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Eva Stensvad (’11) Wins Burton Award for Legal Writing

APRIL 26, 2011—Eva B. Stensvad (’11) is the winner of a 2011 Burton Award for Legal Achievement in the law school legal writing category for her article, "Immunity for Vaccine Manufacturers: The Vaccine Act and Preemption of Design Defect Claims." The article was published in Vol. 95, November 2010, of the Minnesota Law Review.

The Burton national awards program honors effective legal writing and use of clear, concise language. "Eva is one of our student legal writing instructors, and her article is a great example of the clarity and organization that we stress in the University of Minnesota writing system," says Professor Brad Clary (’75), who selected Stensvad's article for submission.

Stensvad completed her M.D. at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2007, and she credits the Law School's John W. Mooty scholarship with allowing her to pursue her legal interests. The Burton award is not the first writing recognition for the mother of two young children. She has won the Dorothy O. Lareau Writing Award and the 2011 Minnesota Law Review Vol. 35 and 36 Memorial Award.

"I am honored to have been nominated and selected for this prestigious award," Stensvad says. "The number of recipients from the Law School really demonstrates the strength of its legal writing program and high quality of the Minnesota Law Review. I could not have become an effective legal writer without the support and education I have received over the last three years."

Stensvad will receive her award at the 2011 Burton Awards program, "For the Pursuit of Perfection," on June 13, 2011, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The guest speaker at the formal dinner, co-hosted by the Library of Congress and the Burton Foundation, will be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Among other awards being presented are the 2011 Book of the Year in Law Award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and the Reform in Law Award to Judge Lee Rosenthal.

The nonprofit Burton Foundation was founded by William C. Burton, a former New York State Assistant Attorney General and a strong advocate of plain language in legal writing. Its award program was launched in 2000 and has grown in prestige, prominence, and competitiveness over the years.

The Law School is one of only eight schools to receive the Burton award six or more times. Stensvad joins the five previous legal writing honorees: Noreen E. Johnson (’09), Emily C. Melvin (’08), Dan Robinson (’07), David Leishman (’06), and Kari M. Dahlin (’01).

In other categories, the Law School has received a Record of Distinction Burton Award, and James T. Hale (’65) and James J. Bender (’81) have received the Legends in the Law Burton Award. In the law firm legal writing category, Bridget M. Ahmann (’85) with Faegre & Benson colleague Erin M. Verneris, and Professor John Matheson with Faegre & Benson partners Philip S. Garon (’72) and Michael A. Stanchfield, have received Burton awards for their articles.


Eva Stensvad

Eva Stensvad (’11)