Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas

Professor David Grenardo Wins Prestigious Warren E. Burger Prize

St. Thomas Law Professor David Grenardo has been recognized nationally as a thought leader by the American Inns of Court. He is the 2023 winner of the prestigious Warren E. Burger Prize for his essay, “Debunking the Major Myths Surrounding Mandatory Civility for Lawyers Plus Five Mandatory Civility Rules That Will Work.” The award recognizes legal scholarship that makes a significant contribution in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence.

“Professor Grenardo is a national leader on professionalism and integrity, and I was delighted to learn of this recognition of his academic writing,” said interim Law School Dean Joel Nichols. “He writes with authority and incisiveness about the key issues of integrity, civility and ethics that face the legal profession and provides thoughtful solutions.”

Grenardo will be recognized during the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence Dinner at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C., in October.

His essay is forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. It examines incivility that occurs among legal professionals and within the legal system, despite proper conduct being taught in law schools, covered in continuing legal education, included in lawyer oaths and called for by members of the profession.

“How long will the legal profession continue to pay lip service to civility while the negative effects of incivility continue to plague the profession?” Grenardo writes. “Talking is not enough – leaders of the legal system need to act. State bars, state supreme courts, and, if necessary, state legislatures must take the step that four brave states already have – mandate civility.”

Several St. Thomas Law students had the opportunity to work with Grenardo on his paper. He was assisted with research for the article by now third-year law students Lena Atchan, Ajang Ekinde, Stella Haberman, Alex Kautza and Gabrielle Murphy, and second-year student Merryn L. Wier.

Grenardo is a professor of law and associate director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions. He is a regular presenter on issues of professionalism and ethics nationally, including at the ABA Conference on Professional Responsibility and the American Inns of Court’s Annual National Conversation on Civility. Grenardo has researched and promoted civility for over a decade, and he is the leading proponent of mandatory civility in the legal academy. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and his J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

The American Inns of Court fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills. Membership includes nearly 30,000 federal, state, and local judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students in nearly 400 chapters across the United States. The organization is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.