This year, the Torty Awards, featuring a red carpet as well as yellow hazard tape — the tape serves as a warning of (faux) hazards in order to satisfy a tort duty and avoid potential tort claims — showcased student films on climate change. The event gives students in Professor Jon Hanson’s 1L torts class, plus faculty and some family members, the opportunity to come together to celebrate and watch the five Torty-winning Tort Reports.
Film topics included climate impacts in coal mining communities, fast fashion, challenges of electric vehicles, and big law and climate change.
“The Tortys were a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand how storytelling mechanisms function both to critique the law and to use the law as an advocacy tool,” said Edith Amoafoa-Smart ’25. “The stories we told in our documentaries highlighted different angles of the climate change problem in such fascinating and insightful ways. Hands down the best experience of law school so far.”
In addition to acknowledging the students’ work, the evening event was also a chance for students to display their musical, dance, and other athletic talents.
Léa Nicolas ’25 — whose group interviewed the ambassador to the U.N. for Vanuatu, which is currently building a coalition of States to seek an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change from the International Court of Justice, for their documentary — said The Tortys was easily the best event of 1L fall. “I loved watching, and being part of, the ‘talent’ acts in between the award categories,” she said. “My classmates impress me both in and out of the classroom.”
‘The Tortys were absolutely fantastic’
There was so much hype leading up to the Tortys, said Arzu Singh ’25, that she didn’t think the event could possibly live up to expectations. But it did. “The event is a peculiar blend of an awards ceremony, talent show, dance party, and community celebration,” she said. “It encapsulates everything that Jon Hanson seeks Section 6 to be: a place where students look critically at systemic issues plaguing society in order to disrupt traditional narratives of blame and responsibility — but also a place where students find joy, levity, and community.”
Torty-winning Tort Reports
Grand Torty: An Act of God