William & Mary Law School, its faculty, and the Law School Association awarded special recognition to four members of the Class of 2019 at the Diploma Ceremony on Sunday, May 12, at Kaplan Arena. Dean Davison M. Douglas presented the following awards that recognize great professional promise, exceptional service, and distinguished pro bono work.
Lawrence W. I’Anson Award: Noah C. Chauvin and Corey E. Hall
The Law School faculty awards the I’Anson Award to a graduating student or students in recognition of great professional promise as demonstrated through scholarship, character and leadership. The award is named in honor of Lawrence W. I'Anson (1907-1990), who earned his undergraduate degree at William & Mary and was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia from 1974 to 1981.
Noah C. Chauvin served as Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review. He also was a Legal Practice Fellow and a member of the Honor Council and National Trial Team. Creighton Law Review will publish an article he wrote on campus free speech. Having a law review select an article you wrote as a student for publication is a rare accomplishment, the Dean noted. After graduation, Chauvin will clerk on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and will then join the Washington, D.C., office of Covington and Burling. Dean Douglas quoted a faculty member who said Chauvin was among the best students he had ever taught.
Corey E. Hall served as a Lead Articles Editor of the William & Mary Law Review and was a Legal Practice Fellow. After graduation, she will clerk on the federal district court in Richmond, and then will join the Washington, D.C., office of Covington and Burling. The Dean shared a faculty member’s assessment of Hall’s abilities: “She is among the smartest, most hard-working, and talented students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. It goes without saying that she is an absolute star.”
Chauvin and Hall were among students with the highest grade point averages in their class, and both were inducted into the Order of the Coif at the May 11 Awards Ceremony.
Thurgood Marshall Award: Zachary A. McDonnell
The Law School Association gives this honor each year to a member of the graduating class who exhibits the ideals of distinguished public service exemplified by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993).
Zachary A. McDonnell engaged in almost 1,200 hours of volunteer work in a legal setting with much of that time dedicated to assisting victims of domestic abuse, and helping felons restore their voting rights. He has received a William & Mary post-graduate fellowship and will begin his career working at Legal Services of Northern Virginia. Dean Douglas shared with the audience that the Virginia State Bar will honor McDonnell in June with the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award, which recognizes “extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono publico and under-compensated public service work in Virginia.”
A press release announcing McDonnell’s selection for the Oliver White Hill Award quoted from a nomination letter written by Professor Rebecca Green, Professor of the Practice of Law at William & Mary and Co-Director of the Election Law Program: “In my 13 years of teaching at William & Mary Law School, I have never encountered a student more committed to public service than Mr. McDonnell.” The release also quoted Ann H. Kloeckner, Executive Director of Legal Aid Works, who wrote that his “dedication to the mission of civil legal aid is rare and exemplary.”
George Wythe Award: Elizabeth P. Lester-Abdalla
The award is named in honor of George Wythe—William & Mary's and the nation's first professor of law—and is given by the Law School each year to a graduating student in recognition of his or her outstanding and selfless service.
Elizabeth P. Lester-Abdalla participated in two clinics, was a Legal Practice Fellow, and was active in the Public Service Fund. She also was the inaugural editor of the Law School’s highly successful Instagram account. After graduation, she will clerk for a state court judge in New Jersey and thereafter will clerk for a federal judge in Philadelphia. The Dean quoted a professor who described Lester-Abdalla as “a tremendous student to work with. … mature beyond her years, extremely active in the Law School, smart, hard-working, and she always has a smile on her face.”
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.