Award Ceremony Celebrates Class of 2009's Contributions and Achievements

On Saturday, May 16, the Law School community gathered in Colonial Willamsburg's Kimball Theatre with soon-to-be graduates, their awards ceremonyfamilies and friends to celebrate the Class of 2009's contributions and achievements. Interim Dean Lynda Butler presented the awards with help from other members of the faculty, as well as administrators and representatives of the Student Bar Association and Honor Council. Following the ceremony, class members and guests enjoyed a reception in the historic Wren Building's courtyard.

The following awards and special recognitions were celebrated during the ceremony:

Order of the Coif, Class of 2009
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 ten percent of their class. Members of the Class of 2009 inducted into the Order of the Coif were Kenneth Walter Abrams, Holly Ann Brady, Emily Jane Dodds, Kaila Marie Gregory, Dana James Hall, Krista Pietrok Hanvey, Brandon Scott Harter, Jonathan David Hitsous, David Christopher Holman, Grant Hudson Kidner, Cynthia Grainger Lee, Jennifer Barker Lyday, Daniel Dominic Matthews, Meghaan Cecilia McElroy, John Joseph O'Kane IV, Elizabeth Anne Ridler,  Angela Jacqueline Tang, Mary Laurel Thibadeau , and Michael Alexander Willems.

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 inducted Ingrid Michelsen Hillinger '76 as an honorary member of the Order of the Coif.

In her remarks, Dean Butler noted that Professor Hillinger earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy from Barnard College before receiving her J.D. from Marshall-Wythe.  "A successful law student," the Dean said, "she was in the top of her class and received the highest marks in a number of courses, including Property, Commercial Law and Creditor's Rights." She began her academic career at William & Mary and is now a law professor at Boston College, where she has been recognized with a University Distinguished Teaching Award.

Butler recalled that from the outset when they were both assistant professors at the Law School, Hillinger was a "natural" in the classroom, possessing an "uncanny ability to reach the minds and hearts of students." "Many faculty," said Butler, "win the hearts or minds of students. Very few do both."

Recalling Hillinger's receipt of a state-wide award for Outstanding Teaching from the Virginia Council on Higher Education, Butler quoted Tim Sullivan, then dean of the Law School and one of her nominators, who wrote that her "pedagogical excellence is built upon a first-rate mind, a profound knowledge of her field and a genuine love for her students."  Butler noted that Hillinger was selected for this honor the same year that the Class of 1987 invited her to give the address at their graduation, "an extraordinary gesture of respect." She concluded her remarks by summarizing Hillinger's remarkable achievements: "successful student, gifted teacher, accomplished scholar, caring student mentor."

Dean's Certificates
Each year the Dean recognizes select members of the graduating class whose efforts on behalf of the Law School community have been especially compelling. In her remarks, Dean Butler spoke about the remarkable number of student groups active at Marshall-Wythe, "over 50, " which include four student-edited journals, a student newspaper, the Honor Council, the Student Bar Association, four competitive teams, and numerous student organizations, many of which are involved in public service. Receiving Dean's Certificates were Latoya Chantal Asia, Jennifer Amanda Noel Bacon, Sarah Lynn Bellinger, Jennifer Gwynne Case, Aaron Christopher Garrett, Megan Elizabeth Hay, Neal Alexander Hoffman, Elizabeth Leigh Howard, Genevieve Jenkins, Brian Jay Kargus,  Joelle Elizabeth Ka'ohialoha  Laszlo, Christina Lynn Murtaugh, Timothy Aaron Newman, John Joseph O'Kane IV, Alper Ali Ozinal, Katherine Graham Putnam, David Edmond Sella-Villa , Michael Wayne Smith, William Colonel Smith, Jr.,  Heather Leigh Stangle, and David Wesley Tyler.

