Sixth Miami Law Student Receives Prestigious Burton Legal Writing Award

The Burton Awards, which is run in association with the Library of Congress, recognizes the finest law school writers in the country.
Sixth Miami Law Student Receives Prestigious Burton Legal Writing Award
Grace Slicklen, 3L

Third-year law student Grace Slicklen was recently named a 2024 Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award winner. Slicklen, who serves as editor-in-chief of the University of Miami Law Review, is one of 15 law students from around the country to receive this prestigious award, and the sixth Miami Law student to win. She will be recognized in May at a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Slicklen’s winning article, “For Freedom or Full of it? State Attempts to Silence Social Media,” was published in Volume 78, Issue 1 of the University of Miami Law Review.

“It was really exciting and humbling—even to learn that I had been nominated,” said Slicklen about learning she had been named a Burton Legal Writing winner. “I have loved my time on the University of Miami Law Review, and the drafting process for this note has been a huge part of that. UMLR’s editors provided so much support and assistance in getting my paper to publication, so I am especially thankful to them.”

The article delves into the complex landscape of content moderation on social media platforms, particularly in the context of First Amendment considerations and state laws in Florida and Texas aimed at regulating platforms' content-moderation decisions. Slicklen focused on the split between the Eleventh and Fifth Circuits in the cases NetChoice v. Moody and NetChoice v. Paxton.

“These cases underwent rapid evolution, progressing from appeals to a call for the view of the Solicitor General, and eventually, both cases were granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court in September 2023, shortly before the paper's publication,” said Slicklen. “The two cases are set for oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court later this month, so I am looking forward to hearing how the Supreme Court tackles the Circuit Split.”

Former professor of Legal Writing Jarrod Reich supervised the paper.

“Professor Reich played a pivotal role in guiding me through the intricacies of these legal developments, particularly in understanding the nuances of First Amendment jurisprudence,” said Slicklen. “Professor Reich was instrumental in how I came to understand the issues presented in the two cases, shape my arguments, and ultimately enhance the paper’s analysis, structure, and style. I could not have done it without him.”

In addition to her role with UMLR, Slicklen, who received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University Maryland, has served as a student intern and fellow for the Investor Rights Clinic and is a member of Miami Law Women.  After taking the Bar exam this summer, Slicklen will be joining Kirkland & Ellis in their New York office as an associate in their corporate group.

Now in its 25th year, the Burton Awards were established to honor the finest accomplishments in law, including writing, reform, public service and interest, regulatory innovation, and lifetime achievements in the profession.

The Academic Board, which reviewed articles published within the past year, was led by Virginia Wise, chair, formerly of Harvard Law School; Kristen K. Tiscione, Georgetown Law Center; Lindsay Sturges Saffouri, UC Berkeley School of Law; William C. Burton, founder and chair of the event; and William Ryan, former member of the Department of Homeland Security and chair of the White House Plain Language Committee.

Slicklen joins Hannah Gordon, who won the 2020 Burton Award, Elizabeth Montano, who won the award in 2019, J.P. Shami in 2017, Arnoldo Lacayo in 2003, and Brant Hadaway in 2001.

“I have read several of the Miami Law papers that have won in the past, and I am honored to be one of them,” said Slicklen. “I look forward to representing Miami Law at the Burton Awards event in May.”

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