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

May 19, 2023

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, there were two winners. Steven Constantin won for his paper, “The Role of the FTC in the Payment Card Industry – An Examination of Regulatory Shortcomings and Theories for Improvement” and James Huey won for his paper, “Special Venue Provisions and Forum Selection Clauses.”

Millard S. Breckenridge Prize in Law

Elisabeth Baldwin is the recipient 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 Ian Maddox for his essay, “South Africa’s Dormant Emergency Clause and the Value of an Emergency Constitution.”

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 Sawyer Davis. Davis has served Carolina Law in many ways over the past three years. They have contributed greatly to both the Pro Bono and Outlaw Boards.  Davis’s commitment to pro bono began at the very beginning of their first year and has remained steadfast. As the class of 2023’s 1L Class Coordinator, Davis helped inspire and facilitate their classmate’s initial engagement with pro bono. They have continued to serve on the board of that organization not only as Attorney Projects Coordinator, but as Winter and Spring Break Projects Coordinator as well. Davis was instrumental in ensuring that the class of 2023 reached 100% pro bono participation. Since beginning law school, Davis has served as a leader in Lambda, later renamed Outlaw, the student organization focused on lifting up members of the lgbtq+ community. Davis served as president in 2021-2022, a crucial year for the organization. After nearly all institutional knowledge for the organization was lost during COVID-19, the organization had just a half dozen members when Davis joined as a 1L. Student membership is now at an all-time high.  Davis led with grace and was able to make new connections and provide essential support that ensured that the organization was a welcoming and impactful group. Lastly, Davis has continued this ethic of service as an Honor’s Writing Scholar this past year and provided invaluable guidance to first year students navigating the challenges of legal writing.

Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award

Marcus Brown received the annual Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award for his work in the Civil Legal Assistance 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.