Congratulations Class of 2011!
On May 22, the Boston University School of Law community convened at the Agganis Arena for the 138th Commencement ceremony. U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin delivered the Commencement speech and joined the graduates and their families in the celebration.
Following Judge Chin's address, LL.M. student Jing Tang and J.D. student Christopher Rudy delivered two exceptional speeches, inviting their peers to reflect on their experiences at BU and where these experiences may take them. Having received their degrees, the 445 graduates mingled and rejoiced at a reception following the ceremony.
In his speech, Judge Chin shared a number of his more memorable, high profile cases. Such anecdotes included the Million Youth March case, the Megan’s Law case, three cases that have been adapted into Law and Order episodes, a case that led to his unofficial title as “The Listerine Judge,” as well as the Madoff case.
—that of his grandfather, who left his family in China to work in New York City. Years later, his grandfather was able to bring his family, including Chin, into the U.S. “It was only later,” Chin reflected, “that I came to understand how much a hero he really was, as he traveled to a strange country as a young man and worked so hard, day in and day out, to make a better life for him and his family.”
Chin closed by offering advice to the graduating class. He told them to never forget about the paths of their parents, grandparents and those before them. He urged them to remain balanced and keep a perspective on the importance of values. And he asked them to remember how fortunate they are to enter the law profession, and to include in their thoughts those whose qualms may differ from theirs.
About Judge Chin
Judge Denny Chin is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From 1994-2010, Judge Chin served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He presided over both civil and criminal cases, including cases involving Megan’s Law and the Million Youth March. He also presided over the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff. While in private practice, he provided extensive pro bono representation to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York from January 1992 through January 1994. Judge Chin was the first Asian American appointed a United States District Judge outside the Ninth Circuit. He is the only federal appellate judge of Asian American descent on active status in the country.
Denny Chin is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was sworn in on April 26, 2010.
Judge Chin graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude in 1975 and received his law degree from Fordham Law School in 1978. After clerking for the Honorable Henry F. Werker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was associated with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell from 1980 to 1982. He served as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1982 until 1986, when he and two of his colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s Office started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin. In 1990, he joined Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law.
From September 13, 1994, through April 23, 2010, Judge Chin served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He presided over both civil and criminal cases, including cases involving Megan’s Law, the Million Youth March, Al Franken’s use of the phrase “Fair and Balanced” in the title of a book, the Naked Cowboy, the Google Books settlement, and the United Nations Oil for Food Program. He also presided over the trial of an Afghan warlord charged with conspiring to import heroin and the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff.
Judge Chin has taught legal writing at Fordham Law School since 1986. While in private practice, he provided extensive pro bono representation to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York from January 1992 through January 1994. He has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including Hartley House, Care for the Homeless, the Clinton Housing Association, the Prospect Park Environmental Center, and the Fordham Law School Alumni Association.
Judge Chin was born in Hong Kong. He was the first Asian American appointed a United States District Judge outside the Ninth Circuit. He is the only federal appellate judge of Asian American descent on active status in the country.
It takes a lot to get a life-long Yankee fan to come to the home city of the Hated Boston Red Sox. In fact, my hotel room looks right out on Fenway Park. But here I am. And I am here because it is such a great honor for me to be invited by this great law school to address this year's graduating class.
Boston University Law School is a special place. It has a great tradition of openness, as it was one of the first law schools in the country to admit students without regard to race, color or gender. BU Law School also has a great tradition of public service, and you include among your alumni many dedicated and committed individuals who have worked to make this state, this country, this world a better place.
One great example of what happens when you combine the traditions of openness and public service is my friend Hugh Mo. Hugh served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan and as a Deputy Police Commissioner in the New York City Police Department. He is here today with his family, as his daughter Elizabeth is graduating today. Elizabeth will be following in her father's footsteps, as she too will be joining the District Attorney's Office.
I thought I would first talk about the course I’ve taken in the law—how I charted my course, what I've been doing, and how I got here. Then I’ll conclude by offering a few words of advice for our graduates, as they chart their course.
