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Law student wins top prize in statewide writing composition

Loyola press release - September 23, 2004

At a check presentation, officials at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law honored student, Richard Gallagher, who won the top prize in a statewide writing competition. Gallagher was presented with a $5,000 check from the Louisiana Judicial Excellence Foundation, which sponsored the competition this spring. In his composition, Gallagher outlined a detailed plan regarding the makeup of nominating commissions that would eventually provide names for the merit selection process for judges. Gallagher’s proposal was chosen on the basis of his research, thoroughness and innovative ideas, according to Randy Hayden, executive director of Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence. Two other Loyola law students participated in the competition, and their plans were extremely impressive, also.

Merit selection is a process where judges are chosen through various mechanisms established by the individual states rather than through popular elections. Currently, 34 states and the District of Columbia use some form of merit selection to choose at least some of their judges. Louisiana is in the minority of states that elect all their district, appellate and Supreme Court judges.

The Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence, a non-affiliated, non-profit organization seeking ways to improve Louisiana’s judiciary, also complimented Gallagher on his work and hopes contests like this will help educate law students on the needs for judicial reforms.

Pictured are School of Law Dean Brian Bromberger, Louisiana Judicial Excellence Foundation President Jack Benjamin, law student Richard Gallagher, Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence President Frank Simoneaux, and Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence Vice President Tom Lind.