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VT Law School Student Wins Prestigious National Award

April 27, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Vermont Law School student Ben Leoni '11 has been selected by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement as a winner of the 2011 Distinguished Legal Writing Awards. Leoni is the first VLS student to win the award, which is the highest honor in legal writing in the United States.Image of Ben Leoni

The VLS Legal Writing Program nominated Leoni's article, "Resolving Disputes in the Northern Forest: Lessons From the Connecticut and Moosehead Lakes," which was published in the Fall 2010 issue of the Vermont Law Review. The article dealt with environmental dispute resolution among private landowners and other stakeholders in the public land-use debate over logging, development, recreation and conservation in the vast forest stretching across northern New England.

"I'm very surprised and honored by this award," said Leoni, who will practice law at Curtis, Thaxter, Stevens, Broder & Micoleau, LLC in Portland, Maine, after receiving his J.D. degree in May.

Image  of New England forestEstablished in 1999, the Burton Awards honor partners in law firms and law school students who use clear, plain and concise language rather than archaic, stilted legalese. This year, 15 student-authors were selected by a committee of professors from Harvard, Penn and Michigan law schools and luminaries from the bench such as former Chief Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Last year's winners came from law schools that included Columbia, Emory, Georgetown, Iowa, Penn and William & Mary. The award winners will be feted at a black tie dinner at the Library of Congress on June 13. The guest speaker will be U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will accept the 2011 Book of the Year in Law Award.

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