Law school awards highlight academic achievements, service to others

Two graduates were honored by the Tulane Law faculty with the school’s highest honors, one for academic excellence and the other for service to Tulane and the community.

Tulane Law School’s top student honors, the John Minor Wisdom Award, focused on academics and writing, and the General Maurice Hirsch Award, awarded for service to the community, were awarded to Amelia Lawrence and Tamunoboma Dominion Fenny, respectively.

The two were honored at the annual 2024 Graduation Awards Night among their peers, family and friends.  

See the photo gallery of awards night here.

The John Minor Wisdom Award was endowed in 1987 by the former law clerks of the Honorable John Minor Wisdom, a member of the Tulane Law Class of 1929 and an iconic judge whose decisions helped integrate America’s schools.  The recipient, selected by the law faculty, must be an outstanding J.D. candidate who has demonstrated excellence in academic work and writing ability, has contributed selflessly to the law school community, and who has accepted a federal or state judicial clerkship after graduation.

Lawrence, the valedictorian of Tulane Law School, has always been an academic standout. She graduated as the valedictorian of her high school in Pascagoula, Mississippi and received a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude with a perfect GPA from the University of Mississippi.

A gifted writer, Lawrence’s honors thesis as an undergraduate was the best paper in the History Department at the University of Mississippi. She argued that criticism of the death penalty emerged much earlier than scholars currently estimate. In law school, she is a member of the Tulane Law Review, winning the Class of 2000 Award for her contributions to the law school’s prestigious flagship journal. Her comment, “Jurisprudence that Utterly Shocks the Conscience:  A Call for Courts to Stop Refouling Asylee Children Under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction” was selected for publication in Volume 98.

She was a Senior Fellow, working with 1L students in the Legal Research and Writing course. And, she was a student-attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic, representing survivors in both civil and criminal cases. Lawrence calls working with survivors of domestic violence "the most meaningful experience in law school." 

After graduation, Lawrence will clerk for the Honorable Eldon Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The Hirsch Award, endowed by Mrs. Elise Newman Solomon to honor the life and achievement of General Maurice Hirsch, is presented each year to the graduating student who, by vote of the faculty, has contributed most distinctively and constructively to university or community needs.

Fenny, a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, has been both a student leader and an advocate for community members who need representation. She was a student attorney in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, served as a graduate assistant at Tulane’s Title IX Office, and as an intern at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.  She is a member of the Sports Law Society and is the Secretary of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). 

Fenny, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, has also been a leader across Tulane University, becoming president this year of the Tulane Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). Upon graduation, Fenny will join the Air Force’s JAG Corps.

“Having worked with Dominion over the course of this year, I know that she is always of the mindset that nothing is unobtainable if you are willing to work for it, an attitude that will certainly take her far in the legal field,” said Law Dean Sally Richardson in presenting the award.”

Other student honorees are as follows:

Student Bar Association President Award

Hartley Reese

The Tulane 34 Award

Hartley Reese, Maria Ramsey and Cameron Ott

Greenie Award

Eric Tedder

Order of the Coif

Sam Brush, Sophia Cefolia, Garrett Clark, Hannah Zendel-Davis, Annelise Ernst, Jaclyn Kundrat, Lauren Latino, Amelia Lawrence, James Layrisson, Katia Leiva, Morrison Marcus, Julia Meyer, Katherine Norris, Keane Nowlan, Ruth Reeves, Ashley Sanders, Kathryn Schimmel, Kelly Smith, William Watkins Veazey

Order of the Barristers

Annie Cleveland, Caylin Grosse, Corrine Morris, Drew Evans, Lex Kumar, Alexander de la Osa, Maria Ramsey, Sanjay Das, Sheldon Johnson, Michael Stephen Sepcich, Jr.

Moot Court Chief Justice

Maria Ramsey

The Joseph A. Ettinger Award

Amelia Lawrence – Civil

Nisha Kate, Katia Leiva, Raj Malviya – Criminal

The Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award

Andrea Junco, Katia Leiva

The Louisiana State Bar Association Law Student Pro Bono Award

Charlotte Phillips

The Brian McSherry Community Service Award

Rowan Bienes-Allen

The James Wysocki Trial Advocacy Awards

Sammi Tomasello – Fall 2023

Dylan Avery – Spring 2024

Max Nathan Award

Caylin Grosse, Kellie Jackson, Kayla Ogden, Hailey Shore

Federal Bar Association Award

Keane McKennan Nowlan

The Louisiana State Bar Association Corporate and Business Law Section Award

James Pearce Layrisson

The Tulane Tax Institute Award in Taxation

Theodore Eric Danielson

The Haber Joseph McCarthy Environmental Law Award

Charlotte Valentine Phillips

Judge John R. Brown Award in Maritime Law

Ashleigh Tanna Higgs

The Edward A. Dodd Jr. Award in Admiralty

Nick Brookings

LLM Academic Excellence Award

Philipp von Sanden

The George Dewey Nelson Memorial Award

William Watkins Veazy

The Civil Law Studies Award

Julia Ann Meyer

The Dean’s Medal

Ashley Sanders, Emma Guida, Julia Meyer, Katia Leiva, Louise Rambeau, Meredith Bouchein, Ruth Reeves, Samuel Brush, Sophia Cefolia

The Faculty Medal

Amelia Lawrence

Jackson-Ryan Pro Bono Advocate Award

Steven Anton, Rowan Bienes-Allen, Caylin Grosse, Nuwani Irizarry, Darby Lansdowne, Kayla Ogden

See the photo gallery of awards night here.