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International Law

Winners selected in Davis Wright Tremaine international law writing competition

June 08, 2016

  • News Image
    Whitney Magnuson
  • News Image
    Thomas Payne

The International Law Committee at Lewis & Clark Law School is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Davis Wright Tremaine International Law Writing Awards. Established through the generosity of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, the award program provides a $2,000 stipend for the best student research paper written in the past year on any topic in private or public international law, and a $500 stipend for the second best paper.

This year’s winners are:

First Place:  Whitney Magnuson, Confronting an Imminent Wave of Climate Change Migrants: Lessons and Opportunities in International Governance Afforded by the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

Second Place: Thomas Payne, Teaching Old Law New Tricks: Applying and Adapting State Responsibility to Cyber Operations.

Whitney’s paper considers the phenomenon of climate change migration, identifies a gap in protection under international law, and analyzes the potential utilization of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as a model for proactively addressing the matter.    

Thomas’ paper explores the emerging threat of transnational cyber operations and applies the law of state responsibility to its various permutations, including cyber operations committed by organs of a state, and those committed by non-state actors.

Professor George Foster, the Chair of the International Law Committee and a member of this year’s review committee, commended both authors.  “Whitney’s paper represents an original and valuable contribution to the literature on a cutting edge issue: migration spurred by climate change,” he said.  “Thomas’ paper marshals traditional sources of authority to analyze a novel subject in a cogent and sophisticated way.”  Professor Foster pointed out that this is the second time Whitney has won this writing competition, having earned first place two years ago for a paper evaluating the characterization of marine conservation campaigners as pirates.  “Whitney’s achievement in winning this award twice is unprecedented,” he commented.  “It shows just how exceptional her research and writing skills are.  I hope and expect that Whitney and Thomas will both continue to produce such innovative and impressive scholarship as they move forward with their careers.”

The International Law Committee and Lewis & Clark Law School congratulate both winners and are grateful to Davis Wright Tremaine for the firm’s ongoing support for this award program.