Vail Cloar honored as John S. Armstrong award recipient

Monday, June 9, 2014


Vail Choji Cloar, along with classmate Timothy Nathaniel Forsman, was awarded the John S. Armstrong Award, the College of Law's top honor. This award was established by the Armstrong family to honor the Arizona legislator who introduced the bill that established Arizona's first institution of higher learning, the Tempe Normal School (forerunner of ASU). The award is given by the law faculty to a student whose strong academic performance best mirrors the law school’s excellence and values. However, receiving the Armstrong Award is more than just an honor for achievement in law school -- it forever links that student to one of the greatest traditions of this state. Its presentation by J. Samuel Armstrong IV, who continues in the family legacy of supporting this great institution, makes the award even more meaningful.

This year's award winners exemplify what an outstanding law student should be. Vail graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history from ASU. Throughout law school, Vail was a standout among a class of exceptional students. He received the Dean’s Recruitment Award and was named a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar, in addition to receiving CALI awards for achieving the highest grade in family law, private property rights, professional responsibility, legal advocacy, torts, and contracts.  He served as Managing Editor for the Arizona State Law Journal, and his article, “Safely Subsidized: Derivative and Repo Financing Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code,” was published in the 2013 edition of the Arizona State Law Journal.  

In addition to his academic honors and achievements, Vail made a substantial impact on classmates and faculty alike. Professor Judy Stinson remembers Vail Cloar as a stand out for his commitment to fellow students. "He worked tirelessly as a tutor in the Academic Success Program with a genuine care and concern for each student’s individual success," she recalls.

His success and commitment to the betterment of others continued outside the classroom. Vail served as a judicial extern with the Maricopa County Superior Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona, and also participated in many pro bono activities, leading to his earning Pro Bono Distinction at graduation.   

After graduation, Vail will start what is sure to be a distinguished career as a clerk for the Honorable Robert M. Brutinel of the Arizona Supreme Court. Following his judicial clerkship, Vail will begin a career in private practice as an associate attorney at the Phoenix Office of Dickinson Wright, PLLC.

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