Butterworth Annual Prize

Butterworth Annual Prize for SCALE Student with Highest First-Year GPA

In 2017, Southwestern announced the establishment of the Guerin L. Butterworth Endowed Prize Fund for the First-Year Law Student in its Two-Year Accelerated J.D. Program (SCALE) with the highest grade point average.  Sterling Franklin, a trustee of Morris S. Smith Foundation and longtime friend of Guerin Butterworth, established the Fund with a $15,000 gift.  Mr. Franklin was a personal friend of Morris S. Smith (1910-1993) and has been a Trustee of the Morris S. Smith Foundation, which was established in 1993.  Mr. Smith graduated from Southwestern (then Southwestern University) in 1933 with an LL.B.

Butterworth Prize Recipients

  1. 2020 - 2021

    Alex Welfringer

    Image - Alex Welfringer

    Alex came to Southwestern after earning her B.A. in Business Administration and M.B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University. She was drawn to the rigorous two-year SCALE Program because of the opportunity for hands on learning at an expedited pace. At Southwestern, Alex is heavily involved.  She serves as a Law Review Staff Member, the Academics Chair and a Senior Advocate for the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP), a member of the Ninth Circuit Appellate Litigation Clinic, a Dean’s Fellow, a Teaching Assistant to Dean Rolnick, Professor Gunning, Professor VanLandingham, and Professor Aronovsky, and a student leader for the Small Claims Court Clinic. She was an extern with the US Attorney’s Office Criminal Division for the Central District of California and will be a summer associate at Holland & Knight’s Downtown LA Office.  Alex is interested in pursuing a career in litigation. Beyond law school, Alex loves spending time with her two-year old daughter and her husband.


  2. 2019-2020

    Stephanie Zirulnikoff

    Image - Stephanie Zirulnikoff


    Stephanie is a first-generation college student. She received a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from the University of Florida. She moved cross-country from Miami, Florida especially for the SCALE program because of the challenge it offered in completing her J.D. in two years. Stephanie was an Oralist for the Moot Court Honors Program and a Staffer for Southwestern Law Review. She's interested in pursuing a career in entertainment law.


  3. 2018-2019

    Bret Golden

    Image - Bret Golden Butterworth Award 2019

    Bret Golden came to Southwestern Law School in 2018 after completing his undergraduate degree in less than three years at UCLA. SCALE’s rigorous 2-year program enticed him with the opportunity to take an intensive and expedited path to a career in law.  He participated in Southwestern’s London Summer Program in Entertainment Law and was named a Biederman Scholar. With his J.D., he hopes to pursue a career in entertainment to lessen the burden of legal hurdles on creative individuals. 

    His interests include sports since he was nine-days-old at his first UCLA football game, video games which he has always enjoyed with friends, and making ridiculous eye-roll-inducing law jokes while studying.

  4. 2017-2018

    Carina Miller '19

    L-R: Sterling Franklin, Guerin Butterworth, Jonathan Miller, Carina Miller, Dean Susan Prager, Harriet Rolnick (SCALE Dean)

    Ms. Miller holds a Ph.D. in Government with an International Relations specialty from Georgetown and remains interested in law and policy. Before attending Southwestern, Ms. Miller taught classes on human rights, Latin American Politics, and international law at Occidental College.  Ms. Miller especially enjoys SCALE's rigorous programming and small collaborative environment. 


  5. 2016-2017

    Michael Alfera ’18

    Image - Butterworth Award 2017 Alfera

    Mr. Alfera is a classical pianist, composer, and conductor and worked as a freelance musician for nearly a decade before coming to law school.  In 2014, he founded the L.A. Choral Lab (a performing arts nonprofit dedicated to performing and promoting new choral works by living/local composers).  He was an outstanding doctrinal student, Biederman Scholar,  and earned accolades for his intramural appellate advocacy skills as a writer (finalist) and as an oralist (honorable mention) in the Moot Court Honors Program.  Mr. Alfera plans to use his J.D. by counseling and representing musicians,  art nonprofits, and entrepreneurs.


  6. 2015-2016

    Maralle Messrelian ’17 magna cum laude

    Image - Butterworth Award 2017 Alfera

    Ms. Messrelian received a B.S. in Accountancy, cum laude, from California State University, Northridge. After several years of practicing accounting, she decided to pursue her passion for law.  Ms. Messrelian embraced the challenge of completing her J.D. in two-years and excelled academically and personally in SCALE's immersive program.