The Law News, the student newspaper at Washington and Lee University School of Law, was honored at the ABA annual meeting in August with the Law School Newspaper Award. The Law News, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, was one of ten student-run law school newspapers that competed for the award.
While The Law News has received awards from the ABA in the past, this is only the second time The Law News was awarded the honor of finest overall newspaper in the nation. The paper received top honors as well as several individual awards in 1985. (See correction note below)
The ABA's award stated that it was given to The Law News "for its long term commitment to providing law students well-written and engaging content relevant to their studies, their future careers, and the legal profession in a thoughtfully designed newspaper."
According to editor in chief Howard Wellons, The Law News editorial board began the 2012–2013 year with two primary goals: expanding readership and enhancing prestige. The staff found a new publisher, rewrote the organization's Constitution, and successfully executed a plan to advertise each release among the student body in order to maximize distribution.
"We have a really dedicated board," said Wellons. "We have a strong student base at Washington and Lee Law and there is lot to write about."
The staff enhanced the paper's content with new recurring columns, including "10 Things you Didn't Know About W&L Professors," which highlighted the law school's professors; "Alumni Spotlight," which included interviews of W&L Alumni; "Community Features", which featured community events relevant to law students; and "News at Other Law Schools." In addition, The Law News successfully produced a special 40th anniversary "Legacy Edition," featuring submissions from prior editors in chief of the paper.
For the current school year, Wellons said The Law News plans to expand its reach to capture both alumni and current student readership. This will include enhancing the paper's web presence and implementing a new guest speaker program focusing on the intersection of law and journalism.
Correction Note: This article originally stated that this was the first time The Law News received the top award from the ABA. This has been corrected to note that the paper previously won the award in 1985. Thanks to Paul Fletcher '85L, former editor in chief of The Law News, for correcting the error.