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Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition Rewards Excellence in Legal Writing

Five law students received recognition and cash awards in the 14th Annual Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Student winners of the 2013-14 competition, announced at a lunchtime reception on Thursday, January 30, were:

Kate Hollist (1L) First Place - $2500
Jessica Schulberg (1L) Second Place - $1500
Matt Smith (3L) Third Place - $1000
Tim Butterfield (1L) Honorable Mention - $750
Omar Vasquez (3L)  Honorable Mention - $750

Using a problem prepared by Arizona Law faculty, students wrote an essay profiling an individual whose life had been touched by the law. Faculty members Lorraine Gin and Susie Salmon selected the five finalists from over twenty entries based on the pieces’ vivid language, compelling storytelling, and sound writing fundamentals.

The final order of awards was determined by a panel of lawyers and judges:

  • Justice Ann Timmer, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Geri Mose-Mahrt, Staff Attorney, Arizona Court of Appeals
  • Timothy Eigo, editor, Arizona Attorney magazine
  • Sarah Bullard, Attorney, Pima County Public Defender
  • Brian Laird, Attorney, Laird Law Firm, PLLC

The competition is one of two annual events funded by internationally recognized plaintiffs’ lawyer Richard Grand to improve student skills. The Richard Grand Damages Argument tests student skills in oral arguments and will be held later this spring.

Grand passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 83, but both competitions bearing his name live on in his memory. His widow, Marsha Grand, increased the amount of the cash awards this year, honoring her husband’s lifelong commitment to fostering cogent legal communication.

Grand, a 1958 graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, began his practice in Tucson as a deputy county attorney. After 1962, his practice was limited to representing plaintiffs. One 100+ occasions he obtained either a verdict or settlement in excess of $1 million. In 1972, he received a jury verdict of $3.5 million, at that time the largest in the United States for a single injury. Wry v. Dial. 18 Ariz. App. 503 (1972).

Grand was the Honorary President of The Richard Grand Society – “The Injury Lawyers Alliance” – a Society of preeminent personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers entitled to practice in the United Kingdom. In 1972 he founded the Inner Circle of Advocates, which is limited to 100 U.S. lawyers who have completed at least 50 personal injury trials and have at least one verdict in excess of $1 million for compensatory damages. In 2002, the University of Arizona Alumni Association Board of Directors awarded him the University of Arizona’s Professional Achievement Award to Richard Grand. Mr. Grand was only the twelfth person to receive this prestigious award.


Posted:02/17/2014