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Law School graduates present outstanding teacher award to Taylor-Thompson

STANFORD -- Stanford Law School awarded the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence to 173 students Sunday, June 12, during the school's annual commencement ceremony. An additional 13 students received other law degrees.

The event, which followed the commencement exercises of Stanford University, took place on the green north of the Law School. A formal academic procession of robed faculty and students, led by class standard bearer Edward Adams Jr. of Austin, Texas, opened the ceremony. The class marshal for the occasion was Cassandra Knight of Sacramento, Calif.

Dean Paul Brest welcomed the graduating class and their guests.

"You are as diverse a class as has ever been graduated from this Law School, and you have used your differences constructively, as a source of strength, education and joy," Brest said.

The John Bingham Hurlbut Award for excellence in teaching was presented this year to Kim A. Taylor-Thompson, associate professor of law. Chosen by a vote of the graduating class, Taylor-Thompson also was the keynote speaker at the school's commencement.

Class president Rufus Whitley of San Antonio, Texas, spoke briefly to the class before presenting the Hurlbut Award. "Our three years were not tranquil," said Whitley, an ordained Catholic priest and oblate of Mary Immaculate.

Noting some major political events during the period in which the graduating class was studying law - from the Clarence Thomas hearings to current debate over the treatment of undocumented aliens - Whitley said: "I suspect these or different events have caused us to re-examine what we expect of ourselves, what society thinks of the reach of our profession, and even the basic fabric of the world in which we live."

The teaching award to Taylor-Thompson, said Whitley, recognizes the professor's personal integrity and commitment "to questioning how law ought to be taught and practiced" that "guided us, challenged us and assured us through this journey."

Taylor-Thompson, an African American who joined the Stanford Law School faculty in 1991 after three years as director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, told the graduates: "I sincerely believe that if you commit today to be fearless in your quest for change and rebellious in your efforts, you will be able to look back on your careers and your lives with considerable pride.

"Your task is to take the tools that you have received and sharpened here at Stanford and to put them to use, not necessarily in the ways we, your teachers, may have envisioned," Taylor-Thompson said. "Instead, you must employ your talents in ways that we have not yet considered, have not taught you, have not tried.

"The challenge I offer you today is to move us forward. Dare to be bold; dare to have vision; dare to push the boundaries," Taylor-Thompson said. "I wish that I could tell you that the path I am suggesting will be easy. Unfortunately, I cannot.

"Living at Stanford, we have been granted the luxury of stepping back from the world for a brief moment to learn and to prepare ourselves for the struggles ahead. But the world that you left three years ago has continued to decline," Taylor-Thompson said.

"Today we are on the brink of losing a generation of young men and women because they have been cut off from the lifeline of jobs, education and opportunity," she said.

"You may observe, as we often do, that 'somebody ought to do something about that.' Members of the Class of 1994, that somebody is you," she said.

Kathleen M. Sullivan, faculty marshal for the event, read the names of the graduates as they came forward to receive their diplomas and the congratulations of the dean and faculty.

Also honored at the annual convocation were two associate deans and a member of the staff who are leaving the Law School. They are Sally Dickson, dean for student affairs since 1990; Ellen Borgersen, dean for academic affairs since 1991; and Shirley Wedlake, Law School employee for 26 years and assistant to the dean for student affairs for the last 16. Dickson and Wedlake are remaining at Stanford University with its Office for Multicultural Development, which Dickson now directs.

The permanent officers of the graduating class are, in addition to Whitley, Pilar Gretchen Keagy of Carmichael, Calif., secretary, and Steve Sukjoo Oh of Los Angeles, treasurer.

Top scholars

Jennifer Sachs of Woodbridge, Conn., was named the Nathan Abbott Scholar for earning the highest cumulative grade point average in the graduating class. Sachs also had won the first-year honor for the highest average in her first year of law school. In addition, she was one of two recipients of the Johnson & Gibbs Law Review Award for the greatest overall contribution to the Stanford Law Review during her second year of law school, and the second- place winner in the Steven M. Block Civil Liberties competition.

