. The recipient was Trevor D. Vincent.
ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in Health Law
This award recognizes outstanding performance in the study of health law. Alexander R. Kalyniuk received this award.
ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law
Faculty who teach intellectual property choose the award recipient for his or her outstanding performance in this area of study. Mary Catherine Amerine was the recipient of this award.
ALI-CLE Scholarship and Leadership Award
This award recognizes students who best exemplify a combination of scholarship and leadership. The award was presented to Carrie M. Mattingly.
Carter Kaplan & Co. International Financial Law Award
This award for outstanding student in international financial law went to Eric L. Taber.
Excellence in Legal Writing Award
The Excellence in Legal Writing Award is given to the student or students who have demonstrated the highest level of legal writing skill during study for the LL.M. degree. The 2017 recipients were Li Chen, Sargam Hans, Liubov Mangileva, and Tianbolun Yang.
Family Law Book Award
The Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers co-sponsor this award to be presented to a graduating student at each Virginia law school who has demonstrated the most promise and potential for the practice of family law. The 2017 recipient from the Law School was Hayley L. Geiler.
Graduate Community Involvement Award
This award goes to the LL.M. student who has been an outstanding member of the community. Ruian Guo was the recipient.
Graduate Academic Excellence Award
This honor is awarded to a student or students who achieve the highest level of academic performance during study for the LL.M. degree. The recipients were Beilei Chai, Li Chen, Gaspare Chirillo, Mengfei Dai, Sargam Hans, Qingxuan Xia, Yajing Xie, Dezhang Xu, and Wenchu Zheng.
The William Hamilton Prize is awarded to the student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in legal history. This year, Elspeth C. Visser received the prize.
John E. Donaldson Award
Named in honor of John E. Donaldson, the Ball Professor Emeritus who taught for 35 years at William & Mary Law School, this award goes to the most outstanding tax student. The Donaldson Award for 2017 went to Michelle N. Chionchio.
John G. Kruchko Award in Labor and Employment Law
The generosity of the Baltimore-based firm of Kruchko & Fries makes possible the annual recognition of a graduating student or students who have excelled in labor law and employment relations. The recipient is selected by faculty who specialize in this area of law. The 2017 recipient was Carly J. Tebelman.
Legal Practice Scholars Award
The Legal Practice Program annually presents this award to recognize graduating students who have received Honors in at least three semesters of Legal Practice, the Law School’s program in legal research, writing, professional responsibility, and lawyering skills. Those recognized this year were: Kristin M. Adams, Mary D. Antley, Clay M. Bennett, Brian P. Currie, Hillary H. Dang, Benjamin A. Ellis, Emily C. Hessler, Lila L. Inman, Mary E. Johnston, Rachel M. Jones, Jacob N. Kipp, Madelyn A. Krezowski, Claire J. Lashley, Carrie M. Mattingly, Katlyn M. Moseley, Andrew J. Pecoraro, Elizabeth Plowman, Katherine B. Shaffer, and Caroline E. Thee.
National Association of Women Lawyers Award
This award recognizes a student or students who have contributed to the advancement of women in society by promoting issues and concerns of women in the legal profession, exhibiting motivation, tenacity, and enthusiasm, demonstrating academic achievement, and earning the respect of the Dean and faculty. The 2017 recipient was Ashley K. Gilkerson.
Order of Barristers
The Order of Barristers, chartered in 1970, is a national honor society that recognizes “graduating law students who excelled as student advocates in written and oral advocacy activities and competitions—moot court, mock trial, and ADR.” Certificates were presented to the following inductees: Kevin Biniazan, Connor S. Bleakley, Randolph T. Critzer, Gordon M. Dobbs, Teresa L. Donaldson, Mariel A. Echemendia, Lila L. Inman, Mary E. Johnston, Tasha N. Thompson, and Laura A. Worden.
Honorary Order of Barristers
This year, William & Mary Law School recognized a member of the legal profession who has attained distinction, and been selected by the faculty committee, to honorary membership in The Order of Barristers: Jeffrey A. Breit.
Breit is one of the most successful trial lawyers in Virginia. He has consistently been named by SuperLawyers Magazine as one of the top lawyers in Virginia, and is a past president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. In 2010, he was among 15 lawyers appointed by a federal judge to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the BP oil spill multidistrict litigation, which became one of the largest trials in American history.
The winner of the St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award in 2008, Breit is also a superb teacher of students. For 13 years, he has coached William & Mary’s Trial Team, one of the most outstanding trial teams in the United States. He teaches for the Law School and coaches the Trial Team because he wants to pay it forward, to create a new generation of skilled, professional, and ethical attorneys. That is William & Mary’s citizen lawyer ethos in action.
Virginia Trial Lawyers Award
This award recognizes a graduating student, or students, for excellence in trial advocacy skills. The 2017 recipients were Allison K. Prout, Spencer A. Reiss, and Jennifer West.
