Frank Guenthner ’18 Wins Burton Award for Legal Writing

March 12, 2018

The Burton Foundation has announced that Frank Guenthner ’18 is the winner of a 2018 Distinguished Legal Writing Award—one of only 15 students from U.S. law schools to be so honored. In the 19 years since the award’s creation, Law School students have received it 10 times.

Guenthner’s winning entry—“Reconsidering Home Rule and City-State Preemption in Abandoned Fields of Law”—discusses the interplay of city and state power and the role of preemption when state governments attempt to prohibit controversial city ordinances without replacing them with affirmative statewide policies.  

Christopher D. Soper, the Law School’s director of legal writing, says Guenthner’s award continues the Law School’s tradition of producing nationally recognized legal writing. Only two other law schools have won more Burton awards, he notes.   

“Frank followed the path we make available at the Law School that helped him develop as a writer,” Soper says. “He excelled in his first-year legal writing course; taught in that same course as a student instructor as a 2L and as a 3L; completed our law journal note-writing course; participated in one of our moot courts; and took upper-level classes such as judicial writing and appellate advocacy. His winning note is another great example of the resources we devote to help our law students produce excellent writing.”

Guenthner is thankful to the Law School’s legal writing program and the Minnesota Law Review for giving him the tools to put together the Note. “I feel very fortunate to have had them as resources in my development as a writer, and I’m elated to share with them in this success,” he says.

The Burton Foundation was established by William C. Burton, a former New York state assistant attorney general and a strong advocate of plain language in legal writing. The nine previous Law School legal writing honorees are: Alysha Bohanon ’17, Andrea Miller ’15, Phillip Walters ’12, Eva B. Stensvad ’11, Noreen E. Johnson ’09, Emily C. Melvin ’08, Dan Robinson ’07, David Leishman ’06, and Kari M. Dahlin ’01.

Frank Guenthner '18
Frank Guenthner '18

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