How did I get into the law? Almost accidentally. When I was a senior at Princeton, I did not know what to do with myself. I was a psychology major, and I knew only that I did not want to go into psychology. And so I went to law school, principally to defer making a hard decision. There were no lawyers in my family, and I did not know whether I actually wanted to practice law. Once I got to Law School, however, things came together for me. The law appealed to me right away. At the end of my first year, I interned for Judge Henry Werker in the Southern District of New York. I saw justice in action, justice at work, and I saw the excitement, the drama of the courtroom. I knew then that the law was for me. And so I charted my course, right then and there, with just one year of law school under my belt.
I decided that I wanted to come back someday to be a judge. I wanted also to come back after law school to clerk. That summer, I had seen young prosecutors in action, and so I knew also that someday I wanted to join the U.S. Attorney’s office. To get there, I realized that I would have to spend some time at a big firm. For some reason, I also wanted to have my own law firm.
Sure enough, everything fell into place for me. Judge Werker asked me to come back to clerk for him. I spent some time at Davis Polk, and then, just as I had planned, I joined the U.S. Attorney's Office. After a few years there, I started my own law firm with two colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We had a great time, but didn’t make enough money. And so I then joined a firm that specialized in labor and employment law. I was following the course I had charted, almost to a tee. In 1994, my dream came true, as I was confirmed as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
I’ve been extremely fortunate, for at least two reasons. First, it is difficult to become a federal judge, and in particular very few Asian Americans have been appointed to the federal bench. There are now only 14 active Article III Asian American federal judges in the country, and eight of the 14 were appointed just within the last three years. As for active federal appellate judges, I am the only one in the entire country.
Second, I've also been fortunate because I've drawn more than my share of interesting, high profile cases. Early on, for example, I had the Megan's Law case, involving the sex offender registration and notification statute. When I held that the law could not be applied retroactively without violating the Constitution, the New York Daily News put me on its list of junk judges and gave me a nickname, Denny "The Pervert’s Pal" Chin.
I also had the Million Youth March case. The City of New York had denied a parade permit to a group whose leader had made racist statements in the past, and the group sued under the First Amendment. The case was on the front page of the New York Times three times in one week. One of the organizers of the march was quoted as saying, "Judge Chin is our brother." On the other hand, a New York Post columnist referred to me as a "fuzzy-headed buffoon." Some years later, after the Madoff case, the same columnist referred to me as a "rock star in a black robe." You learn to take all these things with a grain of salt.
One of the benefits of the Million Youth March case was how much the public became interested. Friends told me that they were discussing the First Amendment with their teenage children. You could hear people debating the case on the subway. My parents, who speak virtually no English, both called me to lobby, saying, "you're not going to give them a permit, are you?"
When my son Paul was in High School, he took a debate class and the class debated two cases. Both cases turned out to be mine: Megan's Law and the Million Youth March. Paul tried to lay low, but when the teacher learned that his father was the judge on both cases, she made him argue that I was wrong.
At least three of my cases became the plot for Law & Order episodes: the case involving the priest who came forward to disclose a confession made by the real murderer; the investment banker who was fired for posing nude in a gay magazine; and the mob infiltrating a Wall Street securities firm.
Some summers ago, in my son's eyes, I hit the big time: one of my cases was on both ESPN and Saturday Night Live in the same week. This was the Penthouse case, involving photographs supposedly of Anna Kournikova, the hot tennis star, sunbathing topless on a public beach, in Miami. The photographs turned out to be of someone else, and that person sued. You know, I had to hold a hearing and spend a day and a half studying photographs of Anna Kournikova and Penthouse.
Several years ago, I had another fun case. Fox News sued Al Franken to stop him from using its phrase "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his book. Fox argued that consumers would be confused into believing that it had sponsored the book. How that could happen, I don't know, for the full title of the book was: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look At the Right. Ironically, when I went through the confirmation process recently, there was Senator Al Franken, now a member of the Judiciary Committee, asking me questions.
I also had a false advertising case involving Listerine and floss. Listerine ran ads claiming that rinsing with its mouthwash was just as effective as flossing in fighting plaque and gingivitis. Disappointing millions of consumers throughout the country, I held that no, it just wasn't true—you still had to floss.
Some folks started referring to me as "The Listerine Judge.” I didn't like that, "The Listerine Judge," but, you know what, it was better than the “Pervert’s Pal.”
