1L student wins $10,000 in national essay competition

Posted May 5, 2014 by

Victoria WhitesideA first-year student at The John Marshall Law School has won a national honor from the Black Women Lawyers’ Association by demonstrating her stellar writing and legal analysis skills.

Victoria Whiteside bested two third-year students from other law schools to win first place in the association’s Spring Essay Scholarship competition. She will receive $10,000 toward her legal education.

In her essay, Whiteside used facts provided for a fictitious case that was similar to the circumstances in the case of Trayvon Martin, the young man who was shot and killed in February 2012, in Florida. Accused shooter George Zimmerman used a “stand your ground” defense and was found not guilty after a July 2013 trial.

Whiteside presented arguments for the prosecution, in pursuit of an involuntary manslaughter charge. Whiteside, who is completing her Criminal Law class with Professor Kim Chanbonpin, said the competition gave her the opportunity to develop her critical thinking skills and that Chanbonpin challenged her to analyze the issues and to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of science in Health Administration and Policy, Whiteside spent five years as a health care consultant servicing state and federal agencies throughout the United States. Her last position before law school was working in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as it established the Health Care Insurance Exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

After law school, Whiteside intends to focus her legal career on health care law.

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