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2 law students to receive Armstrong Award

May 09, 2011

Class of 2011 members Jared Sutton and Melissa Bogden will receive the top honor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the John S. Armstrong Award, at the law school’s convocation on Friday, May 13. The award honors Armstrong, an Arizona legislator who introduced the bill that established Arizona’s first institution of higher learning, the Tempe Normal School (forerunner of ASU). 

Bogden and Sutton were chosen for their excellent academic achievements and their many contributions to the college, said professor Susan Chesler, chair of the awards committee.

“Both Melissa and Jared have been very successful members of the Arizona State Law Journal’s Executive Board, have been involved with many student organizations and have participated in numerous judicial externships, thus serving the law school and the larger legal community well during the past three years,” she said.

Before coming to the law school, Sutton, a New Mexico native, worked for nearly four years at the Department of the Army as a contracting clerk, awarding and administering government contracts. But when he decided to attend law school, he and his wife, Adriana, packed up and moved to Phoenix. 

Sutton graduated from New Mexico State University with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in Government and Criminal Justice, and has continued his high academic record at the College of Law. He has consistently been among the top students in his classes.

He received an ASU merit-based scholarship, and has been named both a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar and a Rebecca and Michael Berch Scholar.

Sutton also has been involved in a range of academic and professional activities. He was a research assistant for three College of Law professors, did an externship with Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, argued before the Arizona Court of Appeals as part of Civil Justice Clinic, and served as Executive Managing Editor and a staff writer for the Arizona State Law Journal.

Sutton also was a member of the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team, which took fifth place at the International Competition in Washington, D.C.

Still, Sutton, who will be the first in his family to complete a four-year degree and graduate school, said receiving the prestigious Armstrong Award is the pinnacle of his legal education.

“My law school career has been rewarding and, thankfully, a bit successful, but I never could have imagined it would lead me here,” Sutton said. “Being named a co-recipient of the John S. Armstrong Award has been the single greatest honor of my law school career. The award carries such a rich tradition of distinguished recipients that I can’t believe my name will now be added to that list.”

And although the award is typically given to one student per year, Sutton said he couldn’t be happier to share the award with Bogden.

“I’m humbled by even being considered for the award, and because I have the opportunity to share it with one of the smartest and kindest people I know, Melissa Bogden.”

Sutton cited the support and encouragement he’s received during the past three years as instrumental to his success. 

“In the end, I can’t honestly take full credit for making it to this point. I owe an extreme debt of gratitude to my wife, my family, the law school and my classmates for their constant support throughout this process.”

Following graduation, Sutton will clerk for Chief Justice Berch and then work as an associate with Lewis and Roca LLP, a Phoenix law firm.

Bogden, an Arizona native, graduated summa cum laude in 2006 from Arizona State University with a degree in History and Political Science. Prior to attending law school, Bogden worked in the financial-sales industry.

During her law school career, Bogden has been heavily involved in various moot court competitions. She took first place in the Internal Oral Advocacy competition and won the ninth place Best Advocate Award at the 2010 San Francisco Regional National Appellate Advocacy Competition. She also competed as a brief writer in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition’s Seattle Regional round.

Participating in moot court was an essential component in overall legal education, and her participation in moot court made her reevaluate her career path, Bogden said.

“I hope to come back next year as a coach for a traveling moot court team and encourage more students to experience the benefits of moot court,” she said.

Bogden has also written numerous articles and served as the Arizona State Law Journal’s Executive Articles Editor. This year, her article, “Fixing Fixation: the Ram Copy Doctrine,” took first place at the ASU Nathan Burkan Memorial ASCAP Writing Competition. It will be published in the spring edition of the Law Journal.

However, she said that some of her most rewarding work during her law school career was working with pro bono groups, including Wills for Heroes, the La Mesita Family Shelter and the Youth Mentoring Board Moot Court Competition. 

Receiving the Armstrong Award is a special honor, Bogden said

“It is a honor to be a recipient of the John S. Armstrong Award and I hope to live up to the values of integrity, excellence, and dedication embodied by this award in private practice,” Bogden said. "This award symbolizes the real award that each and every member of the graduating class of 2011 gets to take home: the tremendous sense of achievement in a job well done."

Bogden will clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then will begin her career in private practice at Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander, P.A.

Written by Staci McCabe

Media contacts:
Janie Magruder, 480-727-9052
Judy Nichols, 480-727-7895