I also had the Naked Cowboy case. The Naked Cowboy is the "street entertainer" in Times Square who wears nothing but a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and underpants. Tourists stick dollar bills into his guitar. Nearby, the M&M company started running a video that included the Blue M&M dressed like the Naked Cowboy. It did so without his permission, and so the Naked Cowboy sued. I put color photographs of the Naked Cowboy and the Blue M&M in my opinion, and the first sentence read: “This is the case of the Naked Cowboy versus the Blue M&M.”
I've had many criminal cases as well, of course, including the Madoff case. The Madoff case was challenging because the entire world was watching, and I did not want the proceedings to turn into a circus. I wanted to make sure that Mr. Madoff, the Government, and the victims all had a full and fair opportunity to be heard.
I have now been a Circuit Judge for all of a year. I will miss the trial court, but I look forward to the opportunity to be more reflective, to work on a more collaborative basis with other judges, and perhaps to have a broader impact.
One of the things I will miss the most about being a district judge is presiding over the naturalization ceremony by which immigrants become American citizens. I performed the ceremony many times. Each time there were more than 200 immigrants from some 50 countries, and each time I told the new citizens about my grandfather. I'm going to tell you now about my grandfather because he was very much a part of my course.
My grandfather died, at the age of 81, when I was still in law school. He was born in China in 1896 and came to the United States in 1916; I believe he came into this country illegally, as a "paper son," because of the Chinese exclusion laws that were on the books then.
In the 1930's my grandfather returned to China and my father was born. My grandfather then returned to New York, leaving his family behind in China. He could not take them back with him to the United States because of the immigration laws.
My grandfather worked as a waiter for many years in Chinese restaurants in New York City. He lived in a railroad apartment in Chinatown with other Chinese men who were also without their families. Each month my grandfather would buy a money order at the Post Office and send it home to his family in China.
In 1947, my grandfather became a U.S. citizen—in my former court, the Southern District of New York. I have his naturalization certificate, issued on June 9, 1947, hanging on the wall in my Chambers at the Courthouse.
By becoming a citizen, my grandfather was able to bring his family, including me, to this country, in 1956. After we arrived in New York, my parents raised five kids. My mother worked as a seamstress in garment factories in Chinatown. For many years my father was a cook in Chinese restaurants. In 1967, my parents were naturalized, and thus I became a citizen as well, by operation of law.
So each time that I performed the naturalization ceremony, I told the new American citizens about my grandfather. I showed them my grandfather's naturalization certificate, which I would take off the wall, frame and all. And each time I showed it to them, I thought of my grandfather, of how hard he worked for so many years waiting on tables, of how he became a citizen in 1947, of how he brought my parents into the country, of how they became citizens, and how I, the son of a seamstress and Chinese cook, the grandson of a Chinese waiter, became a federal judge.
Now, all of you have someone like my grandfather in your family histories. I know that I would not be here today, that I would not have presided over all these exciting cases that I've talked about, that I would not now be a judge on the Second Circuit, if my grandfather and my parents and others like them had not led the way for me, had they not overcome so many barriers.
When I was younger and my grandfather was still alive, I surely did not think of him as a "hero" –after all, I thought, he was just a Chinese waiter. It was only later that I came to appreciate all that he did for me and the rest of my family, and it was only later that I came to understand how much a hero he really was, as he traveled to a strange country as a young man and worked so hard, day in and day out, to make a better life for him and his family.
Let me conclude by offering a few words of advice for our graduates, as you chart your course.
First, as you now move on, don't forget about your parents and grandparents and others before them, and the paths they had to travel for you to get to this point in your lives today. There is much that you can learn from them. Remember also the impact that the law had on their lives, both good and bad, and consider the lessons that we can draw from their experiences.
Second, remain balanced and keep a perspective on what's important in life. Some lawyers get so caught up in work, they become consumed and ignore their families and communities, even themselves. Some lawyers strive so hard to win that they forget their obligations to the Court and to the Bar. Work hard, but don't overdo it. Be passionate, but don’t be overzealous. Don’t take shortcuts. You will be a better advocate if you are honest, credible, respected, and well liked by judges and adversaries. Be a good person, and you will be a better lawyer for it.
Third, we should all remember that as judges and professors, as lawyers and graduates about to enter the profession, we are privileged and fortunate. There are members of our society, however, who are not so fortunate, and there are still so many things in this world that need fixing. Indeed, many members of our communities are not worried about breaking glass ceilings or becoming a judge or making partner or getting tenure. They are worried about much more basic things, and we cannot forget them.
