Academic Recognition and Prizes
NOTE: Students must be in full-time residence at the Law School for the entire academic year in order to be eligible for Kent and Stone honors. Grades earned in courses taken outside Columbia Law School (e.g., other divisions of the University, NYU Law School as part of the CLS-NYU Exchange program, other law schools while a visiting student, study abroad programs) will not be factored into honors calculations.
For students graduating in May, honors determinations are made a week or two after Commencement. For continuing students, honors calculations are made between June and late July. Students cannot receive academic honors for a year that includes a grade of incomplete. Therefore, if you wish to be considered for Kent or Stone honors, you are advised to consult with your instructor about a submission date for your work that will allow him/her enough time to read your written work and to record your grade by not later than the last week of July.
James Kent Scholars
Established in 1923 by the Faculty of Law, in memory of James Kent who, in 1793, became the first Professor of Law at Columbia College, and was an inspiration for the establishment of legal education at Columbia. Awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement by students in each of the three classes.
A student shall be named a Kent scholar if during an academic year the student has earned at least 15 graded law credits toward his or her degree, and in that year either 1) has achieved a grade point average of 3.800, or 2) has received grades all or all but one of which are A+, A, or A- (the exception being no lower than B), and, if the lowest grade is put aside, at least half of which are A or A+. Only law credits are used to calculate honors. No one will receive honors for a year which includes a grade of “Incomplete.”
Harlan Fiske Stone Scholars
Established in 1946 by the Faculty of Law, in memory of Harlan Fiske Stone, Law 1898, Lecturer in Law 1899-1903, Adjunct Professor of Law 1903-1905, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law 1910-1924, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1925-1941, and Chief Justice of the United States 1941-1946. Awarded in recognition of superior academic achievement by students in each of the three classes.
A student shall be named a Stone scholar if during an academic year the student has earned at least 15 graded law credits toward his or her degree, the student has received no grade lower than B-, and the student’s academic average for the year is at or above 3.410. Only law credits are used to calculate honors. No one will receive honors for a year which includes a grade of "Incomplete."
Charles Bathgate Beck Prize
Established in 1899 under the will of Charles Bathgate Beck, Law 1879. Awarded annually to a first-year student submitting the best examination paper in the course relating to the law of real property.
David M. Berger Memorial Prize
Established in 1973 in memory of David M. Berger ’69. The Prize honors the memory of Wolfgang Friedmann, professor of international law from 1955 to 1972, and is awarded annually to a third-year student interested in international law and world peace.
Harold Brown Book Prize
Established in 1985 by family and friends of Harold Brown ’27, in his honor. Awarded annually, for the purchase of books, to two or more needy first-year students who attended Columbia College.
Class of 1912 Prize
Established in 1937 as the 25th anniversary gift of the Class of 1912. The Prize, which consists of books selected by the winner with the Dean’s approval, is awarded annually to the first-year student most proficient in the subject of contracts.
Milton B. Conford Book Prize in Jurisprudence
Established in 1984 in honor of the Hon. Milton B. Conford ’31, by his clerks. The Prize, which consists of books in the field of jurisprudence to be selected by the winner, is awarded annually to the student who writes the best examination paper or essay on jurisprudence.
E. B. Convers Prize
Established in 1906 by Alice and Clara B. Convers, in memory of their brother, E. B. Convers, Law 1866. Awarded annually to the member of the graduating class who writes the best original essay on a legal subject.
Archie O. Dawson Prize
Established in 1965 in memory of the Hon. Archie O. Dawson ’23. Awarded annually for proficiency in advocacy. The recipient is afforded an opportunity to study for several weeks at various courts in the federal system, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
Alfred S. Forsyth Prize
Established in 1986 in memory of Alfred S. Forsyth ’31. Awarded annually to an outstanding student in the field of environmental law who, in the judgment of the School, has demonstrated qualities of intellect and selfless dedication to the advancement of environmental law.
Andrew D. Fried Memorial Prize
Established in memory of Andrew D. Fried ’84. Awarded annually for the best student essay on a subject in the field of intellectual property and related law published in the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts during the preceding year.
