Nashville School of Law

Dean Koch Announces This Year’s Rigorous Writing Award Winners

Dean Koch Announces This Year’s Rigorous Writing Award Winners

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The annual Robert Ballow Excellence in Writing Awards were presented to Nashville School of Law 4L students on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Seven students were recognized for their performance in the Rigorous Writing Exercise program.

The following students and their mentors received the top awards:

(Click on the name of each paper to read the award-winning work.)

RWE Finalists include:

  • Josh Hunter / Mentor – Nathan Nichols
  • Nikkie Kiene / Mentor – Jacques Cabell
  • Ayla Loeb / Mentor – Eddie Herbert
  • Christina Rice / Mentor – Dana Looper


The Rigorous Writing Exercise (RWE), lead by Program Director Lisa Helton, is a project all Nashville School of Law students embark on as a requirement of graduation. Working with a volunteer mentor from the legal community, students research and write a 15-20 page paper on the topic of their choice.

Each year, the students’ submissions are evaluated by a panel of legal writing experts, who determine finalists and award winners.

Our 2023 Mentor of the Year award was presented to Ms. Teresa Luna’07. 

The honor is conferred in recognition of a mentor’s exceptional service to the Rigorous Writing Exercise Program.

Luna graduated cum laude from Union University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History. She also received an M.S. degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis, graduating magna cum laude. Luna is a member in the Spragins, Barnett & Cobb Litigation Group in Jackson.

The RWE award is named for  Robert L. Ballow, Esq, who endowed the award with a generous contribution that allows for a cash award to top three finalists annually.

Mr. Ballow graduated from the School in 1963. He was the founding partner of King & Ballow, a national law firm whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, more than 300 daily newspapers, and 100 radio and televisions stations. Mr. Ballow was listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1982 and one of the best 150 lawyers in Tennessee. He was a member of the Media Law Reporter Advisory Board, the Labor Law Section of the American Bar Association, and the ABA Committee on Antitrust and Labor Relations.

NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr., First Place - Addie Toy, Second Place - Preston Garrett, Third Place - Marti Stuart

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