Students Honored with Awards for Writing, Leadership, Academics, Service

May 20, 2022

At the end of each academic year, UNC School of Law presents awards to students recognizing writing, leadership, service and practice interest. This year, six 3Ls received the Bane Writing Award, The Millard S. Breckenridge Prize in Law, the Coates Rule of Law Essay Award, Winston Crisp Award for Student Leadership and the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award.

Bane Writing Award

The Bane Writing Award recognizes the importance Carolina Law places on writing. Faculty members nominate papers that they feel are exceptional. It is an honor based solely on the merit of faculty-nominated work, regardless of the student’s GPA, that reflects passion for a particular topic and the ability to translate that passion into exceptional written work.

Written work is eligible for nomination if it was part of a faculty-evaluated course for credit, including courses, seminars, and independent studies. Winners receive a monetary prize.

This year, Emily Cooke 3L won for her paper titled “Unveiled: How the Margin of Appreciation Undermines the Rights of Muslim Women in the European Court of Human Rights”, which was nominated by Professor Holning Lau.

Millard S. Breckenridge Prize in Law

Nolon Blaylock 3L and James Watson 3L are the two recipients of this year’s Millard S. Breckenridge Prize in Law. Named for a former Carolina Law faculty member, the award is presented to a graduating 3L who has demonstrated excellence in the study of tax law. This honor is accompanied by a monetary award and is chosen by the tax law faculty. It is awarded to a student with outstanding overall performance in tax law courses.

Coates Rule of Law Essay Award

The Coates Rule of Law Essay Award is given to the student that writes the best essay on the rule of law. The winner receives a monetary prize.

This year’s recipient is Le Ho 3L for his essay “Countering Personalized Speech: Managing Platform Personalization Through End User Personalization Tools.” His paper was nominated by Professor David Ardia.

Winston Crisp Award for Student Leadership

The Winston Crisp Award for Student Leadership was initiated by the Student Bar Association during the 2005-2006 school year to recognize excellence in student leadership. Winston Crisp served the law school as associate dean of student services for 13 years. He demonstrated extraordinary leadership ability throughout his time at Carolina Law, both as a student and as an administrator. The Crisp Award seeks to recognize students who exemplify the same outstanding leadership. The winner receives a monetary prize.

This year’s recipient is double Tar Heel, Gabrielle James 3L. Since beginning law school, James served as a leader in several of Carolina Law’s student organizations and committees. Most notably, James served as the Special Trips Coordinator for the Pro Bono Board, where she organized pro bono projects to help cancer patients, native communities, and the historically Black communities in Chapel Hill and Durham. For the past two years, James has served as a Dean’s Fellow, where she has utilized her many leadership experiences to greatly assist the 1Ls in navigating their first year of law school. James’s service as the chair of the Student Bar Association’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee was crucial to making sure the law school was a more inclusive place. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the first ever Wellness Room at Carolina Law. James also served as an effective advocate on the law school’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee. Lastly, James served as an Articles Editor on the Executive Board of the North Carolina Journal of International Law for the past year.

Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award

Taylor Belknap 3L received the annual Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award for her work in the Community Development Law Clinic. CLEA is the primary national organization dedicated to clinical education in law schools across the country, and the award honors one student or student team at each law school who has excelled in a clinical course. At Carolina Law, the CLEA Outstanding Student Award recipient is selected based on excellence in clinical work, particularly in development of the attorney-client relationship; in case planning and development; efficiency and reliability in time management; polished oral and written communications; overall significance of casework contributions; and contributions to the clinical community at large.