On Saturday, May 14, 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 2016’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 2016
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 2016 inducted into the Order of the Coif were: Kevin G. Bender, Elizabeth L. Berry, Cameron A. Bonney, Graham K. Bryant, Kaitlyn R. Chounet, Jessica W. Colton, Lacey R. Coppage, Susanne E. Cordner, Bria J. Cunningham, James R. Damon, Jacob M. Derr, Eric S. Fleming, Melissa A. Fussell, Cameron D. Ginder, Melanie M. Lazor, Kevin M. MacWhorter, Abigail M. Pierce, Peter J. Rechter, W. Ryan Schuster, Leonard D. Simmons, Jennifer L. Watson, Amber R. Will, and Christopher K. Wills.
American Bankruptcy Institute Award
This award recognizes outstanding performance in bankruptcy law. The recipient was Cameron D. Ginder.
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 Scott A. Krystiniak.
ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in Health Law
This award recognizes outstanding performance in the study of health law. W. Ryan Schuster 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. Kalina D. Parker 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 Amber R. Will.
Carter Kaplan & Co. International Financial Law Award
This award for outstanding student in international financial law went to Kevin G. Bender.
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 2016 recipient from the Law School was Marly R. Tristano.
Graduate Outstanding Community Member Award
This award goes to the L.LM. student who has been an outstanding member of the community. Shajee H. Hanfi was the recipient.
Graduate Legal 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 Matteo Capponi, Shajee H. Hanfi, Siao Xi Liu, and Elaine E. Sim.
Graduate Legal Excellence in Writing Award
The Graduate 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 2016 recipients were Matteo Capponi, Yulia L. Kovregina, Agata I. Przekop, Elaine E. Sim, and Chao Zhou.
William Hamilton Prize
This prize is awarded to the student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in legal history. This year, Candace M. Wherry received the prize.
This prize demonstrates the greatest potential in making future contributions to the enhancement of the efficient administration of justice through the innovative use of technology. Jane M. Brittan was the winner.
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 2016 went to Kevin E. Bender.
Kruchko & Fries Award
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 2016 recipient was Lauren R. Stocks-Smith.
Legal Practice Scholar 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: Jane M. Brittan, Graham K. Bryant, James R. Damon III, Melissa A. Fussell, Thomas J. Lukish ,Charles M. Matthews, Caitlin V. McHugh, Maeve E. Olney, Justin C. Pierce, Lauren R. Stocks-Smith, and Jennifer L. Watson.
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 2016 recipient was Lauren O. Wiggins.
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: Nassir A. Aboreden, Devin R. Bates, Jane M. Brittan, Kaitlyn R. Chounet, Michael D. Collett, Jacob M. Derr, Kimberly M. Knipe, Krishna Patel, Eric J. Sutton, and Parisa Tabassian.
Virginia Trial Lawyers Award
This award recognizes a graduating student, or students, for excellence in trial advocacy skills. The 2016 recipient was Jane M. Brittan.
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 about 6,200 pages of legal scholarship in the past year. In the 2015 law journal rankings, too, the school’s journals ranked among the most highly cited publications in their fields:
The William & Mary Law Review is the 21st most-cited general interest law review in the country.
The William & Bill of Rights Journal is the second most-cited specialty law review in the field of civil rights, and the third most-cited specialty law review in the field of constitutional law.
The William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review is the second most-cited specialty law review in the field of energy law, and the fifth most-cited specialty law review in the field of environmental law.
The William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law is the eighth 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. Shaina D. Massie received the Thomas Jefferson Prize.
William & Mary Business Law Review - Best Student Note
Christine P. Henry 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. Viana 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 Erica L. Beacom.
William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law – Outstanding Member
The award was conferred upon Jane M. Brittan.
William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law - Best Student Note
The award was conferred upon Maeve E. Olney.
William and Mary Law Review – Best Student Note
Melissa A. Fussell was the 2016 winner.
Competition Team Awards
Members of the Class of 2015 who participated in Moot Court enjoyed considerable success.
Devin R. Bates and Eric J. Sutton: Winners, Hassell Moot Court Tournament at Regent; Runner-up award for writing the best petitioner’s brief.
Charles E. H. Gulley III: Semifinalist, Eastern Regional Intellectual Property Law, Concord, N.H.
Lydia P. Myers and Jennifer L. Watson: Quarterfinalists, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Washington, D.C.
Nassir A. Aboreden and Courtney E. Hagge: Winners, ABA Labor and Employment, Washington, D.C. Third year in a row that the Trial Team has won this tournament.
