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Student Honors & Awards

Each year, a number of Vanderbilt Law students are honored for academic and other achievements.

This page lists the academic and achievement honors and awards available to students, and provides links to awards offered by Vanderbilt's three scholarly journals and the Bass Berry & Sims Moot Court Program.

Founder's Medal

The Founder's Medal, signifying first honors, was endowed by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt as one of his gifts to Vanderbilt University. It is awarded to the student in the graduating class who has attained the highest grade point average, having completed at least 55 credit hours and five full-time semesters in residence at Vanderbilt.

The Order of the Coif

The Order of the Coif, the national legal scholarship society, has a chapter at Vanderbilt. Election to membership in the order is limited to those students in the top 10 percent of the senior class who have completed at least 75 percent of their law studies (66 class hours) as graded class hours. Graded courses are those for which grades in the A+ through F range are awarded and are recorded on the transcript. Courses taken on a pass-fail basis are not included. Because Vanderbilt accepts transfer credits but not grades, it is unlikely a transfer student can meet the 75% rule to qualify for Order of the Coif.

Annual Awards

Junius L. Allison Legal Aid Award. Awarded annually to the student judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work of the Legal Aid Society.

Thomas C. Banks Award for the Outstanding Jessup Team Member. Selected and awarded by the Jessup Moot Court competition team to the member who has made the greatest contribution to the team's overall success during the prior year. This award was established in memory of Thomas Cloney Banks (J.D. 1983).

Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Award. Endowed, and awarded "to the student of the senior law class, who is not only well versed in the law, but who embodies the highest conception of the ethics of the profession, and who would strive to 'Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God,' as did the one in whose memory the prize is given and whose name it bears, Bennett Douglas Bell."

Damali K. Booker Award. Presented annually to the third-year law student who has a keen dedication to legal activism and a demonstrated commitment to confronting social issues facing both Vanderbilt Law School and the greater Nashville community.

G. Scott Briggs Transnational Legal Studies Award. Awarded each year to the senior who has exhibited a high degree of scholastic achievement in transnational legal studies and who has made the most significant contribution to the development of international legal inquiry while a student of Vanderbilt Law School. This award was endowed by Mr. Briggs (J.D. 1969) in memory of his parents.

Philip G. Davidson III Memorial Award. Presented annually to the student, chosen by the Vanderbilt Bar Association Board of Governors, who is dedicated to the law and its problem-solving role in society, and who provides exemplary leadership in service to the Law School and the greater community. The award has been endowed by Mr. Davidson's family and friends.

K. Harlan Dodson Moot Court Staff Award. Awarded in the Law School to that senior member of the Moot Court staff, other than the chief justice, who has rendered the most outstanding service throughout the school year in all aspects of the Moot Court program.

Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize. Awarded to "that member of the second-year law class who has maintained the highest scholastic average during the two years." This prize was established in 1945 by Mrs. Robert F. Jackson in memory of her husband, who was for many years an esteemed member of the Board of Trust.

Journal of Entertainment and Technology Student Writing Award. Awarded to the student submitting the most outstanding piece of student writing for publication in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.

Chris Lantz Award. Awarded each year to a student who demonstrates a dedication to developing a sense of community among his or her classmates with a strong capacity for leadership and commitment to his or her legal studies. This award was endowed by the Class of 2011 to honor the memory of their friend and classmate Chris Lantz.

Christopher S. Lantz Memorial Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Outstanding Service Award. Awarded to the student, other than the editor-in-chief, who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.

Myron Penn Laughlin Note Award. Awarded to the student, other than the recipient of the Morgan Prize, who contributed the best student Note published in the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Law Review Candidates Award. Awarded by the second-year staff of the Vanderbilt Law Review to the third-year staff member, other than the editor-in-chief, who has made the most significant contribution to their development as staff members of the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Law Review Editor's Award. Awarded annually to a third-year editorial board member who has made the most significant contribution to the Vanderbilt Law Review.

LL.M. Research Prize. Awarded for outstanding achievement in the completion of a scholarly research and writing project.

Lightfoot Franklin & White Legal Writing Awards. Awarded annually for Best Brief and Best Oralist in each of the eight sections of the first-year Legal Research and Writing course. This award is sponsored by Lightfoot, Franklin & White of Birmingham, Alabama, to support the teaching of practical legal skills in the Law School curriculum.

Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize. Awarded to the student of the first-year class who has earned the highest general average for the year. The late Mr. H. L. Martin of New York City made provision for the prize, which is given in honor of his son, who was a member of the first-year class when he died in 1923.

Morgan Prize. Awarded in the Law School to the student contributing the most outstanding piece of student writing to the Vanderbilt Law Review during the academic year.

Richard A. Nagareda Award. Awarded by the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program to a student in the graduating class for extraordinary achievement in the study of litigation and dispute resolution.

National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award. Awarded to the student whose Law School involvement best fulfills the goals of contributing to the advancement of women in society and promoting women's issues in the legal profession, and who has exhibited tenacity, enthusiasm and academic achievement while earning the respect of others. The Association provides an honorary membership for a year, which includes receipt of its publications and other membership benefits.

Jordan A. Quick Memorial Award. Award given to the student judged to have made the greatest contribution to the quality of life at the Law School through his or her leadership with the Vanderbilt Bar Association.

Stanley D. Rose Memorial Book Award. Awarded to the law student who submitted the best paper in the field of jurisprudence or legal history, in the fulfillment of the Law School's advanced writing requirement.

Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Award. Awarded to the student who, in his or her representation of clients in the Law School's clinical program, demonstrated excellence in practice of law and best exemplified the highest standards of the legal profession.

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law Outstanding Editor Award. Awarded to the member of the third-year staff selected as having done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.

Vanderbilt Scholastic Excellence Award. Awarded to the student designated by the professor as receiving the highest grade in all courses except seminars and limited enrollment courses.

Weldon B. White Prize. Awarded to the student in the graduating class who submitted the best paper in the fulfillment of the Law School's advanced writing requirement.

Grace Wilson Sims Prize for Excellence in Student Writing in Transnational Law. Awarded to the member of the graduating class contributing the best Note submitted for publication in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law.

Grace Wilson Sims Medal in Transnational Law. Awarded to the editorial board member, other than the editor-in-chief, selected as having done the most outstanding work on the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year.

Masamichi Yamamoto Second-Year Editor Award. Awarded to the second-year staff member who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law during the academic year. This award was endowed in 2008 by Masamichi Yamamoto, Class of 2007, who served on the editorial staff in 2005-06 and 2006-07, in memory of his mother, Michiko Yamamoto.