October 5, 2009


Lauren Foley, '09, Wins Distinguished and National Education Law Award

East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law graduate, Lauren Foley,'09, recently won the Education Law Association's 2009 George Jay Joseph Award, a national writing competition that aims to generate increased interest in and recognition of education law, for a paper she wrote while serving as associate editor of the Michigan State Law Review.

Foley's paper "From Comparing Plus Factors to Context Review: The Future of Affirmative Action in Higher Education" drew on both her post-baccalaureate work in the Dartmouth College Admissions Office and her legal training gained at MSU Law in order to propose ways in which college and university admissions offices' could employ constitutionally "safer" (more defensible) mechanisms for admitting racially and/or ethnically diverse students.

"Evaluating students within the context of their educational and personal backgrounds instead of direct competition between applicants avoids preference for race over other characteristics, yet continues to prioritize the diversity of the student body as a compelling interest in higher education," Foley explains. This method would resist the use of plus factors as articulated in Grutter vs. Bollinger (2003), which hypothesized a 25-year time limit on the use of race as one of the plus factors an admissions office can consider in its individualized consideration of an application.

"I am thrilled that Lauren's exceptional paper is receiving the recognition it deserves," says Professor Kristi Bowman, an education law teacher and scholar who also advised Foley on the paper. "By selecting Lauren to receive this award, education law experts from around the country are recognizing that her paper is an important contribution to the literature. I'm certain that scholars, lawyers, and universities will draw on her ideas as they pursue the goal of continuing to diversify higher education."

"I am humbled by this honor and incredibly grateful for the invaluable feedback and guidance of Professor Kristi Bowman. It is faculty like herself who are the greatest resource at MSU College of Law," says Foley, who is currently employed in the University of Michigan Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Foley in part credits MSU Law faculty for her writing success. "Our faculty are deeply committed not only to teaching future lawyers, but also advising future legal minds in their first attempts at scholarship. They represent the promising future for our school and I am proud to be an alum."

As winner of the competition, Foley will be recognized at the Annual Conference of the Education Law Association (ELA) where she will also be invited to present on the topic of the article. In addition, her article will be published in the Journal of Law and Education.

Michigan State University College of Law is a leading institution of legal education with a long history of creating practice-ready attorneys. As one of a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After a hundred years as a private and independent Law College, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars. Law College curriculum is rigorous and challenging and the facility is equipped with the latest resources-all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st century lawyers.


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