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Maura Buri Memorial Excellence in Student Research Prize

Former Law Librarian Maura Buri


Maura Buri Memorial Excellence in Student Research Prize

Presented by the Villanova Law Library


Maura Buri with new microfilm machine, 1980
Maura Buri and Judy Greene with new microfilm machine

Anna Marie “Maura” King Buri was born in Ireland in 1933 and immigrated to the US in 1958.  She started working in the Villanova Law Library shortly after its construction and stayed for 54 years.  She met her husband Bill at Villanova and raised a family in Conshohocken.  In the early years of Villanova Law School, the library was ground zero and the books were the heart of the library. Maura guarded them fiercely.  For many years she was in charge of the “Periodicals Room” that housed and protected current issues of law reviews, and she worked personally with individual students to obtain resources they needed. She made arrangements with the Geiser Family Binding Company of Philadelphia for permanent binding of law review volumes. In 1980 she was the first to try the new microform reader with the complete Legal Resource Index. By then law reviews were available on Westlaw and the print issues were less critical, so Maura moved upstairs to work at the circulation desk where she guarded reserve materials just as fiercely and served students just as well. When she retired in 2013 she was the only person in law school history who had worked with every faculty and staff member since the law school’s inception.  She was also a walking archive of memories about 50 years of law students, including Professor Doris Brogan who was a law student here in Maura’s third decade.  Those who knew her valued her dedication and determination, her Irish manners and memories, and her embrace of diversity at Villanova.  For many it is hard to imagine the Villanova Law Library without her. 

This award is named in honor of Maura Buri to recognize the incredible impact she has had on the Library and the wider Villanova Law School community and to recognize students who carry on her dedication to excellence in legal research. 

Photo of three former library staff members standing in front of library bookcases. From left to right: Regina Kozul, Mary Cornelius, and Maura Buri
From left to right: Regina Kozul, Mary Cornelius, and Maura Buri

To be elgible to win, applicants must:    

  • Be of 2L (JD), 3L (JD), or LLM status at Villanova University Charles Widger School

  • Have written a scholarly research paper in the time period spanning June, 2023 – May, 2024

  • Submit a paper AND a 1-2 page memo describing the research process

  • Provide only one submission per applicant

Acceptable entries:

  • May include papers written for a seminar course or directed research (journal notes and work product generated through externships or employment will not be accepted)

  • Must be a minimum of 10 pages in length

  • Must be written in proper Bluebook format
  • Must be properly footnoted

  • In addition to the research paper, must include a 1-2 page memo (double-spaced) summarizing the research process involved, the lessons learned from that research process, the original purpose for which the paper was written, and the professor for whom the paper was written, if applicable.  

  • Entries must include: author’s name, law school year, degree anticipated, and contact information. Also, include the name of the course or other purpose for which the paper was written and the professor for whom the paper was written, if applicable.

Student Research will be evaluated by a panel of law librarians using the following criteria: 

  • Sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of research materials, including, but not limited to, print resources, electronic search engines and databases, primary and secondary legal resources, interdisciplinary resources, and empirical resources as described in the research description memo

  • Exceptional innovation in research strategy, including the ability to locate, select, and evaluate research materials with discretion as described in the research description memo

  • Skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis as demonstrated in the paper
  • Deadline: Monday, May 6 at noon.

  • Entries should be submitted in Word format via email to Jason Happ:

  • Applicants will receive email confirmation of their submission after receipt of all required materials

  • The winner will be notified in mid-May
  • The winner will receive a monetary prize of $150
  • The winner's name and award year will be added to the Maura Buri Memorial Excellence in Student Research Prize plaque which is featured in the Library Display case

  • The winner's paper will also be featured in the Library Display case

2023 Prize Winner

2023 Prize Winner Alessandra Brainard
Alessandra Brainard

Past Prize Winners

2023 Winner Alessandra Brainard - Not For Your Eyes: The Case for Imposing Civil Liability Against Sextortion

2022 Winner Juliette Mogenson -  The Amorphous Probable Cause Standard

2022 Prize Winner Juliet Mogenson
2022 Prize Winner - Juliet Mogenson