By Whitney Smith
An article submitted as a final paper in Professor Robin Davis' Mediation course earned one graduate a national title, a spot on the American Board Association's website and $1,000.
Jon Philipson's (JD 11) essay, entitled "The Kids Are Not All Right: Mandating Peer Mediation as an Anti-Bullying Measure in Schools," was selected mid-August as the winning entry the 2011 James B. Boskey Law Student Essay Contest on Dispute Resolution.
"Issues and policies involving children and their development have always been an interest of mine," Philipson said. "My senior capstone paper in college also focused on child development issues and policies. Because I received the award for an article in area in which I am interested and in which I hope to be more involved in the future, it made it more special."
Philipson said he was surprised to hear the news and immediately phoned Professor Dennis Calfee.
"He has been a mentor and a great friend who is always everyone's biggest supporter," Philipson said of Calfee. "I soon after shared the news with Dean (Robert) Jerry, who provided me with great advice during my law school career."
As for the topic of his piece, Philipson admitted he struggled at first.
"After discussing with Professor Davis my interest in education policies and childhood development, the topic began to take shape. Over several months, I researched the area of law and conducted interviews with people in the field," he said. "After I settled on the topic, Professor Davis suggested I submit the article for the Boskey Award."
During and after his years at Washington & Lee University, Philipson worked on and off Capitol Hill serving as a congressional aide and public policy consultant, focusing on education issues among other areas. He currently serves as a law clerk to Chief Judge Anne Conway (JD 75) in Orlando and maintains a relationship with children as a youth basketball coach.
"I contribute receiving this award to my great friends I made during law school who were always supportive and always entertaining," he said. "Above all, I especially want to thank Professor Robin Davis for encouraging me to apply for this award and for teaching me about the mediation process and its effectiveness and importance in society."
Philipson is hopeful to publish other articles he has written in the coming year.
To read Philipson's essay or to view the other winning entries, visit the ABA's website.