Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham has been recognized as one of the nation’s best legal writers.  Katie Jo was selected as a 2015 winner of a Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing in Law School.  The Burton Foundation, in association with the Library of Congress, presents the award annually to the nation’s best student legal writers. Upon receiving the award, Luningham said, “Writing this Note was one of the most challenging and rewarding achievements of my law school education. I am so humbled and honored to receive a Burton Award!”                

The Weigand Scholarship Family is proud to have Katie Jo as a member and to celebrate her achievement.  Katie Jo, a native of Louisburg Kansas, is an active Weigand Scholar in her 3L year at Notre Dame Law School. She described receiving the award as “a huge honor and the best way to end a law school career.”  The Burton Award adds to Katie Jo’s already prestigious law school achievements, including being selected as the Executive Notes Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and numerous academic recognitions.  Katie Jo has spent her 3L year externing for U.S. District Court Judge John DeGuillo of the Northern District of Indiana, and interning with Notre Dame’s Athletics Compliance Office.  Katie Jo has accepted postgraduate employment with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City.

Notre Dame Law School’s Distinguished Legal Writing Award Judges selected Katie Jo’s Note as the best published student paper, and submitted it for consideration by the Burton Awards. The committee made the selection because “it represented an excellent and well-written analysis of a difficult and timely topic.” Katie Jo’s Note, Revisiting Rulemaking: Challenging the Montana Settlement’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Blueprint, was one of 10 winning entries selected from nominations submitted by deans of law schools across the country. The Note examines recent Department of Education informal guidance regarding Title IX Sexual Harassment compliance for universities and its legality under the Administrative Procedure Act.  In May 2013, a findings letter and settlement agreement between the University of Montana and DOE set forth a “blueprint” for Title IX compliance relating to sexual harassment. Focusing on this administrative guidance, Katie Jo looked at the APA as the basis for a challenge of the DOE’s “blueprint,” given the DOE’s lack of a notice and comment period. Katie Jo praised the support she received from Notre Dame Law School faculty advisors Professors Jeff Pojanowski and Patricia O’Hara.  Her Note was published in Issue 4, Volume 89 of the Notre Dame Law Review under her maiden name, and is available online at http://ndlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/NDL411.pdf

As a student winner, Katie Jo will attend the Burton Awards Annual Awards Program and Gala in June at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  The award ceremony will include a keynote address by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a performance by Emmy and Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth. The Burton Awards Program is administered by the Burton Foundation and is run in association with the Library of Congress.  This nonprofit national awards program was established to reward great achievements in law, with an emphasis on writing and reform.

Congratulations, Katie Jo!