Bar News - June 17, 2015
Daniel Webster Scholars Program Selected for ABA Gambrell Award
University of New Hampshire School of Law has been selected as one of three 2015 recipients of the ABA E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for its innovative Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program.
A program of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, the award comes with a $3,500 cash prize, supported by the E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism. The committee and the award judges selected the DWS because it “represents an exemplary and extraordinarily innovative approach to preparing qualified students for a life in the law by immersing them in experiential learning and exposing them to exceptional professional development resources and role models.
Professor John Garvey, who has served as director of the DWS program since its inception in 2007, says the collaborative program wouldn’t be possible without the generosity and hard work of New Hampshire’s bench and bar.
“I’m delighted that the award recognizes the critical involvement of the Supreme Court, the Board of Bar Examiners, and the New Hampshire Bar Association,” Garvey says. “Even with all of the help and support from my colleagues at the law school, this program would not work without the commitment of judges and lawyers throughout the state,” he said.
This year has already been a big one for UNH Law and the DWS program. The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System recently released a report that touted the program as a national model that other jurisdictions and law schools should look to replicate, at least in part.
“Structurally sound and demonstrably sustainable, the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program follows a practical and extremely thoughtful approach to developing client-ready lawyers,” wrote Frederick Ury, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, in a letter to Garvey.
The competitive DWS program starts in the second year of law school, with about 24 students accepted each year. The intensively hands-on learning experience involves frequent self-assessments and feedback from professors and members of the NH Board of Bar Examiners. The program acts as a two-year bar exam, with successful completion leading to admission to the New Hampshire bar. The IAALS study found that students who participated in the program were more likely to do well in client interviews as compared to attorneys within their first two years of practice who took the regular bar exam.
The Gambrell Award will be presented in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago at a joint luncheon of the National Association of Bar Executives, the National Conference of Bar Presidents and the National Conference of Bar Foundations on Friday, July 31.