Lawrence Makow of New York City received the Urban A. Sontheimer Third-Year Honor for having earned the second-highest cumulative grade point average in the graduating class. Makow also had received the second-year honor for the highest average in his second year of law school; a Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for outstanding work in the first-year Research and Legal Writing Program; and the Mr. and Mrs. Duncan L. Matteson Sr. Award presented to the runner-up team of advocates in the 1994 Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court competition.

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.

In addition to Sachs and Makow, the newly elected members of the Order of the Coif are Kenneth Bobroff of Albuquerque, N.M.; Alafair Burke of Portland, Ore.; Jeffrey Connaughton of Huntsville, Ala.; Ariela Gross of Princeton, N.J.; Joanna Grossman of Madison, Wis.; William James of Detroit; Bradley Joondeph of Bellevue, Wash.; Jeffrey Karpf of Smithtown, N.Y.; Russell Korobkin of San Diego; Erik Olson of Menlo Park, Calif.; Michael Pyle of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Maria Sachs of New York City; Stephen Thau of Teaneck, N.J.; Whitley; and Lauren Willis of Acton, Mass.

Several Coif members also earned other awards, as mentioned below.

Moot Court awards

Bradley Joondeph won the Walter J. Cummings Award as best oral advocate in the 1994 Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court competition. The team of Joondeph and Srikanth Srinivasan ('95) earned the Walter J. Cummings Award for best moot court brief and the Mr. and Mrs. Duncan L. Matteson Sr. Award as the best overall team of advocates.

In the same competition, Clarisa Long of Washington, D.C., and Lawrence Makow received the Mr. and Mrs. Duncan L. Matteson Sr. Award for the runner-up team of advocates.

Law Review awards

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

Elizabeth Robischon of Rochester, N.Y., was presented with the Board of Editors' Award for outstanding editorial contributions to the Review.

Lee Papageorge of Los Angeles was one of two students to receive the Johnson & Gibbs Law Review Award for the greatest overall contribution to the Review during his second year of law school. The second Johnson & Gibbs Law Review Award went, as mentioned above, to Jennifer Sachs.

Joondeph was given the Jay M. Spears Award for outstanding service to the Law Review in his second year.

Gabriela Franco of El Paso, Texas, was presented the Stanford Law Review Special Service Award in recognition of exceptional contributions to Volume 46 of the Review.

Carla Garrett of Atlanta and Haywood Gilliam Jr. of Middleton, Wis., earned the United States Law Week Award for outstanding service and unfailing commitment to the Review.

Other awards

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

Joondeph added to his several honors the Frank Baker Belcher Award for the best academic work in evidence.

Five students received the Steven M. Block Civil Liberties Award for distinguished written work on issues relating to personal freedom: Lauren Willis was the first-place recipient of the award; Jennifer Sachs, second-place recipient; Karen Scarr of Charlottesville, Va., third-place recipient; and Michael Zubrensky of Milwaukee, Wis., and Joondeph, fourth-place co-recipients.

Suzanne Kessler of Baltimore was awarded first place in the Stanford Law School round of the Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition for excellent legal writing in the area of copyright law. Stephen Thau was the second-place recipient in the competition.

Nina Hachigian of New York City and Jeffrey Karpf were co-recipients of the Carl Mason Franklin Prize for the best papers in international law.

Thomas Melling of Salt Lake City was a co-winner in the Richard S. Goldsmith competition for the best research papers concerning dispute resolution. Christopher Guthrie of Lenexa, Kan., and Russell Korobkin were awarded honorable mentions.

Korobkin was also the first-place recipient of the Olaus and Adolph Murie Award for the most thoughtful written work in environmental law. Erik Olson was the second-place recipient.

Four students were awarded Public Service Fellowships in recognition of demonstrated commitment to public service and academic achievement in their law studies. The 1994 fellows are Kenneth Bobroff; Lisa Hayden of Seattle; Samantha Rijken Janabajal of San Diego; and Shirley Wang of Berkeley, Calif.


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