Order of Barristers
The Order of Barristers is a national honor society that recognizes individuals who have contributed substantially in an oral argument program either in the administration of an advocacy program or in the development of advocacy skills through competition. Inductees from the Class of 2009 were Kenneth Walter Abrams, Brandon Scott Harter, Michelle Cannon Jacobs, Christina Lynn Murtaugh, John Joseph O'Kane IV, Heather Leigh Stangle, Arpan Ashwin Sura, and David Wesley Tyler.

ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law
The recipient, or recipients, of this award are selected by the professors on the faculty who teach intellectual property law in recognition of outstanding performance in this area. The award was presented to Seth McChesney Eddy and Troy Leo Gwartney.

ABA Section of State and Local Government Law Award
This award, whose recipient or recipients are chosen by the professors on the faculty who teach land use and local government, recognizes outstanding performance in this area of study. Lauren Ashley Hughes and Timothy John Slattery received this recognition.

Academic Support Program Teaching Assistants
Each year, the Law School chooses a select group of students to work in the Academic Support Program to help their peers maximize their academic success. Recognized for their contributions as ASP Teaching Assistants were Benjamin Bruce Anger, Timothy Thomas Brown, Michelle Cannon Jacobs, Erik Jason Jennings, Meghaan Cecilia McElroy, John Joseph O'Kane IV, Kimberley Ann Piro, Jason Robert Wool, and Chunlian Yang.

American Bankruptcy Institute Award
ABI recently selected Cullen Ann Drescher as the winner of the First Annual Bankruptcy Law Writing Competition for her paper titled "Introducing the Foreign Gap Debtor."  As first-place winner, she received a $1,000 prize and a one-year ABI membership.

Benjamin Rush Scholars 
Benjamin Rush Scholars are a select group of law students who have distinguished themselves by their research in the Health Law and Policy class. The scholars are responsible for choosing the annual recipient of the Benjamin Rush Medal. This year's scholars from the Class of 2009 were Dana James Hall, Jeffrey Scott Palmore, Michael Wayne Smith and Emily Paige Uhre.

BLSA Recognition
The Dean shared the news with the audience that the Law School's Black Law Students Association won National Chapter of the Year honors this past spring. The National Black Law Students Association was founded more than forty years ago "to articulate and promote the needs of black law students," and has more than 200 law school chapters in the U.S. and five other countries.  Previous winners of National Chapter of the Year include Harvard Law School, in 2008, and the University of Virginia, in 2007.

Carter Kaplan & Company Award
This award is presented to the most outstanding student in international finance law. Angela Jacqueline Tang was the 2009 recipient of this honor.

Drapers' Scholar
Each year the Law School selects one graduating student as the recipient of the Drapers' Scholarship, which is funded by the Ancient Order of the Drapers. The Drapers' Scholar studies for one year at Queen Mary and Westfield College of the University of London, earning an LL.M. degree.  Catherine Genevieve Jenkins was named the 2009-10 Drapers' Scholar.

William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review Award for Excellence in Scholarship
This award recognizes the most outstanding student note published in the current volume of the journal. The recipient was Brian Edward Maxted.

Equal Justice Works Fellowship Award
Sarah Bellinger received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship for her proposal to create a Special Education Clinic in concert with Advocacy, Inc., of Houston, Texas, following graduation. The Equal Justice Works Fellowship Program creates partnerships among public interest lawyers, nonprofit organizations, and law firm and corporate sponsors to provide access to the justice system for underrepresented populations.

Ewell Award
In 1987, the Student Assembly established an award to honor well-rounded graduating students - both graduate and undergraduate - who best exemplify a liberal arts education through their activities as well as studies.  This award was named in honor of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell, William & Mary's 16th president, who by ringing the Wren Building bell during the Civil War kept the spirit of the College alive until the students, the heart of the College, returned to campus. Two members of the Class of 2009, Latoya Chantal Asia and Heather Leigh  Stangle, received this honor.

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 a Family Law Book 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 2009 recipient from William & Mary was Erin Rose McNeill.

