ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Charles R. Mendez has been selected to receive the prestigious 2014 Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing by the American Inns of Court. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States in October; the event will be hosted by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Given in the name of the 15th Chief Justice and founder and first president of the Supreme Court Historical Society, the Warren E. Burger Prize is a writing competition designed to encourage outstanding scholarship that “promotes the ideals of excellence, civility, ethics, and professionalism within the legal profession,” the core mission of the American Inns of Court. The award annually honors those in the legal profession for their exemplary writing abilities with publication of the winning essay in South Carolina Law Review and a cash prize of $5,000.
In his winning essay, “Deflating Autonomy,” Mendez argues that attorneys must create environments and relationships that foster client autonomy; and must support that autonomy even in the face of morally reprehensible decisions. This results in tension between client autonomy and the attorney’s moral agenda. The essay has also won the 2014 Notre Dame Smith Doheny Legal Ethics Writing Competition.
Mendez is a fellow attorney in the Denver, Colorado, City Attorney’s Office of Human Services, where he works in the child protection unit. He also holds a postgraduate faculty fellowship with the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, where he assists Professor Eli Wald with legal research and writing. Mendez graduated from Sturm in May 2014. As a member of the award-winning University of Denver National Trial Team, he was a finalist in the 2013 AAJ Student Trial Advocacy regional tournament in Seattle, Washington.
A graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, Mendez earned dual bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and theology and served as his class’s baccalaureate speaker. While in law school, he was a student attorney with the civil litigation clinic and interned with the Family and Children Unit of Colorado Legal Services and at the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel of the Colorado Supreme Court. Proficient in Spanish, Mendez has studied and worked in Mexico and Guatemala.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. The organization’s membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in more than 380 chapters nationwide and more than 100,000 alumni members. More information is available at www.innsofcourt.org.