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W&L Law Student Newspaper Wins Top ABA Award for Second Straight Year

The Law News, the student newspaper at Washington and Lee University School of Law, was honored again this year by American Bar Association with the Law School Newspaper Award. This is the second year in a row The Law News has won the award for the finest law school newspaper in the country.

W&L Law is one of only four schools whose student papers have received back-to-back awards. The others are Harvard, Santa Clara and the University of Virginia.

According to Howard Wellons ’14L, who served as editor in chief for two years before his graduation this past spring, the editorial board completely re-imagined the publication over the last two years, with a renewed focus on the stories of the law school.

“By honoring our newspaper for two years in a row, the ABA has actually honored the unique and wonderful qualities that set Washington and Lee Law apart,” said Wellons. “The secret to our success was that we reflected the community we served.”

Current editor in chief Michael Darmante ’16L witnessed the paper’s evolution first-hand, starting as a contributing writer more than two years ago. He notes that the paper has continued to evolve and progress exponentially with the use of complex graphic software programs, high-quality writing and an aggressive process of intense, substantive editing.

“As a board, we are extremely proud of these recent achievements and national recognition,” said Darmante. “Moving forward our goal as a staff is to continue the trajectory of success and progress of the paper, while also finding innovative ways to meet the wants and needs of the W&L legal community both on campus and abroad.”

One of these innovations is a revamped website, which will include more of the print version’s content and mechanisms for readers to comment and provide other kinds of feedback. Darmante expects the new site to launch this month.