Finest Law School Writers Selected By The Burton Awards Program


April 30, 2020

New York, New York: The finest law school writers of 2020 have been announced by the Burton Awards, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit program, which is held in association with the Library of Congress, presented by lead sponsor Law360, and co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. The winners, who will be presented the “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Awards” on June 14, 2021, were chosen from the nominations submitted by professors at renowned colleges around the country. William Burton, Founder and Chair of the awards program, said “The winners are outstanding, highly skilled, and effective writers. The Law360 Writing Awards winners have now taught a new and even higher standard of excellence.”

The Academic Board, which reviewed articles published within the past year, was led by Virginia Wise, Chair, formerly of Harvard Law School; Jeanne Merino, Stanford Law School; Lindsay Saffouri, UC Berkeley School of Law, William C. Burton, Author and Founder of the event; Judge Edward Forstenzer, Superior Court of California (retired); and William Ryan, former member of the Department of Homeland Security and Chair of the White House Plain Language Committee.

The awards ceremony will be celebrating its Twenty-first Anniversary at the Library of Congress. The awards ceremony will be followed by a gala reception, dinner, and performance by singer, songwriter, actor and author, Sara Bareilles, and world-class entertainer and mentalist, Oz Pearlman.

The honorary and distinguished Board of Directors of the Burton Awards program includes: William C. Burton, Partner, SagatBurton LLP; Les Parrette, Deputy Chairman, The Burton Awards; Chief Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (retired); U.S. Senator John Cornyn; U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.; U.S. Senator Mike Crapo; U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet; U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen; U.S. Senator Cory Gardner; U.S. Senator James E. Risch; U.S. Senator Tim Kaine; Justice Carol Corrigan, California Court of Appeals; Yabo Lin, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP; Jane Sullivan Roberts, Partner, McLegal Group; Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Lisa Rickard, Former President, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform; Thomas L. Sager, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP; James M. Rishwain, Jr., Chairman  Emeritus, Pillsbury Winthrop LLP; Betty Whelchel, Former Head of Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, BNP Paribas SA; Linda A. Klein, Senior Managing Shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and Past President, American Bar Association; and Stephen R. Mysliwiec, Partner, DLA Piper LLP (US).

Rachel Travers, General Manager of Law360 said, “Clear, compelling writing is essential for all lawyers. Law360 is proud to be associated with these awards, where the best of the best writers in the legal profession are recognized. Hats off to the nominees and award winners for demonstrating their writing talents and maintaining the highest standards of excellence.” 

The 2020 Law School winners are:

Law School Author(s) Article Title
Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University MJ Egan When Does “Currently” Using No Longer Apply? The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Opioid Crisis, and the Search for a Solution
Brooklyn Law School Evan Drake Sovereign Immunity for Russia’s Rocket Engines? Enforcing the “Yukos” Award
Emory University School of Law Elijah O’Kelley State Constitutions as a Check on the New Governors: Using State Free Speech Clauses to Protect Social Media Users from Arbitrary Political Censorship by Social Media Platforms
Fordham University School of Law Nadav D. Ben Zur Differentiating Legislative from Nonlegislative Rules: An Empirical and Qualitative Analysis
Howard University School of Law Quiana D. Harris A Plea to Federal Judges: Combatting Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Cliven Bundy Era
Stanford Law School Joseph (Joe) Zabel The Killer Inside Us: Law, Ethics, and the Forensic Use of Family Genetics
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University Walter G. Johnson Governance Tools for the Second Quantum Revolution
Tulane Law School Jenna Raden Fragmenting Local Governance and Fracturing America’s Suburbs: An Analysis of Municipal Incorporations and Segregative Effect Liabililty Under the Fair Housing Act
University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law Randall D. Nice Reviving the Lost Tort of Defamation: A Proposal to Stem the Flow of Fake News
University of Houston Law Center Vanessa Garza Unheard and Deported: The Unconstitutional Denial of Habeas Corpus in Expedited Removal
University of Miami School of Law Hannah Gordon Cowboys and Indians: Settler Colonialism and the Dog Whistle in U.S. Immigration Policy
University of Michigan Law School Julie C. Michalski Microgrids For Micro-Communities: Reducing The Energy Burden In Rural Areas
University of Wisconsin Law School Brian P. Cawley Damning the Mekong: Project Finance’s Inability to Cure the Steep Costs of Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin
West Virginia University College of Law Amanda Demmerle Pain in the Ash: How Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Polluting Our Nation’s Waters Without Consequences
William & Mary Law School Elisha Teibel Waste Size: The Skinny on the Environmental Costs of the Fashion Industry


Law360, a LexisNexis company, is a trusted provider of breaking legal news and in-depth analysis, with up-to-the-minute, comprehensive coverage of litigation, regulation and enforcement, legislation, administrative proceedings, executive actions, corporate deals, legal industry trends, and more. With a unique blend of cutting-edge technology and journalistic expertise, Law360 delivers the intelligence legal and business professionals at top law firms, Fortune 1000 companies, key government agencies, and many other organizations need to remain experts, mitigate risk, and beat the competition.


With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


This prominent institution is one of the most celebrated and distinguished libraries in the world. It was established on April 24, 1800, and since that time has grown to become one of the largest repositories in history. The Library of Congress functions as both a national library and as the research arm of the U.S. Congress. It contains more than 32 million catalogued books and more than 62 million manuscripts. 


The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.


The Founder and Chair of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement is William C. Burton, Esq., a partner at the law firm of Sagat|Burton LLP. He is a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, a former New York State Assistant Special Prosecutor, and is the author of the first legal thesaurus ever written for the legal profession, entitled Burton’s Legal Thesaurus. The book is now in its 5th edition and quickly approaching its 35th anniversary. When the book was released, the Association of American Publishers recognized it as “one of the Most innovative and creative projects of the year.” In 2011, Mr. Burton was presented the highest honor given by the second largest association of law professors in America, The Legal Writing Institute, for “significantly advancing the cause of legal writing in the profession of law.” More recently, he was awarded the “Blackstone Award” by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, for “embodying and promoting the best ideals of the institution.” In 2017, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform Individual Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Burton for making the U.S. Justice System “fairer for all.”