Howard University School of Law alumna Nairuby Beckles '16, was awarded the White & Case LLP Award for Best Published Student Note or Comment in the Howard Law Journal for 2016. Her Comment, "The Criminal 'DNA' Footprint: Viewing the Mark of Criminal Records through the Legal Lens of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act," was published in Volume 59, Issue 2 of The Journal.
Charles Moore, Of Counsel at White & Case and a 1998 alumnus, presented the plaque and monetary award to Ms. Beckles at the 2017 Judicial Reception held at the law school on April 5. White & Case LLP has sponsored the legal writing award since 2004.
Beckles' winning Comment also qualified for entry to the Burton Foundation Award for Distinguished Legal Writing (Students). She was one of ten recipients to win the coveted award. Beckles will be recognized at the Burton Foundation awards ceremony in May.
“We are proud of the excellent work of our alumna Nairuby Beckles,” said Danielle Holley-Walker, dean of the law school.
Beckles said she chose her Comment topic because she “wanted to write something that translated the plight of criminal justice reform efforts so that people could relate and look at the issue in a different but familiar way.” Beckles has a bachelor’s degree in bio-medicalengineering and studied science and engineering in one of New York City’s most elite public high schools—Brooklyn Tech. Prior to law school, she earned her master’s degree in public administration and worked in the federal government for over ten years. She said that herbackground in science and her professional experience in human resources “inspired” her.
During a summer legal internship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Beckles’ eyes were opened to an injustice she never knew existed. With the encouragement of mentors and advisors, Beckles responded by channeling her thoughts into action and set out to build a bridge toward better understanding. Beckles’ Comment compares, in an employment discrimination context, how the law protects genetic information and how the law protects an individual’s criminal records. Criminal records, she avers, “act in the same way as DNA for those individuals affected by the collateral consequences of interactions with the criminal justice system.” Her Commentincludes an extensive discussion of Title VII and an individual’s right to bring claim. The Comment can be read in full at http://law.howard.edu/sites/default/files/related-downloads/how_59_2.pdf.
At Howard, Beckles was a member of the Howard Law Journal from 2014 to 2016 and served as Senior Solicitations Editor. She was also a student attorney with the Civil Rights Clinic and research assistant to Associate Professor Valerie Schneider. Beckles also served the Howard law community as Chief-of-Staff of the Student Bar Association and was on the executive board of Epsilon Sigma Iota legal sorority. Ms. Beckles is currently a federal judicial law clerk and resides in Ohio.
By Jacqueline Young
Director, Office of Publications and Communications