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. Kenneth Walter Abrams, Holly Ann Brady, Brian Jay Kargus, Joelle Elizabeth Ka'ohialoha Laszlo, Matthew Paul Latrick, Erin Rose McNeill, Angela Christine Sexton Morehouse, Timothy Aaron Newman, Cameron Michael Rountree, Omid Safa, Sarah Kathryn Simmons, and Stephen Edward Wieker received Gambell Awards.

Hermann Prize
This prize is awarded to the student, or students, who in the opinion of the dean, president of the National Center for State Courts, and the director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology demonstrated the greatest potential for contributing to the enhancement of the efficient administration of justice through the innovative use of technology.  Erin Rose McNeill and Calisa Michelle Smith received this award.

Honor Council Recognition
The honor system among students is one of the oldest and most important traditions of William & Mary, dating back to 1779. Chief Justice Bishop Harrison recognized his classmates including Jennifer Amanda Bacon, Trenton Emory Brown, Christopher Armstrong Crawford, Jeffrey Scott Palmore, David Edmond Sella-Villa, Sarah Kathryn Simmons, and William Colonel Smith, Jr., for serving on the Honor Council with distinction.

Kruchko & Fries Award
The generosity of the firm Kruchko & Fries makes possible the annual recognition of a graduating student who has excelled in labor law and employment relations.  The recipient is selected by Law School faculty who teach labor and employment law.  The 2009 recipient was Meghaan Cecilia McElroy.

The Dean asked students to stand if they had served on any of the Law School's four student-edited journals: the William and Mary Law Review, the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law. She noted that in the past year the four journals have published 5,288 pages of legal scholarship in 16 issues. She remarked on the outstanding performance of these journals in the rankings: the William and Mary Law Review continues to be ranked in the top twenty among journals overall, while the BORJ ranked third, the JOWL ranked second to Harvard, and the ELPR was tied for eleventh with Georgetown among student-edited journals in their fields.

Legal Skills Scholar Award
This award is given annually by the Legal Skills Program to recognize graduating students who have received Honors in at least three semesters of Legal Skills, the Law School's innovative two-year program in legal research, writing, professional responsibility and lawyering skills.  Those recognized this year were Holly Ann Brady, Elizabeth Lonia Burroughs, Emily Jane Dodds, Aaron Christopher Garrett, Krista Pietrock Hanvey, David Christopher Holman, Jeremy Patrick Hunt, Joelle Elizabeth Ka'ohialoha Laszlo, Erin Rose McNeill, Elizabeth Anne Mercuri, Angela Christine Sexton Morehouse, Abigail Elizabeth Peoples, Katherine Graham Putman, Omid Safa, Alison Marie Schmieder, Sarah Kathryn Simmons, Nicole Elizabeth Sornsin, Angela Jacqueline Tang, Amanda Flynn Wieker, Stephen Edward Wieker, Michael Alexander Willems, Heather Rose Willis, and Jason Robert Wool.

Legal Skills Teaching Assistants
The Legal Skills Program chooses a select group of third-year students each year to serve as junior partners of Legal Skills law firms. The following junior partners were recognized for their contributions:  John Amerigo Calabrese, Jennifer Gwynne Case, Christopher John Casey, Dana James Hall, Brandon Scott Harter, Neal Alexander Hoffman, Marin Brooke Hoplamazian, Mary Albert Hutton, Joelle Elizabeth Ka'ohialoha Laszlo, Jennifer Barker Lyday, Erin Rose McNeill, Abigail Elizabeth Peoples, Sarah Kathryn Simmons, and Heather Leigh Stangle.

National Association of Women Lawyers Award
This award recognizes a student who has 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 2009 recipient for her class was Katherine Graham Putnam.

Phi Delta Phi Graduate of the Year
The 2009 J. Will Pless International Graduate of the Year was Brian Jay Kargus from the Jefferson Inn chapter at the Law School. As the 2009 Graduate of the Year, he will receive a $3000 prize and is invited to attend PDP's 59th General Convention in New Orleans.