Finally, I know that for many of you, this is not the best time to be graduating from law school. Like the rest of the country, indeed, like the rest of the world, the legal profession has been going through a difficult time. We will get through this tough period. Do not let these worries detract from the joy of today's celebration. Be patient. Work hard to find something. You will overcome these challenges, just as those who came before us overcame the challenges they faced. So, go forth and prosper.
And as you chart your course, remember those who came before us, those who need our help now, and those who will need our help in the future.
Thank you very much.
Jing, originally from China, has spent the majority of her academic career in Singapore and the U.K. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2009 and thereupon completed the U.K.’s Legal Practice Course, qualifying her as a solicitor. She passed the New York State bar exam in February 2011, while enrolled in the LL.M. in American Law Program full-time. Jing has interned at Herbert Smith LLP and Clifford Chance LLP in London, and she will join Clifford Chance in August as a trainee solicitor.
Good morning faculty, family, friends, and class of 2011.
My fellow LL.M. graduates, I am especially honored to be standing in this hall with you today, to spend perhaps the last dollar of our tuition fee together. When I first sat down to write this speech, I thought that it was an impossible job. How could I compress the vastness and enormity of the year’s excitements, challenges and fulfillments into a mere 5-minute speech? No craftsmanship in speech can adequately express the overwhelming joy and gratitude we’ve experienced in the program, day in and day out.
Hence, without posh and ornate languages, I will describe for you today a journey. This journey starts with a 6-inch TV screen, bread and butter, a crammed neck, numb legs, a stamp in the passport, and a “welcome to America”. When we just set foot in the monotonously grey Brutalist style law tower, we were met with warnings: warnings as to the workload and intensity of the program; warnings as to the heating in the building – that you should wear short sleeves in winter while jackets are a must in summer; warnings as to the elevators – that when you are ready to take the stairs to the 15th floor, it’s about time that one of the six evaluators will come pick you up. But there was no warning about the subway.
So, patiently, anxiously, cautiously, we waited, not for the T, but for ourselves to settle in. With the help of the most supportive faculty in the world, we quickly dissolved into American Law. It was fall, and we delved right into the myriad of cases. It was fall, and we started to wonder, is the much admired common law equal to several old men in robes delivering never ending sentences, in between which a bunch of practitioners and academics try desperately to search for the curious thing called ratio decidendi? It was winter, and we were undergoing the agony of drafting outlines for exams. Wintertime, and we rejoiced at delayed openings due to snowstorms. Wintertime, we have spent enough time in Pappas Library to learn that BU Law is the breeding place for governors and justices of Rhode Island. Wintertime, we drowned ourselves in coffees and red bulls to prepare for perhaps the last exams of our life. Springtime, sorry, that was a mistake. Still, winter. Always winter.
We all know that today is not our final destination. BU Law is a community; it is a continuation that will stay with us wherever we go from here. This community has given us a great deal. The administrative staff has made every effort to make even the most tedious reading periods bearable. We appreciate the free coffees and snacks, as well as the pumpkin and ski trips. The professors have brightened our learning journey, with singings or otherwise. Thank you for your patience and guidance.
Of course each of us is part of the community. We are a unique group marked by differences, differences that may stretch from one end of the globe to the other. Yet we bond in perfect harmony and stand by one another. Thank you my friends.
Our community stretches way back to before 26 August 2010. We have benefited from the wisdom and experiences of BU Law alumni. Recent LLM graduates have come back time and again to offer career advice. We were invited to law firms and the municipal court where BU Law alumni provided insights into different aspects of the US legal sector.
On another note, we are also a truly privileged lot. We are privileged to have studied the most prestigious subject in the most prestigious faculty. My friends, before we part, let us remind ourselves of our duty to give in return. Let us not forget to contribute to the BU community, which has made us so much better. When we become the Alan Shores, John Roberts and Barak Obamas of the world, let us not forget the less privileged ones whose voices often go unheard.
