ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gurney F. Pearsall III has been selected to receive the prestigious 2015 American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing. 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 Elena Kagan.
Given in the name of the 15th Chief Justice of the United States, 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, “Revisiting Antigone’s Dilemma,” Pearsall advocates that model rules of professional conduct should become model presumptions that can be rebutted by acts of ethical discretion. He takes the essay’s title from the Greek myth of Antigone, who had to make a difficult decision between obeying the law and burying her beloved brother who was slain in war. This is an example of an “immoral law,” in which people struggle to choose between what is legal and what is right.
Pearsall notes that immoral laws can push attorneys into committing immoral acts. Rather than lay out options for attorney conduct, Pearsall proposes attacking at the root of the problem by adopting a framework of “law as integrity,” eliminating inflexible guidelines, practices, and model rules that can result in inadvertent immoral responses.
Pearsall, a third year law student at the University of Colorado Law School, is currently serving as an extern with Justice Allison H. Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court. A magna cum laude graduate of Yeshiva University in New York, New York, Pearsall earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and an associate’s degree in Judaic Studies. He serves as articles editor for the University of Colorado Law Review and has also contributed articles to the Journal of Legal Education and the Denver Bar Association’s publication, The Docket.
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 384 chapters nationwide and more than 100,000 alumni members. More information is available at www.innsofcourt.org.