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06/16/92

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Stanford Law School presents diplomas, honors

STANFORD -- One hundred and sixty-eight students were awarded the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence at the Stanford University Law School's commencement Sunday, June 14. Eight additional students received other law degrees.

The event, which was held on the lawn between the Law School and J. Henry Meyer Memorial Library, followed the campuswide commencement exercises in Stanford Stadium.

Paul Brest, dean of the Law School, welcomed the graduating class and a record crowd of more than 1,000 relatives and friends.

The John Bingham Hurlbut Award for excellence in teaching was presented this year to Joseph A. Grundfest, associate professor of law. Grundfest was chosen by a vote of the graduating class.

In a brief speech before presenting the award, Christy Haubegger, president of the class, urged her fellow graduates to make a point in their daily lives of taking "a few more risks." One reason is the "investment return theory" - that the higher the risk, the higher the potential return. The second reason, she said, is that "it usually results in the right thing being done."

Grundfest focused his acceptance speech on "law's inherent limits."

"There are many situations in which the law is a necessary but insufficient response to a perceived social problem," he said. "There are also situations in which the law is essentiallly irrelevant to the solution of society's ills."

For some tasks, Grundfest said, law is "absolutely essential. Properly applied, the law can play a valuable role in addressing many discriminatory inequities that unfortunately continue to plague contemporary American society."

"For other tasks, even the best-crafted and most carefully honed jurisprudence will inevitably fall short of the mark."

The tool of law, he said, "is often a big, blunt, heavy, hard-to-swing, difficult-to-aim, challenging-to- control, lower-lumbar-straining sledgehammer."

"Obviously, there is no bright-line test that determines when we should rely on the rule of law . . . and when we should respect the limits of the law and look for other tools that might be better suited to the task at hand," Grundfest said.

"To make that distinction requires common sense - a common sense that incorporates an understanding of individuals, of societies, of cultures and of relationships. In other words, it requires a bit of life experience that is tough to teach but vital to learn."

Diplomas were presented to the students in reverse alphabetical order, beginning with Zink and ending with Abudu. Brest jokingly described this break with tradition as "a small gesture to remedy centuries of discrimination against the alphabetically challenged."

The dean, in his closing remarks, cited a Chinese proverb: "Let your skills not exceed your virtues."

"The virtues of lawyers are tested in two kinds of situations: in deciding on whose behalf you will exercise your professional skills; and in deciding how to exercise those skills," he said.

With respect to the first, he expressed the hope "that you supplement your daily work with pro bono practice," particularly "to assisting a community of color in your area."

On the second point, he observed: "The skills you have learned are morally neutral. They can be used creatively to solve problems, or destructively to create problems or make them worse."

The dean called on the graduates to serve their clients in such a way that "at the end of the day, you can look them in the face, and look your opposing counsel, their clients, and society in the face without embarrassment, with a sense that you have lived up to the highest aspirations of the profession."

Top scholars

Miles Ehrlich of Sacramento, Calif., was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for earning the highest cumulative grade point average in the graduating class. Ehrlich also had won the first- and second-year honors for the highest average in each of his previous two years of law school; a Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for outstanding work in the first-year Research and Legal Writing Program; and second-place recognition in the 1990-91 Frank Baker Belcher Evidence competition.

Dennis Herman of San Leandro, Calif., received the Urban A. Sontheimer Third-Year Honor for having earned the second highest cumulative grade point average in the graduating class.

Order of the Coif

Seventeen members of the class were elected to the Order of the Coif, the national law honor society. Membership in the order is extended to graduating students who rank in the top 10 percent of the class academically and are considered worthy of the honor.

In addition to Ehrlich and Herman, the newly elected members of the Order of the Coif are Michelle Alexander of Ashland, Ore.; Brian Bloom of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Christopher Boyd of Washington, D.C.; Pamela Charles of Seattle; Laurel Finch of San Diego; Matthew Jacobs of Redwood City, Calif.; Kelly Klaus of Los Angeles; Joan Krause of Brookline, Mass.; Erica Minkoff of Phoenix; Neil Nathanson of Detroit; Ronald Phillips of Princeton, N.J.; Maury Shenk of Vienna, Va.; Max Stier of Coralville, Iowa; Alison Tucher of Palo Alto, Calif.; and Mary Williamson of Pawling, N.Y.