Lastly, let me correct myself. This journey did not start with an international flight with pretty air hostesses. It started really when all the people before us built this great faculty together. We are now part of it and our legacy too will linger. We have each taken away valuable things from this program. Cliché as it may sound, with you, I have taken away happiness. Let us celebrate this moment that is completely ours, class of 2011. Congratulations and goodbye.
Christopher Rudy attended Biola University in Los Angeles, where he majored in International Business and graduated in 2007. At BU Law, Christopher spent a full year in the Criminal Clinic prosecuting cases in Quincy District Court, spent two years on the SGA as a class representative, was the vice-president of the running club, and he was also a three year member of BU Law’s sketch comedy troupe, Legal Follies, where he served as an assistant director and director. After graduation, Christopher wil return to Los Angeles where he plans to work for a talent agency.
Dean. Dean. Associate Dean. Nicholas Dean. Esteemed faculty and staff. Proud parents, grandparents, and siblings. Friends. Facebook friends. The Honorable Judge Denny Chin. My fellow law students. MY FELLOW LAW STUDENTS. Look at us. Look to your left. Look to your right. Look at what we’re wearing. We look ridiculous. We look like we just got done selling turkey legs at the renaissance festival. Are we graduating from Law School or Hogwarts? I’m confused.
Almost three years ago we began a journey into the abyss. We began law school. It started with orientation. Red and white balloons, delicious cookies, hot dogs, and yes, oh yes, alcoholic beverages. We were assigned lockers with locks identical to those in high school. Dean Marx and Josh Cooper whispered sweet reassuring nothings into our 1L ears. Professor Volk told us jokes about tomatoes I’m still not sure I understand. Professor Breen convinced us that plagiarism is something you should never, ever, ever, ever, do. Ever. In a million billion years. We almost believed that this was Law School, a summer camp for bright young adults.
Then classes began.
I started a journal. It only has one entry, and it is from our first day of class. When we still had time to do things like write journals and go outside. It starts like this. And I quote: “Today was the first day of law school. I woke up three hours before my first class for fear of being late. I gathered my books and lugged them to class. I was two hours and forty minutes early.” End quote.
We are, by nature, overachievers and so, true to form, we overachieved. We embarked upon a great race to outdo one another: “My books are heavier than yours.” “Can I see your case briefs?” “That’s not the holding.” “How long have you been in the library this week?” “My mom sends my care packages directly to the library.”
We had all heard horror stories about competition in law school. Tearing pages out of library books; giving wrong answers and bad advice; making decaf coffee for our “friends” and passing it off as regular. I brought my own coffee—in a thermos. But it didn’t matter because none of these things happened, did they? Because we are better than that, and you, it turns out, are all wonderful human beings. Every single one of you. We shared outlines. We shared our knowledge. And we stuck together. I am proud -- we should all be proud -- of what we have accomplished here and the spirit of cooperation with which we accomplished it. We learned together, and today, we graduate together.
Sure, there was competition. There had to be. It’s law school. We competed for journals, and we competed for grades, but mostly we just competed for who could get the best seat in class, which is –- clearly -- the one three rows up in the exact center of room 520. Yet out of this crucible of competition we became better. We learned about each other and about ourselves. We couldn’t just have beliefs any more. We had to convince others we were right. They say law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer. I’m convinced we taught each other.
We have endured much these last three years. The elevators. Climate control (or lack thereof). Examsoft. The Bluebook. The MPRE. Overpriced GSU food. Anything we read by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. The T. OCI. And of course, the weather. It was so cold this in Boston this past winter that lawyers actually had their hands in their own pockets. Just kidding. It's never that cold.
Today, after all we have endured, we find ourselves on the verge of a great change, perhaps the greatest of our lives. Sallie-Mae is no longer just the name of a sweet southern grandmother. She will pursue us with a furious vengeance until we pay back every dollar we took from her. Our grandmother Sallie-Mae has not only learned how to use email, she has learned how to use it exceedingly well, and she will supply our inboxes with never-ending reminders of our enormous debt. But as we learned in our loan exit-counseling sessions, we have 36 months of deferral or forbearance, and this is ample time to change the world.
And that is what we must do. Why? Because we can. Because we must. I stand here today humbled by your many talents. We are doctors, scientists, and photographers. We are entrepreneurs, journalists, and poets. We are teachers. We are soldiers. We are executives. We are architects. We are politicians. We are lawyers. We are myriad. We are the BU Law class of 2011.