Journals and Competition Teams
Students who served on the Law School’s five student-edited journals were lauded for their many hours of work that resulted, collectively, in the publication of nearly 6,000 pages of legal scholarship in the past year. In the 2016 law journal rankings, too, the school’s journals ranked among the most highly cited publications in their fields:
The William and Mary Law Review is the 21st most cited general interest law review in the country.
The William & Bill of Rights Journal is the 2nd most cited specialty law review in the field of civil rights, and the 3rd most cited specialty law review in the field of constitutional law.
The William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review is the 2nd most cited specialty law review in the field of energy law, and the 5th most cited specialty law review in the field of environmental law.
The William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law is the 8th most cited specialty law review in the fields of gender studies, women, and sexuality.
Finally, the William & Mary Business Law Review is the 10th most cited, student-edited law review in the field of corporate law and business associations.
The following special recognitions for journal staff also were given during the awards ceremony:
William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal - Thomas Jefferson Prize
The Thomas Jefferson Prize is awarded every year to the author of the best student note during the journal’s end-of-year banquet. It is given for the contribution that best addresses a novel and timely issue in constitutional law in a clear and persuasive manner. Jacob N. Kipp received the Thomas Jefferson Prize.
William & Mary Business Law Review - Best Student Note
Kristin M. Adams received this award in recognition of having written the most outstanding student note published in the Business Law Review.
William & Mary Business Law Review - Outstanding Member
Alexander R. Kalyniuk was recognized for his outstanding dedication to and support of the journal.
William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review Award for Excellence in Scholarship
This award recognizes the most outstanding student note published in the Environmental Law and Policy Review. The recipient was Laura C. Hoey.
William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law – Outstanding Member
The award was conferred upon Casey J. Wynn.
William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law - Best Student Note
The award was conferred upon Krishna A. Jani.
William and Mary Law Review – Best Student Note
Trevor D. Vincent was the 2017 winner.
Competition Team Awards
Alex Visser: Semi-Finals, Touro Law School in Law & Religion.
Connor Bleakley: Semi-Finals, St. Johns University Law School.
Aneta Nikolic and Mariel Echemendia: Quarter Finals, Child Welfare and Adoption Law at Capital University.
Gordon Dobbs and Randy Critzer: Final Four, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition.
Spencer Reiss and Kevin Biniazan: Two teams that went to the finals were W&M teams, Gourley Trial Competition in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Tasha Thompson and Kevin Biniazan: Won, ABA Labor & Employment Law in New Orleans.
Mariel Echemendia, and Anne Wallice: Quarter Finals, 3rd Annual Tulane Professional Football Negotiation.
Gambrell Professionalism Award
This award honors students from each of the Legal Skills law offices who best represent professionalism, public service, integrity, and dedication to the improvement of lawyering skills. Gambrell Award recipients were: Emily J. Carapella, Hillary H. Dang, Christopher W. Earle, Mariel A. Echemendia, Anna C. Ellermeier, William L. Fletcher, Lila L. Inman, Mary E. Johnston, Matthew R. Keehn, Claire J. Lashley, Justin E. Lashley, Aneta Nikolic, Andrew J. Pecoraro, Allison K. Prout, Carly J. Tebelman, Trevor D. Vincent, and Christina L. Wentworth.
Spong Professionalism Award
This award is given by the Society of the Alumni of the College of William & Mary to a third-year law student who best exemplifies professionalism and ethics in the Legal Practice Program. It honors the memory of William B. Spong, Jr. (1920-97) who served as Dean of the Law School from 1976 to 1985. Before entering academia, Dean Spong represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 1966 to 1973, and had served previously as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate. This year's award was given to Carolyn E. Harlamert and Andrew J. Pecoraro.
The Dean singled out one student organization with a particularly robust commitment to service: the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). This student group engages in an extraordinary range of service activities, in particular an annual Thanksgiving Basket collection that last November collected more than 2,000 items of food and 20 turkeys and more than $300 in donations to purchase additional meals. In addition, William & Mary’s BLSA held an annual symposium on implicit bias, welcomed more than 40 students for the Law School’s Annual Law Day in November 2016, and hosted a robust speaker series.
Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award
This award is given to a student who shows excellence in the fieldwork component of the clinical course based on the quality of the student’s performance in representing individual clients or in undertaking group advocacy or policy reform projects; excellence in the seminar component of the clinical course based on the quality of the student's reflection in exploring the legal, ethical, strategic, and other pertinent issues raised in the particular clinic; and the extent of the student's contribution to the clinical community. The Class of 2017 recipient was Christina L. Wentworth.
Each year the Dean recognizes select members of the graduating class whose efforts on behalf of the Law School community have been especially outstanding. Awarded Dean’s Certificates in recognition of their outstanding service were: Kristin M Adams, Benjamin Ader, Sami Alsawaf, Spencer D. Anderson, Kevin Biniazan, Teresa L. Donaldson, Mariel A. Echemendia, Lila L. Inman, Krishna A. Jani, Mary E. Johnston, Matthew R. Keehn, Claire J. Lashley, Katherine M. Lennon, Aneta Nikolic, Dominic Pino, Allison K. Prout, Ajinur U. Setiwaldi, Michelle A. Weinbaum, Christina L. Wentworth, and Willie M. Wilson-Herring.
