Earlier this year, Michael P. Bellis (JD ’23) and Kathleen Naccarato (JD ’24), two Northwestern Pritzker School of Law students, won awards for submitting the best papers in their respective Law ...
Each year, the students in Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s graduating class nominate and vote on the winners of the Student Awards. Because these awards are peer-selected and recognize students for a range of accomplishments, they have become one of the Law School’s most beloved graduation traditions. Northwestern Law is thrilled to announce the Student Award winners of the Class of 2020.
Presented to the student who has shown the greatest courage in surmounting obstacles to completing his or her education
“I learned through the endeavors, challenges, and failures—my own and those of my peers—that if we can get through these last three years, we can go on to do remarkable things. I learned that, though some portions of law school were competitive, the most gratifying bits were helping one another advance and move forward. My peers have been bold, daring, and at times adventurous enough to brainstorm ways we could improve the world for the better. But we never let those ideas sit. We acted on them. We did make the world better. We helped hurricane victims post-Harvey. We helped refugees seek asylum at the border. We helped people avoid homelessness. We helped people start businesses. We’re helping people through this global pandemic. The Class of 2020 is a resilient, generous, and motivated group of extraordinary people who will go on to do extraordinary things.”
Given to the student who has made the greatest contribution to leadership in the student community
“This award is meaningful to me because it was given to me by fellow classmates. The class of 2020 is full of amazing leaders who will go on to do great things in the legal field and change the world for the better. To be recognized by this group of individuals is a tremendous honor and privilege, and it means the world to me to know that my classmates thought I was deserving of this award.”
LEGAL PROFESSION AWARD
Given to the student who has made the greatest contribution to professional responsibility and to the practice of law
“Once I was talking with my client, Marcel Brown, who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for ten years. In conversation, Marcel mentioned that he wasn’t angry for how he had been wronged. I pressed him on this, and he told me that it only hurt him to be angry. Marcel may be full of grace, but my clients, and so many people I’ll never get to represent, deserve better from the justice system. Whether it be through formal representation, volunteer work, or scholarship, I try always to make things better than they were. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my community thinks I have made a difference.”
Presented to the student who has shown the greatest dedication and commitment to public service and the practice of law
“When I came to law school, I knew that it would be a privilege, and the only way I could accept that privilege would be to devote as much of my law school tenure to fighting against injustice and oppression. Winning this award is exceptionally meaningful to me because it tells me that others feel the same way. It is an absolute honor to win this award, one that inspires me to keep going, to dig deeper, to fight harder, and to never lose hope that the work will make a difference—and that others around me may do the same.”
GLOBAL LEGAL PROFESSION AWARD
Given to the LLM student who has most exemplified standards of professionalism and has made the greatest contribution to the global legal profession
“Receiving the Global Legal Professional Award is a huge validation for my time here at Northwestern Law School. I am thrilled that I am recognized for one of the most important qualities as a lawyer. Thank you for the validation and recognition, I am absolutely honored!”
VICTOR ROSENBLUM AWARD
Given to the LLM student who has done the most to uphold the traditions of the Law School
Lays Lima Dutra
“This class of LLMs students are a group of 152 brave people, from 19 countries that are united through the eagerness to learn more and to go further in life. We all came from different backgrounds and cultures, but we all have this commonplace in our paths, which is pursuing a Master’s Degree at Northwestern. After this graduation day, I hope you all keep being brave, keep pushing yourselves to be better, to learn more, and keep having amazing experiences in your life. I am sure that this is not the graduation that you dreamed of, and that COVID-19 changed a lot of our plans, but I’m also sure you learned that there are some things in life that we simply cannot control. And that’s life. This is the graduation that we are having for now, and I am positive that all of this will make us stronger. I’m also confident that we will be even better professionals after this experience.”
Awarded to the student who has done the most to uphold the traditions of the Law School
“Without a doubt, the best part of Northwestern Law is the people that surround you everyday—classmates, faculty, administrators, and staff. So many diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives coming together to support each other through this crazy journey. I feel fortunate to have attended a school with some of the smartest, most selfless and supportive people I have ever met.”
Last week, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law welcomed incoming students to the Law School with a week of campus-wide events to celebrate the start of the 2023-24 academic year.
On Friday, May 12, 643 graduates from 35 places around the globe joined faculty, family, and friends for the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s 2023 convocation ceremony at the Chicago Theatre.