Monday, March 22, 2010

George Washington University Student Wins Scribes Legal Writing Award at National Conference of Law Reviews

NCLR 2010 photo A student from George Washington University School of Law has won the prestigious Scribes Law Review Writing Award for the best law review article published during 2009.  This marked the second time that George Washington University has won the award, a feat matched by only two other law schools in the 24-year history of the student legal writing award.

Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers, presents an annual award for the best student-written law review note or comment. After initial selections are made from the nominations submitted, the final winner determined by a Scribes selection committee chaired by Professor Richard Wydick of the University of California at Davis (and whom most of you know as the author of Plain English for Lawyers).  Other members of the committee include Professor Glen-Peter Ahlers (Barry University), Professor Mary Bowman (Seattle University), Steven Feldman (legal advisor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Daniel Karon (Goldman, Scarlato & Karon PC), and Professor Richard Leiter (University of Nebraska at Lincoln).

This past weekend, 270 law review editors were in attendance at the National Conference of Law Reviews, where Otto Stockmeyer (Emeritus Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School) announced that the winner of the prestigious Scribes Award for the Best Law Review Note or Comment published during 2009 is Mike Wagner of the George Washington University School of Law.  Professor Stockmeyer made the announcement at the Scribes Law Review Dinner held during the National Conference.  Mr. Wagner is pictured here with Alexandra Brazier, the Senior Notes Editor of the George Washington University Law Review who wisely selected his article for publication.

The winning article was Mr. Wagner's article, Warrantless Wiretapping, Retroactive Immunity, and the Fifth Amendment, 78 George Washington Law Review 204 (2009). 

Why did he win?  Professor Wydick (who chaired the committee) told Professor Stockmeyer (who delivered the award) that his article was chosen because it was a perfect choice of topic for a student-written piece.  It was a single, manageable issue.  His constitutional analysis was first-rate.  And the committee was impressed by the clarity and directness of his writing style.

Mr. Wagner will graduate from George Washington University Law School in May.  He will clerk next year for a federal district court judge in Maryland before joining the D.C. office of Covington & Burling LLP.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Scribes is the oldest organization in the United States dedicated to improving legal writing and honoring legal writers.  It does so by conducting legal writing programs (such as the one recently held in Chicago), publishing the first law journal devoted exclusively to legal writing, and by sponoring awards for legal writing. Individual membership is open to all members of the legal profession (including law students) who have written one book or two articles on legal topics, or who have edited a legal publication.

Click here to read Professor Stockmeyer's comments at the Scribes Law Review Dinner.  His comments also explain the complex process of how the award winner is selected, with a special acknowledgment to the legal writing professors at Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.  Download Scribes Law Review Dinner Remarks.

Hat tips to Scribes and Professor Otto Stockmeyer.  Congratulations to Mike Wagner and George Washington University School of Law.


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