UF Law assignment becomes national winner
BY ROBERTA O. ROBERTS (4JM) and RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
“Enclosed in his self-constructed tomb, he hung from the inner walls of his bedroom closet.”
So began the essay by Jon Philipson (JD 11) that won him the national James B. Boskey Law Student Essay Contest on Dispute Resolution sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.
“The Kids Are Not All Right: Mandating Peer Mediation as an Anti-Bullying Measure in Schools” argues that, as a complement to existing programs, states should implement peer mediation at an early age to stunt certain bullying triggers.
Philipson’s essay was an extension of an assignment for UF Law’s Institute for Dispute Resolution Director Robin Davis’ (JD 88) Spring 2011 mediations skills course.
“The final paper requirement is eight pages and the competition requires a 15- to 25-page essay. It takes a motivated student to do more than double the assignment,” said Davis.
Philipson is nothing if not motivated. He finished No. 1 in his law school class and served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Law Review. Now he adds national essay contest winner to his resume and a $1,000 check to his bank account as the prize.
Issues of child policy and advocacy come naturally to the New Orleans native whose family moved to Lakeland, Fla., when he was in middle school. Before law school, Philipson worked on and off Capitol Hill serving as a congressional aide and public policy consultant. He was active with child development and education policy work and he also started a mentoring program for at-risk youth. Today he coaches a local YMCA youth basketball team.“It starts with each individual giving back,” said Phillipson, who serves as law clerk to U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway (JD 75) of the Middle District of Florida. “As members of the Bar we can do something immediately to create an impact on education and on the lives of children in and out of the school systems.”
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