I wish that were the end. But, as we learned in Law School, it’s not about the answer; it’s about how you get there. It’s not about our talents; it’s about how we use them.
Before we walk out of our beautiful tower one last time, we must, we really must, realize something: Our law degree is not a degree of entitlement, but responsibility. We are guaranteed nothing, but great things are expected of us. And we will do great things. Of that I’m sure.
Maybe we came to law school to make money. Maybe we came here to fight injustice. Maybe it was to enter the world of politics. Or maybe we came here because we didn’t know what else to do.
Whatever the reason, we all decided to attend law school. But not all of us are destined to be lawyers, and we need to be okay with that. Today, and for the rest of our lives, we must seek what it is that we love and tirelessly pursue it. We must fight for what we are passionate about as if our lives depend on it. Because they do, and only if we follow our passions can we make the most of what we learned here.
We must because we can.
We are the BU Law class of 2011.
Awards and Prizes
Sebastian Horsten Prize for Academic Achievement, to the LL.M. in American Law student who has achieved the highest cumulative average in the class of 2011: Steven David Jörn Leunert
American Law Outstanding Achievement Award, for excellence in academic achievement, honorable conduct and contributions to the class: Johan Sigurd Ellefsen Dotzauer
Graduate Tax Program Academic Achievement Award, for the highest cumulative average in the class of 2011: Shannon Pauline Shafron Perez
Ernest M. Haddad Award, to the graduating Graduate Tax Program student who best exhibits overall ability, taking into consideration academic achievement, character and potential to serve the public interest: Karen Larissa Witherell
A. John Serino Outstanding Graduate Banking and Financial Law Student Prize, for overall performance, in terms of academic achievement and dedication to the highest standards of scholarship and service: René Javier Oronoz
Dennis S. Aronowitz Award for Academic Excellence in Banking and Financial Law, for the highest cumulative average in the class of 2011: Robert Michael Tammero, Jr.
Faculty Award for Academic Accomplishment, for the most scholarly progress in the third year: Kier B. Wachterhauser
William L. and Lillian Berger Achievement Prizes, for exemplary scholastic achievement: Megan Elizabeth Larkin and Todd Joseph Marabella
Faculty Award for Community Service, for exceptional dedication to the ideals of community service: Adrian Michael Guzman and Alistair Francis Anagnostou Reader
Peter Bennett Prize, to the graduating third-year J.D. law student receiving the highest grade point average for that year: Alyssa Marie Cannavino
Spencer R. Koch Memorial Award, for outstanding contributions to achieving the goals of the Esdaile Alumni Center through alumni outreach: Jenny R. Weisenbeck
Honorable Albert P. Pettoruto Memorial Award, for excellence in the field of Probate or Family Law: Kellyanne Parry
Melville M. Bigelow Scholarship Award, to a member of the graduating class who shows the greatest promise as scholar and teacher in law: Matthew Thomas Hunterand Eric Lee
Warren S. Gilford Humanity and Law Prize, to a student who shows humanitarian interest in law, primarily by taking a job in the public sector after graduation: Kristin P. Lummus and Franco Torres
Alumni Academic Achievement Award, for the highest cumulative average in the three-year program of law study: Alyssa Marie Cannavino
Sylvia Beinecke Robinson Award, for a significant contribution to the life of the School of Law: Ryan Christopher Chapoteau
Dr. John Ordronaux Prize, awarded to a member of the graduating class for the most exemplary academic performance and leadership: William Thomas Davison
Michael Melton Award for Excellence in Teaching is named for a longtime faculty member who taught in the tax area and was director of the Graduate Tax Program, who died in 1999 at 53: Professor Pnina Lahav
David Saul Smith Award for Scholarship, created by Robert P. Smith (’65) when he made a generous gift in honor of his father - also an alum - to assist the faculty in their scholarship: Professor James Fleming and Professor Linda McClain
John Stephen Baerst Award for Excellence in Teaching, named for the director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law (1996-2005) who died in 2006: Lecturer in Law Albert Dandridge
Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, an annual distinguished and highly competitive University award: Professor David Walker
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professorships are the highest honor bestowed upon senior members of the University’s faculty who are involved in research and scholarship, as well as in the civic life of the University: Professor Wendy Gordon