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Mason Student Takes Burton Prize for Seventh Consecutive Year

Presentation of a prestigious Burton Award for excellence in legal writing to a George Mason law student has become an annual affair, with third-year student Raven Merlau's selection for the 2013 honor representing the seventh consecutive year that the award has been given to a Mason student.

Merlau currently serves as Notes Editor for the George Mason Law Review. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she received an AB in Philosophy. Merlau was selected to receive the Burton Award for her comment "The State Giveth and the State Taketh: Constitutional Pension Protections and the Retroactive Removal of Public Pension Tax Exemptions.”  

As a Burton Award winner, Merlau has been invited to attend the organization's 14th annual black-tie presentation of the Burton Awards at a reception and dinner in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 2013. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court will be presented with the Contemporary Book of the Year in Law Award at the event, which will also feature a performance by Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award nominee Vanessa Williams.

Founded in 1999, the Burton Awards program is run in association with the Library of Congress and its Law Library. Nominations for the award are made by law school deans and managing partners of the 1000 largest U.S. law firms. Fifteen Burton Award law school winners are selected annually from law schools across the nation to receive the award, which honors partners in law firms and law students who set a high standard for clarity and effectiveness in legal writing. 

The awards are selected, generally, by law professors from selected universities. Judge Richard Posner (7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals); Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cirucit U.S. Court of Appeals); U.S. Senator John Cornyn; U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.; Congressman Spencer Bachus; Judge Judith S. Kaye (Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals) (retired); and Supreme Court Justice Carol Corrigan of California are among the honorary members of the Board of Trustees.

Read more about the Burton Awards