In 1987, the William & Mary Student Assembly established an award to honor well-rounded students--both graduate and undergraduate--who best exemplified a liberal arts education through their activities as well as studies. The award was named in honor of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell, the College’s 16th president, who by ringing the Wren Building bell during the Civil War kept the spirit of the College alive until the students returned to campus. This year, Spencer D. Anderson, Tasha N. Thompson, Taylor Trenchard, and Michelle A. Weinbaum received this honor.
George Wythe Society Award
Created in 2013, the George Wythe Society Award honors a faculty or staff member who performs outstanding service to the Law School community and demonstrates fidelity to those qualities of character, leadership, and selfless service that distinguished the life of George Wythe. President of the Wythe Society Vincent Grosso J.D. ’18 presented the George Wythe Society Award to Michelle Weinbaum.
The Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic Award for Excellence
Students who have represented our nation’s military heroes by participating in the Puller Clinic and who have emulated the characteristics of selfless service and professionalism are recognized with the clinic’s Award for Excellence. The award was presented to the following members of the Class of 2017: Zoe Arndt, Daniel Branagan, Benjamin A. Ellis, Paul Ertel, Justin Ferraro, Devon B. Humphreys, Lila L. Inman, Mary E. Johnston, Chelsea King, Madelyn A. Krezowski, Claire J. Lashley, Laura M. Manchester, Ana Matias, Brittany A. McGill, Michelle J. Monfiletto, Haley O. Morton, Katelyn M. Moseley, Mairi Mull, John Nelson, Kaitlyn O’Connor, Mikayla Rose E. Pentecost, Dominic Pino, Thomas Sandbrink, David Schlosser, Katherine B. Shaffer, Mitchell I. Smithpeter, Hayley Steffen, Austin Swink, Gregory Tolbert, Michelle A. Weinbaum, and Christina L. Wentworth.
Special Education Advocacy Award
This award recognizes outstanding service to children with special needs and their families by a student who participated in the Special Education Advocacy Clinic. The award is made possible by the generosity of Claire Maddox ’05 and Robert Ribble in honor of Evan and in memory of Brooks. The recipients were Michelle J. Monfiletto and Christina L. Wentworth.
Student Bar Association Honor Council Recognition
The following members of the class were recognized for participating with distinction on the Honor Council. Executive Board & Associate Justices: Margaret J. Burnside, William J. Conlin IV, Lila L. Inman, Claire J. Lashley, Katherine M. Lennon, Haley O. Morton, Darius Rohani-Shukla, and Michelle A. Weinbaum.
Student Bar Association Member Recognition
To graduates who have participated with distinction within the SBA. Appointed: Spencer D. Anderson, Kristin M. Adams, Mary C. Boothe, Margaret J. Burnside, Owen R. Ecker, Caleb J. Hays, Carrie M. Mattingly, Steven M. Mikulic, Arlen Papazian, and Allison K. Prout.
Public Service Certificates
Members of each graduating class who contributed at least 35 hours of pro bono legal service or volunteer service to the local community are designated as William & Mary Community Servants. Dean Robert Kaplan asked the audience to recognize the Community Servants from the J.D. and LL.M. Classes of 2017. They included: Jake A. Albert, Mary Catherine Amerine, Christine D. Anchan, Raymond E. Bilter, Bethany E. Bostron, Chelsea L. Brewer, Austin D. Buckley, Daniel E. Carroll, Michelle N. Chionchio, Kelsey J. Christensen, Samara M. Corbin, Randolph T. Critzer, Feiyang Dai, Gordon M. Dobbs, Mariel A. Echemendia, Sarah E. Edwards, Emily N. Furnish, Hayley L. Geiler, Jonathan W. Gonzalez, Zachary Hawari, Matthew M. Hilderbrand, Devon B. Humphreys, Nicholas R. Husher, Lila L. Inman, Victoria C. Jensen, Mary E. Johnston, John S. Jongbloed, Thomas J. Keefe, Justin E. Lashley, Katherine M. Lennon, Laura M. Manchester, Gregory P. Marinelli, Michelle J. Monfiletto, Brittany A. McGill, Aneta Nikolic, Andrew J. Pecoraro, Mikayla Pentecost, Donna L. Rudnicki, Ajinur U. Setiwaldi, Mitchell I. Smithpeter, Rachel M. Sollecito, Hayley Steffen, Emily R. Sterling, Katherine A. Teeters, Tasha N. Thompson, Kristel Tupja, Anne G. Wallice, Michelle A. Weinbaum, Christina Wentworth, Jennifer West, Chantelle A. Williams Nwaogwugwu, Willie M. Wilson-Herring, and Laura Wright.
About William & Mary Law School
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.