"With Distinction" graduates

A total of 44 students - more than one-quarter of the Class of 1992 - graduated "with distinction," recognizing high academic achievement.

In addition to the 17 new Order of the Coif members, the students graduating with distinction were:

Patrick Bannon of Bronxville, N.Y.; Dawn Chirwa of Madison, Wis.; Kim Dettelbach of Mountain View, Calif.; Patricia Downey of Atlantic City, N.J.; Richard Downing of Villanova, Pa.; David Forst of Los Angeles; Craig Garner of La Jolla, Calif.; Laura Gomez of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Laura Gordon of Palo Alto, Calif.;

Maya Harris of Oakland, Calif.; Deborah Kanter of Albuquerque, N.M.; Gregory Kennedy of Sacramento, Calif.; Beth McClain of Pitman, N.J.; Patrick McNeil of Wabash, Ind.; Brian Morris of Butte, Mont.; Edith Morris of New Orleans; Christiana Muoneke; Susan Pasquinelli of Palos Heights, Ill.;

Richard Saver of Scarsdale, N.Y.; David Siegal of Great Neck, N.Y.; Stephanie Simonds of Chicago; Peter Thiel of Foster City, Calif.; Thomas Warren of Moreland Hills, Ohio; Steven Weisburd of Toluca Lake, Calif.; Anna White of Berkeley, Calif.; Daniel Winston of Malvern, Pa.; and Amy Wolosoff of Great Neck, N.Y.

Moot Court awards

Cary Robnett of Napa, Calif., and Beth McClain received the Mr. and Mrs. Duncan L. Matteson Sr. Award as the best overall team of advocates in the 1992 Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court competition. Robnett also earned the Walter J. Cummings Award as best oral advocate, while both McClain and Robnett were given the Walter J. Cummings Award for best moot court brief.

In the same competition, Kelly Klaus and Thomas Warren received the Mr. and Mrs. Duncan L. Matteson Sr. Award for the runner-up team of advocates.

Law Review awards

Six members of the class have been honored for work on the Stanford Law Review.

Edith Morris was presented with the Board of Editors' Award for outstanding editorial contributions to the Review.

Edward Andoh of Accra, Ghana, earned the Irving Hellman Jr. Special Award for the outstanding student note published in the Stanford Law Review.

Lisa Brooks of Kansas City, Mo., received the Johnson & Gibbs Law Review Award for having made the greatest overall contribution to the Review during her second year.

Ignacio Salceda of Tijuana, Mexico, was given the Jay M. Spears Award for outstanding service to the Law Review in his second year. Salceda's record of extraordinary service and unfailing commitment to the Review also earned him the United States Law Week Award.

Gary Brainin of Plainview, N.Y., and Steven Weaver of Ann Arbor, Mich., were awarded the Review's Special Service Award in recognition of exceptional contributions to Volume 44.

Other awards

Several other members of the graduating class also have been recognized for exceptional achievements during their three years at the Law School.

Craig Richardson of Bakersfield, Calif., was given the 1991-92 Frank Baker Belcher Award for the best academic work in evidence.

Four students received the Steven M. Block Civil Liberties Award for distinguished written work on issues relating to personal freedom. The co-winners were Brian Levin of New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Stephanie Simonds; Max Stier; and Alison Tucher.

Simonds was also the 1991-92 winner and 1990-91 co- winner of the Carl Mason Franklin Prize for the best paper in international law. Mary Williamson was the 1990-91 co- recipient of the prize.

Maury Shenk was awarded an honorable mention in the 1991-92 Richard S. Goldsmith Competition for the best research paper concerning dispute resolution. Susan Brienza of Takoma Park, Md., earned the 1990-91 Honorable Mention.

Susan Jordan of Fremont, Calif., was the first- place recipient of the Olaus and Adolph Murie Award for the most thoughtful written work in environmental law. Jamie Grodsky of San Francisco was the second-place recipient of the award.

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