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Law School graduates 215 students and honors Professor Barbara Allen Babcock

Stanford Law School graduated 215 students on Sunday, June 14, during its 104th annual commencement ceremony, which followed the university's 107th Commencement.

Of the 215 law school graduates, 195 received the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence, or J.D., the basic degree of the legal profession; 11 received the Master of the Science of Law degree, or J.S.M.; and nine students earned other law degrees at the master's and doctoral levels.

Paul Brest, dean of the Law School, presided over the outdoor ceremony and greeted more than a thousand relatives and friends of the graduates.

Barbara Allen Babcock, speaker and honoree

Barbara Allen Babcock, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, was presented with the 1998 John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching, an award she previously won in 1981 and 1986. Chosen by a vote of the graduating class, Babcock also was the event's keynote speaker. Eric Joseph Lassen, president of the graduating class, presented the award.

Babcock is one of the country's leading authorities on civil procedure, criminal procedure and American women's legal history. A former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice, she also served for several years as director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.

Babcock was the first female professor of law at Stanford and the first woman to be tenured at the Law School. She has been a member of the faculty since 1972.

Babcock was "pleased beyond words to receive the Hurlbut Award" from the Class of 1998, which she said had been "a joy to teach." She observed that "happiness is achieved in pursuit of other goals, not as an end in itself," and counseled each graduate to "be idealistic about your life's work."

Dean Brest on the lawyer-statesperson

Dean Paul Brest, in his annual commencement address, spoke about the qualities of the lawyer-statesperson. He offered as examples such national leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, who "shared an extraordinary combination of skills, values, judgment, leadership abilities and a commitment to public service."

Conceding that people of this caliber and influence "appear only rarely in any nation's history," Brest urged that their "essential qualities are realizable even today" by each member of the graduating Law School class. He emphasized, however, that the lawyer's leadership role extends beyond the milieu of politics and public policy.

The dean charged the graduating class with "an obligation to be reflective and principled about your roles as counselors and advocates, balancing zealous advocacy with a broader sense of professional responsibility. As the gatekeepers to legal processes, you have an obligation both to provide access for your clients and to protect others from the abuse of power."

"I hope that public service will have an important place in your professional life. For the welfare of our society depends on people with your skills and power playing a special role," Brest said. He noted that in addition to careers spent serving in government, countless Stanford alumni "have assumed the responsibility of serving as lawyer-statesmen and stateswomen in community and civic organizations."

"Our society has never been more in need of leaders who combine a commitment to the public good with the qualities of reflection, tolerance, analysis and good judgment. My charge to you, then, is nothing less than to serve society as lawyer-statespersons, not only during your workday but after hours as well," Brest said.

Top J.D. scholars

Stacey Monica Leyton was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for earning the highest cumulative grade point average of the 195 J.D. graduates. Leyton also was awarded the First-Year Honor in 1995-96 and the Second-Year Honor in 1996-97 for earning the highest cumulative grade point average at the end of her first and second Stanford years.

In addition, she was given the Frank Baker Belcher Evidence Award and was co-winner of the Lexis/Nexis Public Interest Writing Award for distinguished written work relating to public interest law. Leyton also was one of the recipients of several other awards, including the 1995-96 Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for outstanding work in the first-year research and legal writing program, the 1995-96 Lisa M. Schnitzer Memorial

Scholarship for her demonstrated commitment to public interest and helping the disadvantaged, and the Stanford Law Review Special Service Award in recognition of exceptional contributions to Volume 50 of the Stanford Law Review.

And for both 1996-97 and 1997-98, she was a recipient of a Public Service Fellowship in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to public service, intent to seek permanent employment in that field, and academic achievement in her law studies.

Kathryn Price received the Urban A. Sontheimer Third-Year Honor for earning the second-highest cumulative grade point average in the graduating class. In addition, she was one of the recipients of the Lawrason Driscoll Moot Court Award, given to officers of the Moot Court Board.

Order of the Coif

Eighteen 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.

In addition to Leyton and Price, the newly elected members of the Order of the Coif are Matthew S. Alexander, D. Bommi Bommannan, Noah D. Bookbinder, Fred George Karem, Jr., Jason Leroy Kent, Eric Joseph Lassen, Elizabeth Kinsman MacDonald, Jeremy David Matz, Vedat H. Milor, Kristina Emanuels Phipps, Mary Frances Nicol, Erin Allison Sawyer, Janine L. Scancarelli, Matthew MacKinnon Shors, Richard Polk Wagner Jr., Matthew Mickle Werdegar, and Eric H. Zabinski.


By Cindy Bradford

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