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 Emily Shinn and Gabrielle Boissoneau, respectively.
The two were honored at the annual 2023 Graduation Awards Night among their peers, family and friends.
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.
Boissoneau has been a tireless advocate for public interest work, working with Tulane’s legal clinics as a research assistant first, then as a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic and the Women’s Prison Project. She interned with Disability Rights Louisiana working on prison reform, with the Orleans Public Defenders’ office, and in her three years of law school clocked more than 300 hours of pro bono service.
She mentored other law students as a Dean Rufus Harris Peer Fellow and as a Senior Fellow for Legal Research and Writing. She also served as the Senior Managing Editor for the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night came as Vice Dean Sally Richardson presented Boissoneau with the Hirsch Award, detailing that during her last year of law school, the student had lost her mother. During the following months, Boissoneau channeled her grief helping other students dealing with grief and created a resource guide for navigating law school after a personal loss. The room gave Boissoneau a standing ovation.
After graduation, Boissoneau will be clerking for the Hon. Chief Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Shinn received the John Minor Wisdom Award, endowed in 1987 by the former law clerks of the Hon. John Minor Wisdom (L’29). The recipient must be an outstanding J.D. candidate who has demonstrated excellence in academic work and in writing ability, has contributed selflessly to the law school community, and who has accepted a federal or state judicial clerkship after graduation.
Shinn is outstanding in and out of the classroom. She is graduating first in her class, receiving the Faculty Medal for the highest grade point average across three years of law school. She is a joint-degree graduate, earning both her J.D. and her Master of Public Health degree. She served as the Senior Notes & Comments Editor of the Tulane Law Review and as the Professional Development Chair for the Disability Rights and Health Law Society. She received the Gertler Law Review Award for the Best Case Note in the Tulane Law Review, and was a Senior Fellow for the Legal Research and Writing program.
After graduation, Shinn will clerk for Tulane alumna Judge Sarah Vance (L’78) of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and then will clerk for Judge Dana Douglas on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Tulane Law Dean David Meyer and faculty conferred these and other awards Friday, May 19. The full list of award winners is as follows:
Student Bar Association President Award
The Tulane 34 Award
Gabrielle Boissoneau, Kiera Galloway and Clarke Perkins
Order of the Coif
Grace Anzalone, Alexander M. Breaux, Rachel Campbell, Anna J. Carter, Ross Cherlin, Anna Fish, Kiera C. Galloway, Cat Gleason, Rebecca D. Goldstein, Edith Hanly, Carolyn E. Mitchell, Caroline E. Perlis, Madison Rich, Emily Shinn, Caroline Silverstein, Michel Stuebi, Aveeka Vats, Matthew G. Warren, Perri Weinstein, Ethan White
Order of the Barristers
Taitha Baugess, Laughlin Grace, Larenz Jones, Clarke I. Perkins, Reagan Roy, Desmond Sims, Matthew Snider, Sophia Urrutia, Ingrid von Kleydorff, Kayla Williams.
Moot Court Chief Justice
The Joseph A. Ettinger Award
Civil Track: Katia Leiva
Criminal Track: Raj Malviya
The Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award
The Louisiana State Bar Association Law Student Pro Bono Award
The Brian McSherry Community Service Award
Judge John R. Brown Award in Maritime Law
The General Maurice Hirsch Award
The James Wysocki Trial Advocacy Awards
Fall 2022 – Jack Samuels
Spring 2023 – William Veazy
Federal Bar Association Award
The Louisiana State Bar Association Corporate and Business Law Section Award
The Tulane Tax Institute Award in Taxation
The Haber Joseph McCarthy Environmental Law Award
The Edward A. Dodd Jr. Award in Admiralty
LLM Academic Excellence Award
The George Dewey Nelson Memorial Award
The Civil Law Studies Award
The John Minor Wisdom Award
The Dean’s Medal
Caroline Perlis, Madison Rich, Emily Shinn, Smriti Vats, Ethan White
The Faculty Medal
Jackson-Ryan Pro Bono Advocate Award
Angela Beam, Polly Berman, Rebecca Goldstein, Scarlet Hammond, Jack Samuels, Ingrid von Kleydorff