Allen Barr (’17) Wins Scribes Law Review Award

February 24, 2017

Allen Cook Barr (’17) has been named the winner of the 2017 Scribes Law Review Award for his note, “Guardians of Your Galaxy S7: Encryption Backdoors and the First Amendment,” published in the Minnesota Law Review (Vol. 101, Issue 1). The prize has been given annually since 1987 by Scribes: The American Society of Legal Writers. Barr will receive his award March 25 at a dinner to be hosted in his honor at the National Conference of Law Reviews in Jacksonville, Fla.

Barr summarizes his note as follows: “Since the widespread integration of encryption into the iPhone in 2014, law enforcement has increasingly called for backdoors—the ability to access information on a device even if law enforcement is unable to obtain the password. ‘Guardians of Your Galaxy S7: Encryption Backdoors and the First Amendment’ examines the First Amendment implications of requiring software developers to write such backdoors into their products. It argues that strict scrutiny precludes legislation that would mandate backdoors for every device. Nevertheless, law enforcement is not left without options, as there are potentially several means by which government entities can gain access to device information on a case-by-case basis.”

“Legal writing is hard. It requires thinking about abstract principles of law and applying them to concrete—and often complicated—facts,” said Professor Christopher Soper, director of legal writing at the Law School. “Allen’s note is excellent, and deserving of this national award, because it explains these abstract principles and applies them to a very complicated factual situation in a clear, step-by-step process. Allen’s writing and analytical skills exemplify what we teach at the Law School.”

Allen Cook Barr (’17)
Allen Cook Barr (’17)

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