2018 Ultimate Writer Competition Winners Announced

December 13, 2018

2018 Ultimate Writer Competition Winners Announced

Banner image of the Ultimate Writer Awards

Baylor Law Students (background) await word of this year's competition winners

WACO, Texas -

Baylor Law is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Ultimate Writer Competition. The first-place winner is Aaron Horner ('20), second-place winner is Ryan Owen ('20), and Patrick Kelly ('19) took third place. Honorable mentions were received by Anthony Stokes ('19) and Sarah Van Sciver ('20).

In addition to cash awards for the top three competitors, each were awarded an opportunity to interview for an internship with the prestigious appellate law firm Kelly, Durham, and Pittard, LLP in Dallas, Texas. Professor of Law Scott Fraley, speaking about the unique competition stated, "The Ultimate Writer Legal Writing Competition is unique in two particular aspects: first, the competition employs real-world problems based on the kind of work a young associate might do in a law firm, rather than a generic essay prompt; and second, the competition offers the opportunity for three of the top finalists to interview for a potential clerkship with a highly-rated appellate law firm. No other legal writing competition, to our knowledge, is comparable in these respects."

The winners pose for a group picture, along with their awards

The 2018 Ultimate Writers at Baylor Law, L-R, Anthony Stokes, Ryan Owen, Aaron Horner, Patrick Kelly, and Sarah Van Sciver

This year's case consisted of a complex scenario designed to test contestants' abilities to review a packet of materials and draft a real-world document based on a packet of information and a brief writing prompt loosely based on a real appellate case file. Competitors were challenged to prepare a Motion for Rehearing in the Texas Supreme Court of a denied Petition for Review. The complex case involved an adverse court of appeals decision regarding a trial court ruling that struck Appellants' pleadings and awarded damages for alleged discovery abuse. The underlying case involved a claim under the Texas Theft Liability Act.

Sponsors bookend a photo of the winner, Aaron Horner

Competition Sponsors Charlie Frazier (L) and Kirk L. Pittard (R) with the 2018 Ultimate Writer, Aaron Horner.

"Winning the Ultimate Writer is about much more than a trophy or award. It's about reassurance that I have the 'chops' necessary to be an effective advocate," stated this year's winner Aaron Horner, who added "We hear over and over how Baylor Law is different than all other law schools. When it comes to legal writing, Baylor is truly unique. I know alumni and current students of law schools around the county. Very few, if any, other law schools take legal writing as seriously as Baylor Law."

Speaking on the importance of the Ultimate Writer competition and Baylor Law's emphasis on legal writing, Kirk L. Pittard, of the appellate law firm of Kelly, Durham, and Pittard, LLP., this year's competition clerkship sponsor, stated, "Our firm supports the writing competition for a number of reasons. First, as a graduate of Baylor Law School, I believe in its mission and its method for educating and graduating the best qualified law students around. Additionally, as an appellate firm, quality legal writing is an absolute must and it's not a skill all attorneys have." He added, "We are very impressed with Baylor's effort to develop better legal writers through the writing center and to reward those students who have exemplified excellent writing skills. Our firm is happy to be a part of promoting this program and to provide the law students an opportunity to clerk with our firm for the summer."

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
EMAIL: Ed_Nelson@Baylor.edu
PHONE: 254-710-6681

Established in 1857, Baylor Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as one of the top 5 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #50 in the magazine's 2019 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu

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