Howard Law 3L Student to Graduate Summa Cum Laude

Howard Law 3L Student to Graduate Summa Cum Laude


By RaNeeka Claxton Witty

At Howard University’s 151st Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11, 3L student Emerson Kenneth Lovell will do what no other Howard University School of Law student has done in nearly 10 years.

Lovell will graduate No. 1 out of 137 students in his class, with the highest academic honor distinction, summa cum laude. Lovell follows the few Howard Law students who have gone on to graduate with the same distinction, including Goler Teal Butcher (J.D. 1957) and Ritu Narula (J.D. 2010).

For Lovell, the achievement of this longtime goal all boiled down to four things: prayer, perseverance, help from mentors and friends, and tons of late nights.

“It's a great accomplishment,” Lovell said. “I sacrificed many hours of sleep and extracurricular activities, but in the end, it worked out for the best.”

A native of Harlem, N.Y., Lovell attended Duke University as a political science major before attending Howard Law. While at the law school, he was vice president of the Class of 2019, a senior staff editor for the Howard Law Journal, Vol. 62, and a student attorney for the Investor Justice and Education Clinic.

In all of his involvement, though, Lovell “kept quiet about it,” said Lisa Crooms-Robinson, Howard Law associate dean of academic affairs.

In years past, Howard Law has seen plenty of students matriculate through its doors who have been incredibly bright and have done quite well – students who everyone automatically knew would rise to the top of the class based on their first-year performance.

“You didn’t know at all with Emerson,” Crooms-Robinson said. ““It seems to me it would be difficult to remain humble and quiet and just do your work. That’s exactly what he did. So, unless you were paying really close attention, it’s like “surprise!” I’m incredibly happy for him. He earned every single point.””

Throughout his law school journey, Lovell said that it was the people and his colleagues who gave him just what he needed to own the top spot in his class.

“My professors challenged me to be great both inside of the classroom and in life,” he said. “My colleagues ignited my competitive nature and cheered me on. The faculty members always provided a listening ear to help soothe my mind when the challenges of the real world felt like too much.”

For those law students looking to accomplish what Lovell has, he recommends praying hard and working harder.

“I would tell others to have a good support group around them,” he said. “The group should be diverse in that it should be colleagues, mentors inside and outside of the field, and family.”

After graduation, Lovell will go on to work at Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP’s New York office.

For Howard Law, Lovell’s academic achievement is beyond significant.

“This is a moment of pride for the entire law school community,” said Danielle Holley-Walker, dean, Howard Law. “Emerson dedicated himself for three years to achieve this goal and his tremendous commitment and talent have paid off. The Howard Law community celebrates this moment with Emerson and his family.”