Melanie M. Lazor and Abigail M. Pierce: Finalists, Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition, InterAmerican University, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Parker R. Tobin: 5th Best Advocate, Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition, InterAmerican University, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Parker R. Tobin and Matthew L. Hubbard: Quarterfinalists, St. John’s Johnson Memorial National Civil Rights Trial Advocacy Competition in New York.
Jane M. Brittan and Michael D. Collett: Champions, National Trial Team Competition for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, American University Washington School of Law.
Jane M. Brittan: Best Advocate for entire competition, National Trial Team Competition for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, American University Washington School of Law.
Darren C. Ziegler: Advanced to semi-finals, National Trial Team Competition for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, American University Washington School of Law.
Kaitlyn R. Chounet and Jason M. Kowalski: Advanced to quarter-finals, Capitol City Challenge, Washington, D.C.
Chelsea King and Matthew L. Hubbard: Advanced to semi-finals/finished 3rd, American Association for Justice National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, Washington, D.C.
Parker R. Tobin: Best Advocate, Estrella Trial competition, Puerto Rico.
Nassir A. Aboreden: 5th Best Advocate, Estrella Trial competition, Puerto Rico.
Abigail M. Pierce, Jennifer West, and Sarah Kuethe: Advanced to the semi-finals and finished third in the competition, John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition, George Mason Law School.
Our Alternative Dispute Resolution Team also had a strong year.
Devin R. Bates and Justin C. Pierce: Final Round, NASCAR Negotiation Competition, Charlotte, N.C.
Justin C. Pierce: Best Oralist, NASCAR Negotiation Competition, Charlotte, N.C.
Matthew C. Cooper: Winner, ABA Regional Competition in Mediation Advocacy hosted by Georgetown Law School. Third year in a row that William & Mary’s ADR team has won this specific competition
Charles E. H. Gulley III: Advanced to semi-finals, Eastern Regional Intellectual Property.
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: Howl D. Bean II, Jane M. Brittan, Graham K. Bryant, Kaitlyn R. Chounet, Bria J. Cunningham, James R. Damon III, Melissa A. Fussell, Kata Fustos, Matthew G. Jewitt, Michelle C. Johnson, Georgia R. Maclean, Caitlin V. McHugh, Nathaniel D. Moberley, Maeve E. Olney, W. Ryan Schuster, Lauren R. Stocks-Smith, Rachel P. Strubel, and Lauren O. Wiggins.
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. 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 Kaitlyn R. Chounet.
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 about 4,600 items of food and several thousand dollars that provided many needy families in the community with a marvelous Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, William & Mary’s BLSA chapter was once again named the Mid-Atlantic BLSA Chapter of the Year. Our BLSA chapter has received this Chapter of the Year recognition for seven of the past eight years.
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 2016 recipient was Sarah R. Pitts.
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: Jane M. Brittan, Graham K. Bryant, Michael D. Collett, Ann M. Cortez, Mark C. Cramer, Brian H. Cruikshank, Allison C. Davis, Angela R. Diaz, Eric S. Fleming, Kendall R. Kemelek, Kimberly M. Knipe, Scott A. Krystiniak, Mark J. Listes, Sarah J. Merrill, Tyler R. Murray, Ross D. Natividad, Shana F. Oppenheim, Krishna Patel, Peter J. Rechter Jr., Leonard D. Simmons, Brett S. Tendsfeldt, Veronica Van den Abeelen, and Darren C. Ziegler.
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, Jane M. Brittan, Kaitlyn R. Chounet, Rosemary E. Hambright, and Philip Z. Van Keuren 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 Sarah R. Pitts presented the George Wythe Society Award to attorney Daryl Cunningham. Pitts thanked Cunningham for his work as an adjunct professor in the clinical and legal skills programs, his leadership of the Family Law Clinic and Domestic Violence Clinic, and his work supervising numerous interns and externs at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia.
