The Thatcher Prize is among several awards presented to graduates, staff and faculty members during the William & Mary Commencement ceremony. For the complete list of the awards, go to the W&M News page. This year’s award winners were recognized during the university's virtual conferral ceremony on May 16.
The award recognizes an outstanding student in graduate or professional study, and is selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, character and service. The recipient of the 2020 Thatcher Prize was Hillary Kody J.D. ’20.
As a student at William & Mary Law School, Kody impressed with her scholarly achievements, as well as her character and leadership, according to her nomination materials.
Kody displayed strong research and analytical skills, as well as excellent written and oral communication abilities. Her wit, warm demeanor and care for her fellow students was evident in the classroom, wrote Anna Perez Chason, professor of the practice of law and assistant director of the Legal Practice Program.
Kody served as a teaching assistant in Chancellor Professor of Law Lynda Butler’s first-year property course, and she led as associate chair on the Honor Council. She made the William & Mary Law Review and ultimately was voted editor-in-chief by her peers.
Moreover, her note, “Standing to Challenge Familial Searches of Commercial DNA Databases,” was published in the W&M Law Review in 2019. Her work tackled the legal subject of standing in the context of Fourth Amendment searches of DNA databases.
Kody is currently working as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles F. Lettow in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She most recently served as a clinic member of the William & Mary Appellate and Supreme Court Clinic, where she wrote an amicus brief for a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
She also worked in 2019 as a legal intern within the Department of Defense and was a judicial intern in 2018 for the Hon. David J. Novak in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Editor's note: The Thatcher Prize has been awarded to five law students at the university's commencement since 2000: Mary Sue Backus (2001), Cullen Drescher (2009), Jeffrey Bozman (2012), Natalia Rezai (2018) and Hillary Kody (2020).
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.