Presidential Management Fellowship Finalists
Class of 2009 members who were finalists for Presidential Management Fellowships were recognized during the afternoon. They were Christopher Armstrong Crawford, Joseph Michael Kanfer, Satya Grace Kaskade, Brandon Keith Moon, Elisha Caroline Seaton, and Mark David Tyler. The Program's purpose is to "attract to the Federal service outstanding men and women from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs."

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 Skills Program.  William B. Spong, Jr. (1920-1997) served as Law School dean from 1976 to 1985. He also served as a U.S. senator during a long and distinguished career devoted to the public good. The 2009 recipient was Stephen Edward Wieker.

Student Admission Ambassadors
This award recognized the following students for their personal commitment, dedication and contributions to our admission efforts: Kimberly Albrecht-Taylor, Latoya Chantal Asia, Sarah Lynn Bellinger, David Daniel Benatar, Erica Michelle Brannon, Jennifer Gwynne Case, Emily Marie Friend, Reneta LaShay Green, Dana James Hall, Krista Pietrok Hanvey, Mary Albert Hutton, Lindsay Rachel Kaplan, Joelle Elizabeth Ka' ohialoha Laszlo, Erin Rose McNeill, Brandon K. Moon, Timothy Aaron Newman, Jeffrey Scott Palmore, Mark Albert Pike, Jordan Chandler Saltzberg, and Sarah Kathryn Simmons.

Student Alumni Affairs and Development Office Ambassadors
The Office of Alumni Affairs and Development recognized Lauren Ashley Hughes and James Douglas Markey for their significant contributions to the Law School's developmen program and alumni outreach.

Student Bar Association Recognition
The Law School's student government is called the Student Bar Association. The following members of the Class of 2009 were recognized for their significant contributions to the Law School through their work with the SBA: Latoya Chantal Asia, Elesha Kelly Brown, Jennifer Gwynne Case, Christopher Armstrong Crawford, Reneta LaShay Green, Jeffery Michael Hinchcliffe, Karen Elizabeth Loughman, Brian Edward Maxted, Lena Stasia Munasifi, Alper Ali Ozinal, Abigail Elizabeth Peoples, Michael Wayne Smith, and Brandis LeeAnn Zehr.

The Thatcher Prize for Excellence
The Thatcher Prize for Excellence is presented at the College of William & Mary's graduation ceremony and is given each year to an outstanding graduate student completing an advanced degree in Arts and Sciences, Education, Marine Science, Business Administration, or Law, and is awarded on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership and service.  The recipient is chosen n the basis of letters of nomination from members of the college community. The 2009 Thatcher Prize was awarded to Cullen Ann Drescher.

Thomas Jefferson Prize
The Thomas Jefferson Prize is awarded every year by the Bill of Rights Journal for its best Note during their end of year banquet.  The award is given to the note that best addresses a novel and timely issue in constitutional law, in a clear and persuasive manner.  Allison Elizabeth Barger was the 2009 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Prize.

Tournament Winners
Dean Butler noted that the Law School has several highly successful academic competition teams. She highlighted the successes of third-year class members in the following programs and competitions:

Moot Court

John Joseph O'Kane IV took Best Oral Advocate honors and the W&M team the second place crown at the ABA Regional Tournament.

Nicole Elizabeth Sornsin and Sarah Kathryn Simmons participated in the Stetson International Environmental Law Regional Tournament in which the W&M team advanced to the quarter finals. 

Catherine Genevieve Jenkins and Kevin Petty Grady participated in the INTA Trademark Regional Tournament and David Edmond Sella-Villa participated in the George Mason Law and Economics Tournament.

Trial Team

Jennifer Amanda Noel Bacon, Kevin Petty Grady, Neal Alexander Hoffman, and Joshua Perry Steward participated in the Michigan State University National Trial Advocacy Competition. The team finished as semi-finalists, and Grady won Best Closing Argument.

Michelle Cannon Jacobs and Arpan Ashwin Sura participated in the Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition. The team placed as semi-finalists.

