Coates '06 Receives National Writing Award; Law School Receives Record of Distinction Award P

Noelle J. Coates ’06, a recent graduate of William & Mary Law School, has been selected as one of 14 law students from across the country to receive a 2006 Burton Award for Legal Achievement. The Burton Awards, now in their seventh year, recognize excellent writers at the nation’s law schools and firms. Coates will receive the award on June 12, during a special program at the Library of Congress.

William & Mary Law School is one of three law schools to be recognized with the Burton Program’s 2006 Law School Record of Distinction Award, which is given to law schools that have had student award winners for three or more years. “This achievement,” according to the award citation, “is a direct reflection on the quality of writing by the students at the law school.” The law schools at Georgetown University and the University of Michigan also received this recognition.

Coates was selected for her article, “The Fear Factor: How FCC Fines are Chilling Free Speech,” which was published in the December 2005 issue of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. In light of the increased scope and scale in indecency fines levied by the Federal Communications Commission, Coates argues in her article that the agency’s power to impose fines for indecent materials should be reevaluated by both Congress and the courts.

A 1997 graduate of Georgetown University, Coates is a member of the Order of the Coif, which is the highest academic honor a law student can achieve. She will practice law at Hunton & Williams in Richmond.

For more information about the Burton Awards, visit