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BC Law's Samantha Miko Wins 2014 Deak Award

David Wirth, Samantha Miko, Cynthia Lichtenstein
BC Law Professor David Wirth and Professor Emerita Cynthia Lichtenstein with 2014 Deak Award Winner Samantha Miko

NEWTON, Mass. (May 2014) — Boston College Law School alumna Samantha Miko J.D. '13 has won the prestigious Deak Award from Oxford University Press for her student note Norm Conflict, Fragmentation, and the European Court of Human Rights, 54 B.C.L. Rev. 1351 (2013), published in the Boston College Law Review. This is the second consecutive year that a BC Law student has won the award and the third time since 2000.

“Our success with the Deak Prize reflects well on the intellectual curiosity of our students and the nature of the relationships they share with professors,” said Law Professor Frank Garcia, associate dean for global initiatives. “Our professors are active scholars who take students seriously as thinkers and reformers. Professors also work closely with students, nurture their writing, and encourage them to tackle real projects and questions and not just narrow, safe technical issues.”

The daughter of a Polish immigrant, Miko said her family background and undergraduate studies in international relations planted the seed for her interest in international law, but her courses at BC Law cultivated that interest and allowed it to grow. Miko said her first-year elective course in international law taught by Professor David Wirth motivated her to pursue admission onto the International & Comparative Law Review.

Wirth, who attended the awards ceremony along with Professor Emerita Cynthia Lichtenstein, was happy to have the chance to watch Miko accept in person. “I am immensely proud of Sam,” he said. “Her note addresses the increasingly frequent problem of gear-grinding between potentially divergent bodies of international law, in this case multilateral security and individual human rights. Her work has the intellectual courage to take on the question directly, and makes a meaningful contribution to the scholarly debate on a highly sophisticated level of professional accomplishment. This is one of the great honors in the field for a young scholar, and it is richly deserved. She is a very bright young woman and a wonderful person.”

Miko also credited the seminar "Philosophy of Law: The Past and Future of the State," jointly taught by Associate Professor Vlad Perju and Assistant Professor Paulo Barrozo "forced her to think critically about our notions of statehood, global governance” and the structure of the international system. “Taking that class in the fall of my 2L year influenced me to consider the topic of fragmentation in the international system for my note,” she said.

Now an associate at K&L Gates, Miko gravitated toward global law firms because she “really enjoys being part of a global platform where lawyers interact with their counterparts in other countries regularly.”

The Deak Award is a prize bestowed by Oxford University Press for the best international-law student article in a student-edited law journal. The award honors Francis Deak, a WWII veteran who wrote extensively on international law. The award is the student equivalent of the prize separately awarded by the American Journal of International Law for the best article in the journal.

Miko is the third BC Law student to receive the Deak Award since the year 2000. Ron Kendler ’12 won the last year with his note “Delayed Fight: The World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Mechanism, Negotiation, and the Transatlantic Conflict over Commercial Aircraft,” published in the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review. BC Law's first winner, Jessica Spiegel '01, won for her note “Will the Great Banana War Ever End: Will the Tariff Only System Be the Solution?” which was also published in the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review.