Hannah Jacobs Wiseman, who is a new Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas School of Law as part of the Emerging Scholars Program, has been selected by a distinguished panel of academics to receive the 2008 Warren E. Burger Writing Competition Prize. The award will be presented at the American Inns of Court’s Celebration of Excellence, hosted by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., at the United States Supreme Court, on October 11, 2008.
The Warren E. Burger Writing Anonymous Competition is 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 The competition is open to original, unpublished essays of 10,000 to 25,000 words. In addition to a cash prize, the author will have the winning essay published in the South Carolina Law Review.
The judges for the competition are Professor Stephen Gillers, Chair, Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law; Professor Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Trustee Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Professor Nancy J. Moore, Boston University School of Law; and, Professor Robert M. Wilcox, Director of the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Wiseman is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was a Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal on Regulation and the recipient of the Israel H. Peres Prize for best student note or comment appearing in the Yale Law Journal in 2007. She received her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College. She grew up on a farm in southwest New Hampshire, where she developed a love of the outdoors as well as humans’ interaction with the environment—leading to an affinity for environmental sciences and legal issues.
After law school, she worked as a law clerk for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Austin, Texas. Interestingly, Judge Higginbotham will be honored at the same award presentation as the recipient of the American Inn’s of Court’s Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Award for Professionalism and Ethics.
Wiseman’s winning essay, entitled “Pro Bono Publico: The Growing Need for Expert Aid,” examines the increasing reliance in criminal law on DNA and other forensic evidence, as well as complicated scientific issues in civil cases, and the concomitant need for expert assistance, particularly for indigent parties. She argues that while some expert support is available through various means such as court-appointed experts or legal aid associations, the current system is inadequate to guarantee assistance necessary for equal access to justice. She proposes a system of “expert aid,” wherein bars would help form a centralized “expert witness associations” with an ethics code that encourages pro bono services by experts.
The American Inns of Court Foundation is America’s oldest, largest and fastest growing legal mentoring organization. More information may be found at www.innsofcourt.org.
Pictured above: Professor Hannah Jacobs Wiseman was presented the Warren E. Burger Prize from Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The presentation took place at the Celebration of Excellence October 11, 2008, during a formal dinner hosted by Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. at the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C.