Ambria Lenese Witt and Brooke Marie Williams participated in the ABA Labor & Employment Trial Advocacy Competition.

Kenneth Walter Abrams, Heather Leigh Stangle, and David Wesley Tyler took first place in the William W. Daniel National Invitational Mock Trial Competition. Tyler received the award for Best Overall Advocate.

Jennifer Amanda Noel Bacon participated in the GMUSL John C. Costello Trial Advocacy Competition. The team advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Brooke Marie Williams and Ambria Lenese Witt participated in the BLSA Regional Thurgood Marshall Competition, and the team placed third.

Neal Alexander Hoffman and Joshua Perry Steward participated in the National Trial Competition.

Alexander Michael Brodsky and Kevin Petty Grady participated in the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

Michelle Cannon Jacobs and Arpan Ashwin Sura (in the witness role) participated in the Gourley Trial Advocacy Competition. The team took first place with Jacobs winning Best Overall Advocate.

Kenneth Walter Abrams, Heather Leigh Stangle, Arpan Ashwin Sura, and David Wesley Tyler participated in the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition.

Jeffrey Michael Hinchcliffe and David Wesley Tyler finished as quarterfinalists in the National First Amendment Moot Court Tournament.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

A W&M team won first place in the Tulane Law School National Baseball Arbitration Competition.

Trial Advocacy Teaching Assistant
The Trial Advocacy Pogram recognized Seth McChesney Eddy for dedicated service as its teaching assistant.

Virginia Bar Association Community Servants
Since 2006, the Virginia Bar Association has recognized students at Virginia's law schools who provide at least 35 hours of pro bono legal service or non-legal service to charitable, religious, civic, governmental and educational organizations or causes for the good of the community. The following members of the Class of 2009 were recognized for their work as VBA Community Servants: Kenneth Walter Abrams, Matthew Mark Adams, Kimberly Albrecht-Taylor, Clifford J. Allen, Latoya Chantal Asia, Jennifer Amanda Noel Bacon, Allison Elizabeth Barger, Sarah Lynn Bellinger, Eric Scott Bergeron, Philip Gray Bowditch, Erica Michelle Brannon, Miranda Ai Brown, Jennifer Gwynne Case, Tara Kate Celender, Kristen Diane Clardy, Seth McChesney Eddy, Crystal Garrett Foster, Emily Marie Friend, Aaron Christopher Garrett, Todd MacDonald Garvey, Kevin Petty Grady, Kaila Marie Gregory, Shajine Gregory, Dana James Hall, Andrew P. Hanlin, Neal Alexander Hoffman, Lauren Ashley Hughes, C. Genevieve Jenkins, Erik Jason Jennings, Adrienne Gail Johnson, Lindsay Rachel Kaplan, Satya Grace Kaskade, Brian Jay Kargus, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, Grant Hudson Kidner, Ji Yeh Kim, Joanna Lyn Klein, Joelle Elizabeth Ka'ohialoha Laszlo, Elizabeth Anne Mercuri, Edward Russell Molari, Brandon K. Moon, Angela Christine Sexton Morehouse, Jason Andrew Mullins, Christina Lynn Murtaugh, Jeffrey Scott Palmore, Abigail Elizabeth Peoples, Kelly Amber Samuels, Renee Marie Schwerdt, Timothy John Slattery, Calisa Michelle Smith, Nicole Elizabeth Sornsin, Brian Arthur Sterling, Brett Christopher Thornock, Leigh Megan Wilson, and Jason Robert Wool.

Virginia Trial Lawyers Award
This award recognizes a graduating student, or students, for excellence in trial advocacy skills.  The 2009 recipients were Michelle Cannon Jacobs and Heather Leigh Stangle.

William &  Mary Journal of Women and the Law - Outstanding Member
Leigh Megan Wilson was recognized for her outstanding dedication to and support of the journal.

William and Mary Law Review - Best Student Note
This award recognized Heather Leight Stangle as having written the most outstanding student note published in the current volume of the Law Review.