(Back, left to right): Charlotte Boghossian, Victoria Clark, Lexi Wung, and James Kirwan; (Front, left to right): Ruby Emberling, Lily Sawyer-Kaplan, and Lissie Ng. (Not pictured: Olivia Vigiletti)
Michigan Law is proud to announce the recipients of annual awards and recognition, including the graduating students who received its most prestigious honors: the Bates, Mixer, and Stenn awards.
Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship Award
Ruby Emberling and Lily Sawyer-Kaplan
Presented to outstanding seniors in the Law School, with account taken of scholarship in legal studies, personality, character, extracurricular interests, and promise of a distinguished career. The award was established in 1949 through the generosity of alumni and friends in memory of the late Dean Henry M. Bates.
Ruby Emberling earned first place in the 2022 Henry M. Campbell Moot Court competition. She served as articles editor of Michigan Law Review and co-president of Michigan Law ACLU. Additionally, she has been a student-attorney with the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative and has done pro bono work with the Lawyers’ Committee Election Protection Hotline and the Outlaws Pro Bono Project. After graduation, she will clerk for the Hon. Paul J. Watford on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “There is no doubt in my mind that Ruby is going to have an illustrious career in the field of civil rights,” said one of the faculty who nominated her for the award. “She is an outstanding team player and a true leader. In short, Ruby represents what is best about Michigan Law and the legal profession in general. She will make us all proud.”
Lily Sawyer-Kaplan has served as project manager of the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse and executive online editor of Michigan Law Review. She also was a member of MDefenders throughout her tenure at the Law School. She will begin her post-Michigan Law career with two clerkships: for the Hon. William Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for the Hon. Amit Mehta on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Said one of her faculty nominators, “Lily is an outstanding and hardworking student, careful and smart legal thinker, and a kind and thoughtful person. There are not enough superlatives to say about her. Her engagement with the Law School outside of the classroom is illustrative of how she will make a positive contribution to [the profession].” Another wrote, “I am hugely impressed by her—in terms of smarts, how hard she works, and her effectiveness…She's an outstanding collaborator and leader.”
Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award
Charlotte Boghossian, Olivia Vigiletti, and Lexi Wung
Presented to the students who have made the greatest contribution to activities designed to advance the cause of social justice. Students, faculty, and staff provide nominations for the award. The award was established in 1969 through the generosity of alumni and friends in memory of the late Jane L. Mixer.
Charlotte Boghossian was active in several public interest-focused activities at Michigan Law, including MDefenders, Reproductive Rights and Justice, Student Rights Project, and Wolverine Street Law. She also was a student-attorney in the Michigan Innocence Clinic. In addition, she served as executive online editor of Michigan Law Review. “Charlotte falls into the rare category of students who pair top-notch intellect with a remarkable devotion to service, both during law school and in their future careers,” said her nominators. “The highlight of Charlotte’s clinical work was her incredible service on two complex innocence cases that are quite famous across the country. We have no doubt that both of these clients will be released from prison one day soon, and Charlotte will have been [among those] most responsible for that achievement.”
Olivia Vigiletti has served as vice president of First Generation Law Students, works as a research assistant in the Immigrant Justice Lab, and interned with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center in Ypsilanti. She also has done work in the immigrant-rights realm for the AIRE Centre in London, served as a Fresh Food Fellow for Eastern Market in Detroit, and was a program manager for Growing Hope in Ypsilanti. She has worked at the Dawn Farm addiction treatment center for the past six years. “Advocacy for better understanding and assistance geared toward mental health issues is a full-time cause for Olivia, and she has done a lot to better educate her classmates and her professors on these important issues,” said her nominators. “Michigan Law has been fortunate for the past three years to have in its midst a service-oriented attorney-in-training of Olivia’s level.”
Lexi Wung served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law, was a program coordinator for the Peer Tutoring Program, served as a student-attorney in the Juvenile Justice Clinic, and was active in Wolverine Street Law and the First Year Information Board. “The Michigan Law community is lucky to have Lexi as a student, as a classmate, and as a future attorney,” said her nominators. “Her commitment to pursuing social justice across communities is inspiring. Social justice is a theme that connects her experiences before and during law school … from the very beginning of 1L year, Lexi has contributed to the Law School and the broader Southeastern Michigan community.”
Irving Stenn Jr. Award
Victoria Clark, James Kirwan, and Lissie Ng
Presented to students who have demonstrated leadership and contributed, through extracurricular activities, to the well-being and strength of the Law School or University. The award, established in 1976, is made possible through the generosity of Irving Stenn Jr., '55, and his father, Irving Stenn Sr., of Chicago.
Victoria Clark was a semifinalist in the 2020 1L Oral Advocacy Competition and earned first place in the 2021 Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition; she later served as logistics chair for each competition’s board. In addition, she was senior editor of Michigan Law Review, a student-attorney in the Michigan Innocence Clinic, a student leader for the First Year Information Program, advocacy chair for the Gender Violence Project, co-president of the National Security Law Society, and a student volunteer with the Women Also Know Law social media campaign. Said her nominators, “Victoria is a spectacular student whose top-notch academic accomplishments pair with impressive achievements. But even those high honors are surpassed by Victoria’s endless devotion to her clinic clients and her commitment to service to the Law School and to her classmates. She is the best representative of the resilience and greatness of this graduating class.”
James Kirwan is a founding member and the inaugural editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Law & Society. He also was a student-attorney in the Workers’ Rights Clinic, vice president of the Law School Student Senate, chair of the First Year Information Program, and co-president of the Law School Horror Club. “With his grit and determination, he created the nation’s first law school journal to incorporate law students, PhD students/candidates, and faculty into its editing and review processes,” said his nominators. “James has worked tirelessly and selflessly to devote himself to the Law School community over the past three years.”
Elisabeth “Lissie” Ng has been a leader of the Black Law Students Association, serving as president, Dean's Advisory Committee chair, 3L representative, and co-chair of the Alden J. “Butch” Carpenter Committee. In addition, she served as a peer tutor for Constitutional Law and Contract Law and was a student-attorney in the Community Enterprise Clinic. “Thanks to Lissie's tireless leadership, the faculty have incorporated more discussion of race into the 1L curriculum, the Racial Justice Center was announced, and more faculty of color have been hired,” said her nominator. “Throughout her time at Michigan, Lissie has demonstrated an unwavering devotion to advocating for her fellow students of color and ensuring that the Law School reckons with its prejudices and becomes a more inclusive space.”