GW Law’s Cori Alonso-Yoder Wins the Dukeminier Awards Michael Cunningham Prize

May 13, 2024
Cori Alonso-Yoder

GW Law's Associate Professor of Fundamentals of Lawyering Cori Alonso-Yoder won UCLA’s Williams Institute 2022 Dukeminier Awards Michael Cunningham Prize for “Making a Name for Themselves” published in Rutgers Law Review. Alonso-Yoder’s is one of five articles published in the 2022 scholarship Volume 22 to be recognized with a prestigious Dukeminier Award.

Alonso-Yoder writes, “The United States finds itself at a moment of reckoning with the past. Despite historical progress, Black Americans, women, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities continue to face pervasive societal injustices. Social media and popular calls for reform have only amplified these voices. From #TimesUp to #SayTheirNames, communities are joining together to demand legal reforms for generations of systemic abuse.”

This Article tracks how name change law has served as a vehicle for liberation. Women, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals have all turned to the law of name change to assert their individual rights. Today, the common law of name change is still good law but is undermined by a judicial process that reflects systemic biases against oppressed groups. By exploring the law and its history, the Article argues for a name change system that promotes a more robust application of common law while deemphasizing the gatekeeping role played by judges. It also illustrates the case for understand the American law of name change as uniquely progressive legal doctrine in the movement for civil rights and liberation.