Walter Gellhorn Prize
Established in 1994. Awarded annually to the LL.M. candidate graduating with the highest academic average.
Lawrence S. Greenbaum Prize
Established in 1951 by family and friends, in memory of Lawrence S. Greenbaum ’12. Awarded annually to the student who has made the best oral presentation in the final argument of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition.
Carroll G. Harper Prize
Established in 1983, in memory of Carroll G. Harper ’52. Awarded annually to the member of the graduating class who has attained the highest standards of achievement in intellectual property studies and writing.
Paul R. Hays Prize
Established in 1983 by family, friends, and associates, in memory of Paul R. Hays ’33, member of the Faculty of Law from 1936 to 1971; United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit from 1961 to 1980. Awarded annually to an outstanding first-year student in civil procedure.
Pauline Berman Heller Prize Fund
Established in 1995 as a gift of Harry Heller and family (’29C, ’33L) in memory of wife and mother Pauline Berman Heller (’34L). Income to support a prize awarded annually to the highest ranked graduating female law student.
Robert Stephen Haft Moot Court Prize
Established in 1962 and awarded to the first-year student who submits the best brief in Moot Court competition.
Allan Morrow Sexuality and Gender Law Prize
Established in 2007 in memory of Allan Morrow, a successful entrepreneur who gave generously of his time and resources to secure justice and equality for gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, and for people with HIV/AIDS. The prize is awarded annually upon graduation from the Law School to a student or students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the furtherance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.
Jane Marks Murphy Prize
Established in 1952, in memory of Jane Marks Murphy ’48. Awarded annually to a student who displays exceptional interest and proficiency in advocacy in clinical offerings.
John Ordronaux Prize
Established in 1908 by the bequest of John Ordronaux, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence from 1860 to 1897. Awarded annually to a J.D. degree candidate of at least one year’s standing for general proficiency in legal study. The prize usually recognizes the student who has achieved the highest academic average in each graduating class.
Simon H. Rifkind Prize Fund
Established in 1996 as a gift by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in honor of one of the firm’s founding partners, Simon H. Rifkind ’25. Awarded for the best overall performance in the first year moot court program at Columbia Law School.
Samuel I. Rosenman Prize
Established in 1978, in memory of Samuel I. Rosenman ’19, by his partners in the firm of Rosenman & Colin. Awarded annually to a student who has completed two years of study at the School of Law, during which he or she has demonstrated academic excellence in public law courses and outstanding qualities of citizenship and leadership in the Law School, or activities related to the Law School in the University community.
Emil Schlesinger Labor Law Prize
Established in 1975 by the Schlesinger family, in honor of Emil Schlesinger ’24. Awarded annually to the student most proficient in the subject of labor law.
Whitney North Seymour Medal
Established in 1971 in honor of Whitney North Seymour ’23. Awarded annually to the student who shows greatest promise of becoming a distinguished trial advocate.
Young B. Smith Prize
Established in 1953 by R. C. Leffingwell ’02, in honor of Young B. Smith ’12, Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1927 to 1952 and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law from 1930 to 1958. Awarded annually to the first-year student most proficient in the law of torts.
Special Honors for Outstanding Performance in a Class Prize
Established in 2011 by the Faculty of Law, the prize is awarded to recognize the single best student in a class with enrollment of 30 or more students. The prize is awarded at the instructor’s discretion, and the instructor is free to choose whether to award the prize in a given course or a given semester.
Robert Noxon Toppan Prize
Established in 1878 by Robert Noxon Toppan, Law 1861. Awarded annually to the student in the School of Law who submits the best written examination to the professor of Constitutional law.
Valentin J.T. Wertheimer Prize in Labor Law
Established in 1980 by the family of Val Wertheimer ’50. Awarded annually to a Law School student whose work demonstrates the most creative, thoughtful approach to labor law, equal employment law, public or private sector collective bargaining, labor conflict resolution, or employment security.
Jeffrey Williams Memorial Prize for Critical Rights Analysis
Established in 2007 in memory of Jeffrey Williams (2002 College, 2005 Law). Awarded annually to the student who writes the best paper in critical theory.