News and Information
April 21, 2008

Lexington Student Takes Top Honor in Bar’s Annual Essay Competition

Emily Ann Walker, a senior at Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, has won first place in the 2008 Law in Society Award Competition sponsored by the Virginia State Bar and its Litigation Section.

This is the sixteenth year for the essay competition, which aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the legal system among Virginia’s high-school students. This year, students were asked to consider the story of a fictional high-school senior with a history of mental illness and a desire to continue her education at a large university. The entrants explored the issue of medical-records privacy from the student’s perspective as well as the university’s.

“Rather than viewing the issue as a clash between an individual and an institution, it helps to visualize the conflict as involving the right of an individual versus the cumulative rights of many individuals,” Walker wrote in her essay titled “A Matter of Privacy.” Walker concluded by maintaining that public safety overrides the student’s right to privacy while acknowledging the matter “requires thoughtful, nuanced regulation.”

For her efforts, Walker will receive her choice of $2,000 U.S. Savings Bond or $1,000 cash.

Jenny Anna Shultis, also a senior at Rockbridge County High School, placed second in the competition. She will receive her choice of a $1,500 U.S. Saving Bond or $750 cash. Dila Dahlia Mignouna, a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies, won third place and will receive her choice of a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond or $500 cash.

Seven honorable mentions will be awarded to the following: Lucy Claire Britt of Blacksburg; Jonathan Martin Bryan of Ashburn; Melissa D. Johnson of Lynchburg; Margaret Montavon of Arlington; Alison Leigh Mygas of Virginia Beach; Lauren Tappan of Yorktown; and Amber Nicole Woodard of Sussex. Each honorable-mention recipient will be awarded his or her choice of a $200 U.S. Savings Bond or $100 cash.

All winners also will receive plaques and dictionary/thesaurus sets. Awards ceremonies are being planned in each winner’s community.

For more information on the Law in Society Award, or to read Walker’s essay, visit

The Virginia State Bar is the government agency that regulates the legal profession. It is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia. It is supported through the licensing dues paid by all Virginia lawyers, and it is governed by a council of lawyers elected or appointed from every judicial circuit in Virginia.

Updated: Apr 21, 2008