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WVU Law Student Wins National Legal Writing Award

Maggie Lohmann

Maggie Lohmann, a third year WVU Law student from Bridgeport, has been named one of the “finest law school writers” in the country by the Burton Awards, a national non-profit program run in association with the Library of Congress and the American Bar Association.

Lohmann, whose student law review note was chosen from nominations submitted by the nation’s top law schools, will receive the “Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award” in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony, which will be held at the National Portrait Gallery in June, will be followed by a gala reception and performance by comedian and late-night talk show host Seth Meyers. 

Lohmann’s winning piece, featured in the West Virginia Law Review, examines Federal Indian Law and land rights disparities. Lohmann said she wanted to investigate the topic after reading a seminal case in Professor Alison Peck’s property law class.

"I knew about atrocities committed by the government against Native nations before coming to law school, but I was struck by the blatant racism inherent in this case,” Lohmann said. “I wanted to learn about and analyze how that case influenced other cases and forms of law that work together to impact Native land rights."

 Melanie Stimeling, Director of the College of Law’s Writing Center, praised Lohmann’s submission, adding that its greatest strength was the “link to present-day legal issues to convincingly assert that justice in the present is only possible by revisiting the past.”

 “Maggie's Note draws attention to an issue of national importance and provides fresh analysis of complex legal history,” Stimeling said.

 Stimeling added that the award highlights the strength of the College of Law’s legal writing program, as Lohmann is the third WVU Law student to be selected for this prestigious national award in its last four nomination periods.

During her law school tenure, Lohmann, 25, served as a student attorney for the West Virginia Innocence Project, a Senior Editor of the West Virginia Law Review, and a member of WVU’s National Moot Court Team. After graduation, she will be joining the labor and employment department as an associate attorney at Steptoe & Johnson.

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