Home Law School News Drake grad wins President of the Year Award for Drake Student Bar Association

Drake grad wins President of the Year Award for Drake Student Bar Association

News Photo
Sean Bagniewski and Iowa Gov. Chet Culver celebrate the signing of two bills lobbied by students through the Legislative Practice Center.

Recent Drake University Law School graduate Sean Bagniewski has won the 2008 Student Bar Association President of the Year Award from the American Bar Association/Law Student Division. The award was announced at the ABA annual meeting this summer in New York City.

Bagniewski, who served as 2007-08 Drake SBA president, received the award for creating a better environment for law students and a more positive image of the legal profession.

“We have an outstanding SBA and Sean provided exceptional leadership that I’m confident was the best in the nation,” said Law School Dean Benjamin B. Ullem. “Last year, the SBA was selected as the best in the nation. This latest award is another example of what great students Drake has.”

“Sean Bagniewski is the perfect person to receive this award,” said David Walker, who served as dean until June 1. “He accomplished a great deal for the student body and the school. It was a pleasure working with him and the SBA to address issues and opportunities as they arose.”

Bagniewski, a Des Moines native, graduated from Drake Law School in May with certificates for Legislative Practice and Constitutional Law and Civil Rights. A 2002 graduate of Roosevelt High School, Bagniewski holds a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University.

As part of his work with the Law School’s Legislative Practice Center, Bagniewski lobbied the Iowa General Assembly on behalf of bills expanding children’s rights in collaboration with the school’s Middleton Center for Children’s Rights.

Former SBA Vice President Kendra Boatright and current SBA President Amos Hill nominated Bagniewski for the national award.

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive this prestigious award and I’m even more grateful that it can bring recognition to the work of the Drake SBA this year,” Bagniewski said, “On issue after issue, we saw students come together and pour weeks and even months worth of time into new policies to better the entire law school.”

While serving as SBA president, Bagniewski successfully met ambitious goals and in his major accomplishments he:

  • Initiated a fundraiser and established the Cyrus A. Sinclair Memorial Study Room for a third-year law student who died from sickle cell anemia
  • Reorganized funds to allocate $20,000 to SBA’s operating budget, which allowed more than 50 law students to travel to conferences in the United States and Puerto Rico
  • Co-sponsored the annual Halloween Hoops event, which provides a safe place for local children to trick or treat (nearly 330 inner-city children attended the event at Drake’s Bell Center)
  • Raised money to provide holiday gifts for a low-income family being represented by a student attorney through the Middleton Center for Children’s Rights
  • Researched, proposed and developed a flexible examination schedule for students that was implemented last spring
  • Developed a separate American Bar Association Law Student Division at Drake for ABA members

Bagniewski also clerked for former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and the Polk County Attorney’s Office while at Drake.

In addition, he received two awards last spring: the Martin Tollefson Award for best exemplifying civility and professionalism in his dealings with fellow students and the Timothy N. Carlucci Award for his leadership and contributions to the school.