Students Honored with Carmody MacDonald Legal Practice Excellence Awards


Twelve second-year law students recently received the 2012 Carmody MacDonald Legal Practice Excellence Awards for outstanding performance in their Legal Practice sections during their first year of law school.

The recipients are: Joseph Boylan, Natalie Chan, Jessica Courtway, Aaron Davidowitz, Andrew Davitt, David Dean, Devin Dippold, Michael Gallagher, Jessie Goins, Stephen Hirsch, Elizabeth Miller, and Rebecca Morton. The students were recognized for consistently drafting high quality memoranda and briefs, and for otherwise significantly contributing to the class as first-year law students.

Jo Ellen Lewis, professor of practice and director of the Legal Practice Program, welcomed the group and congratulated the students on their significant achievements. Dean Kent Syverud, the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor, also congratulated the recipients and thanked the St. Louis firm of Carmody MacDonald for their sponsorship of the award. Syverud then stressed the importance of excellence in writing and clear communication in the legal profession.

Gregory Willard, a partner at Carmody MacDonald PC who specializes in bankruptcy and corporate reorganizations, gave the award address. Willard discussed not only the importance of oral and written communication in the practice of law, but also focused on the art of “writing for the spoken word.” He gave telling examples of strong oratory and recounted several anecdotes illustrating the importance of word choice pulled from his decades-long association with President Gerald R. Ford, including serving as his White House staff assistant and personal lawyer.

Willard noted that while good lawyers have strong technical, research, and client-service skills, “great lawyers have a particular skill—they are phenomenal communicators.”