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 2016: Nassir A. Aboreden, Kathryn L. Ashley, Connor J. Baer, Stephen M. Beaty, Sarah C. Blackadar, Cameron S. Boster, Lauren M. Bridenbaugh, Jane M. Brittan, Amanda F. Campbell, Christopher J. Capurso, Michael D. Collett, Eleyse C. D’Andrea, William P. Daisley, Sarah T. Deuitch, Angela R. Diaz, Ashley M. Eick, Toren M. Elsen, Michael P. Goldsmith, Charles E. H. Gulley III, Kaylee R. Gum, Lindy L. Gunderson, Sydney M. Haanpaa, Joseph P. Harrison, Ross P. Hoogstraten, Kaitlyn E. Hutcherson, Kendall R. Kemelek, Sarah E. Kowalkowski, Scott A. Krystiniak, William E. Libby, Charles C. Loughery, Julia M. McCormick, Chelsey R. Moore, Krishna Patel, Aaron R. Petters, Justin C. Pierce, Sarah R. Pitts, Joshua S. Rice, Katherine E. Sheldon, Leonard D. Simmons, Rachel P. Strubel, Mary C. Topic, Krista K. Wallace, Jack R. Wilson, Christopher P. Yakubisin, Sarah E. York, and Kathleen R. Zaratzian.
Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award
The Virginia State Bar gives this statewide honor to only one graduating student from among all law schools in Virginia. Kaylee R. Gum is the recipient.
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 recipient was Bridget M. Claycomb.
Student Admission Ambassadors
In recognition of those who have given above and beyond to the Admission Office: Elizabeth L. Berry, Sarah C. Blackadar, Susan E. Buyrn, Caroline A. Caldwell, Bridget M. Claycomb, Michael D. Collett, Matthew C. Cooper, Allison C. Davis, Phillip A. Giammona, Scott A. Krystiniak, Thomas J. Lukish, Hannah M. Needleman, Abigail M. Pierce, Kristin M. Poole, Elizabeth M. Rademacher, Tess E. Rowley, Shaina Salman, Abibail J. Snider, Lauren R. Stocks-Smith, Justin A. Thatch, and Lauren M. Zitsch.
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: Michael D. Collett, Mark C. Cramer, Michelle C. Johnson, Kendall R. Kemelek, Leonard D. Simmons, Lauren R. Stocks-Smith, Rachel P. Strubel, Kathleen R. Zaratzian; Assistant Justices: Elizabeth L. Berry, Eduardo L. Lopez, Hongwei Ma, and Parker R. Tobin.
Student Bar Association Member Recognition
To graduates who have participated with distinction within the SBA. Appointed: Susan E. Cook, Garrett M. Gee, Georgia R. Giles Maclean, Ashley N. Johnson, Scott A. Krystiniak, Keith M. Salmeri, Shaina Salman, Patrick W. Sebastian; Elected: Nassir A. Aboreden, Kathryn L. Ashley, Phillip A. Giamonna, Shajee H. Hanfi, Kelly E. Johnson, Scott A. Krystiniak, Brett S. Tensfeldt, and Sarah E. York.
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 72 Community Servants from the J.D. and LL.M. Classes of 2016. They included: Nassir A. Aboreden, Kathryn L. Ashley, Kelsey L. Baack, Howl D. Bean, Daniel E. Biegler, Sarah C. Blackadar, Jane M. Brittan, Graham K. Bryant, Christopher J. Capurso, Kaitlyn R. Chounet, Bryony R. Coiner, Aaron B. Colby, Lauren E. Coleman, Susan E. Cook, Lacey R. Coppage, Brian H. Cruikshank, Devin J. Cummins, William P. Daisley, Sarah T. Deuitch, Angela R. Diaz, Melissa A. Fussell, Connor R. Garstka, Garrett M. Gee, Christopher M. Generous, Kaylee R. Gum, Sydney M. Haanpaa, Courtney E. Hagge, Rosemary E. Hambright, Christine P. Henry, Kaitlyn E. Hutcherson, Ashley N. Johnson, Kelly E. Johnson, Michelle C. Johnson, Kendall R. Kemelek, Christopher A. Keslar, Kimberly M. Knipe, Yulia L. Kovregina, Joseph M. Kurt, Elizabeth A. Larner, Eric M. Loose, Eric W. Marriott, Shaina D. Massie, Sarah J. Merrill, Nathan D. Michaux, Carrie E. Miller, Ross D. Natividad, Krishna Patel, Abigail M. Pierce, Sarah R. Pitts, Elizabeth M. Rademacher, India L. Richardson, Abby E. Riley, Thomas P. Russell, Patrick W. Sebastian, Lindsay C. Sfekas, Sean C. Smiley, Abigail J. Snider, Eric Speer, Miriam Strauss, Parisa Tabassian, Brett S. Tensfeldt, Parker R. Tobin, Marly R. Tristano, Philip Z. Van Keuren, Stephanie H. Veniez, Krista K. Wallace, Benjamin C. Waschler, Lauren O. Wiggins, Allyson L. Wiley, Sarah B. Wiley, Christopher P. Yakubisin, and Lauren M. Zitsch.
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.