The Barrister’s Ball is an annual tradition at BYU Law honoring students and faculty for their accomplishments. This year’s event was particularly meaningful as it was Dean Rasband’s last Barrister’s Ball in his position as Dean of BYU Law.
Dean Rasband began his introduction of the awards ceremony by expressing appreciation at the chance for lawyers to be honored and for their nobility to be recognized. He described lawyers as leaders, healers, and problem solvers. He referenced the recent devotional address of Elder Larry Lawrence: praise lifts both the giver and the receiver. Ultimately, praise is a precious gift that costs the giver nothing, and lifts both people. Dean Rasband noted that in teaching, giving away knowledge only gives the teacher more. Giving away praise and compliments works in the same way; the importance lies in what we choose to praise.
J. Reuben Clark Award
This award was presented to students who exemplify academic excellence, integrity, high ethical standards, and service. The recipients included Jesse P. Houchens and Nora Ashley Moulder from the 1L class, Tanner J. Bean and Rachel E. Phillips from the 2L class, and Bradley John Pew and Andrea Kelly from the 3L class.
Christensen Memorial Award for Excellence in Advocacy
The 38th annual presentation of the Christensen Memorial Award for Excellence in Advocacy was announced by Craig Christensen and named for his father, who was a federal judge. Judge Christensen devoted himself to his profession, his clients, and to justice. He valued work, courage, love, loyalty for his profession and family, integrity, and deep faith. He had a great interest in young people. Christensen expressed his honor at presenting the award on behalf of his family to Caroline R. Lamb.
Faculty Awards for Meritorious Achievement and Distinguished Service
These awards were presented to law students who transform the academic environment of BYU to a caring community. It was given to Eva Marie Brady, Kathryn Kanani Brinton, Victoria Chen, Roland Christensen, Cara Duchene, Tara Fitzgerald, Rebekah-Anne Gebler, James M. Grossman, Janet Lawrence, M. Russell Liechty, Lisha A. Lisonbee, Kurt London, Aline Marie H. Longstaff, Grey Robert Lund, Ashleen I. Piercy, Shaunte Ruiz Zundel, Laura Shrum, Zachary D. Smith, Karen Sullivan, and Emmanuelle Verdieu.
Humor in the Law Award
This award was presented to a third-year law student who maintained a healthy and wry sense of humor through law school. This year’s recipient was Travis J. Hyer.
Hugh B. Brown Barrister’s Award
This award is made possible through the generosity of the High B. Brown family in recognition of those qualities that characterize a barrister. Bradley John Pew was selected to receive this award for his high standards of preparation and performance in the classroom.
National Association of Women Lawyers Award
This award was given to a student who has shown academic achievement, motivation, tenacity, and drive, and one who will continue to contribute to advancing women in society. It was given to Alexandra Thomas Sandvik.
Margaret Rose Nelson Award
Kevin Jones ‘77 established this award to honor the life and professional career of Margaret Rose Nelson, who graduated from the charter class of 1976. Jones described her as “an absolutely fabulous human being, with energy and intelligence that [he] had never before seen.” He recalled that in a talk two weeks before she died of cancer, she spoke of how the most important attribute of life is the way it is lived. “Be bigger than the things that happen to us,” she had said. “Nothing that can happen is half so important as the way in which we meet it.” This award is presented annually to the best oralist in the Rex E. Lee Moot Court Competition, and this year’s recipient was Brooke Ellis.
Douglas H. Parker Award
This award was also established by Kevin Jones, and is given to the student who attained the highest grade in Federal Indian Law. Since Douglas Parker could not attend the awards ceremony, Jones had the honor of presenting the award to this year’s recipient, Kathryn Kanani Brinton.
The Utah State Bar Division of Litigation Linda Anderson Trial Advocacy Competition Awards
The runners up were Caroline R. Lamb, and Chelsea Bridgewater Wardrop. The champions were Jade Bollinger and James M. Grossman.
John S. Welch Award for Outstanding Legal Writing
This award was established by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. John S. Welch to encourage excellence in legal writing by third-year law students. James Grossman came in first place, with Ryan Davis and Annalee Hickman Moser tying for second.
Distinguished Clinical Practice Award
This award was given to students who demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to the clinical practice of law. This year’s recipients were Eva Marie Brady and Emma N. Cano Russell.
Schooley Outstanding Mediator Award
The award was then given to a student who has shown excellence in mediation and commitment to the advancement of methods of alternative dispute resolution – Laura Monique Mullenaux Laing.
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies Outstanding Service Award
Elizabeth Clark presented the award to students who dedicated service to both the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and to the cause of international religious freedom. The recipients of this award were Bennett H. Briggs, Travis J. Hyer, Jedi Knight, Aline Marie H. Longstaff, Zachary D. Smith, Ryan Andersen, Eva Marie Brady, Tara Fitzgerald, Roman Harper, Annalee Hickman Moser, Laura Monique Mullenaux Laing, and Lauren Ravsten Robins.
J. Reuben Clark Public Interest Service Award
Each year this award is given to students who perform more than 100 hours of unpaid legal work in a public interest cause during the course of Law School. This award was given to Andee Gempeler DeVore, Ashleen I. Piercy, and Shaunte Ruiz Zundel.
Dean Rasband presented this ward to K. Marie Kulbeth and Gary Buckway. “I’m so grateful for all they’ve done. If you’ll come forward and let us thank you,” he said.
SBA Professor of the Year Awards
SBA President Cara Duchene presented Brigham Daniels with the 1L Professor of the Year and Eric Talbot Jensen with the 2L/3L Professor of the Year.
SBA Distinguished Service Award
This award is presented to a faculty or administrative member for outstanding service to the law school community and was awarded to Gayla Sorenson.
SBA President’s Award
Duchene presented the SBA President’s Award to Aline Marie H. Longstaff.
Exceptional Service to the SBA Award
Duchene presented this award to Tara Fitzgerald for constant contributions to the SBA and the Law School.
The awards ceremony concluded with a tribute to Dean Rasband. BYU Law student, Rebekah-Anne Gebler presented a booklet and video that included clips of students and professors, all of whom had only the kindest and highest praise for Dean Rasband. They expressed awe and gratitude for him, his ability to listen, his sense of principled leadership, and his sincere and authentic humility. All expressed the privilege it has been to learn from him as a colleague, professor, leader, and friend.