Congratulations to 2023 graduate Nicholas R. “Nick” Lewis for winning the Top Gun XIV National Mock Trial Competition. His effort created a historic win, as no school has won this tournament two times in a row. Lewis was undefeated throughout the tournament. 2023 graduate Emily P. Johnson served as Lewis’ co-chair/technical advisor and Associate Director of Advocacy Joe Lester served as coach. Top Gun is an invitation-only event for law schools that have excelled at mock trial competitions during the past year or otherwise distinguished themselves in their dedication to trial advocacy training.
Congratulations to the School of Law's American Constitution Society student group for receiving a programming award from the national organization. The award is presented to the "strongest chapters who have conducted at least 18 substantive and compelling events during the school year." Notably, in March, the law school's ACS chapter was named Student Chapter of the Week.
During April, Assistant Dean for Career Development Tony Waller became the president of NALP (the National Association for Law Placement), an international association of over 3,000 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices and law schools. Of note, he is the first person from the state of Georgia to serve in this leadership capacity in more than two decades.
The Veterans Legal Clinic has successfully helped two women obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In one case, the clinic helped a woman veteran who lived for years with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a military sexual trauma: a rape by another service member. Second-year student Eli F. Klenberg and third-year students A. Ligon Fant, Riley Gardner, Trisha D. Hyatt, Lauren A. Johnson and Bethany L. Strain developed the evidence that supported her claim. The decision resulted in increased monthly benefits and recognition by the VA of the long-term impact of the trauma. In the second case, the clinic assisted the widow of a Vietnam veteran who died of stomach cancer resulting from chronic substance use to self-treat his post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his experiences in service. Class of 2022 graduates Margaret Uhler and Jack Mayo identified and researched the medical links between his mental and medical conditions that materially contributed to this win. The decision resulted in a substantial retroactive award and ongoing monthly payments to the widow.
The School of Law regrets to announce former employee Kathryn Jo "Kathy" T. Burkes passed away December 27, 2019. She worked at UGA from March 1993 to April 2002. During that time she served as an administrative assistant in the school's advocacy office. She will be missed by law school faculty, staff and former students.