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2016–2017 Writing Competitions

Arranged chronologically by entry deadline. Additional information about these competitions and awards may be found in a binder located in the Office of Student Life, 316 Hutchins Hall, contact Trudy Feldkamp.


The LSAC is committee to fostering diversity in law schools and the legal profession.For decades, studies consistently have shown that students of color, students living with a disability, and LGBTQ students are underrepresented in most law schools.  As a consequence, smaller percentages of persons who represent these groups are graduating from law school and entering the legal profession.  This writing competition is designed to reinvigorate the dialogew about the recruitment nad retention strategies that law schools should deploy to yield a more diverse class of graduates who will enter the legal profession.
ELIGIBILITY:  Current JD candidates who are in good standing at LSAC-member law schools.
TOPIC:  Why Pipeline Programs Targeting Students from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds Are Essential to the Future of the Legal Profession
FORMAT:  Papers may be up to 20 pages (5,000 words or less), 8.5 x 11 inch paper, double spaced, 1-inch margins, Word format, 12-point font with endnotes written in "A Uniform System of Citation" (The Blue Book) format.
EVALUATION CRITERIA: Essays will be judged according to: (1) Research and use of relevant sources and authorities (cases; law review articles; other secondary sources, including, but not limited to, books, newspapers, and magazines; and empirical and sociological studies); (2) Quality and clarity of legal analysis, persuation, and writing; (3) Understanding, interpretations, and conclusions regarding diversiity and the implications of diversity in this context; (4) Full compliance with all competition procedures.  A panel of law school faculty, legal writing instructors, and LSAC diversity committee members will evaluate each submission adn select the winning papers.  If no paper meets the standards set forth in this announcement, the panel may decide either not to issue an award or publish a paper.  The panel's decision will be final.
AWARDS:  One winning paper will be selected from each of the three (3) qualitying categories of eligible students (1L, 2L, 3L/4L).  Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize adn the winning essays will be posted at  In addition, one winning paper will be submitted for publication in the Journal of Legal Education or similar publication.
DEADLINE:  All papers must be sent no later than 5:00 PM EST on Friday, March 31,2017.  No extensions will be granted under any circumstances.  Papers submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for an award.  All submissions become the property of LSAC, and LSAC will retain the copyright of any winning papers selected for publication.  Include a cover page with your submission.  The cover should only contain the author's name, title of the paper, mailing address, law school affiliation, law school status (1L, 2L, 3L/4L), a telephone number where the author may easily be reached, and an email address.  To allow anonymous evaluations, please do not put your name on the actual paper. The title on the paper must precisely match the title on the cover page that contains the identifying information described above.  Email entries to  Only electronic files (PDF or Word) will be accepted.

Please send your inquiries to the LSAC Diversity Initiatives Office -


Each year, the American Bar Association Section of Family Law conducts an essay contest to encourage law students to think about current issues in family law, and to encourage participation in the Section of Family Law.  Students may write on any aspect of family law. ELIGIBILITY:  Open to second and third-year full-time J.D. students of all ABA-approved law schools. 
PRIZES:  Monetary prize, certificate of recognition, consideration of essay's publication in Family Law Quarterly and the Section website, letter to law school dean regarding the achievement, and one year complimentary membership to the Section.
DEADLINE:  Entry form by April 14, 2017.  Essays are due April 28, 2017.

More information, including the downloadable entry form, can be found on the website


This competition is sponsored by R. Ben Hogan III of Hogan Law Office, PC, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Gerson H. Smoger of Smoger & Associates, in Dallas, Texas, and Oakland, California.  The competition is adminstered by Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization.
TOPIC:  What Does the Trump Presidency Mean for Access to Justice?
PRIZES:  $5,000 for the best essay.  Top three essays awarded a complimentary one-year Public Citizen membership
DEADLINE:  Essays must be submitted by email no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 28, 2017, to Amanda Fleming at

For more information, including specific issues essays may cover, please visit the website or call Amanda Fleming at 202-588-7734.


The Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics writing competition is sponsored by the Notre Dame Law School.  Any current student an American or Canadian law school may submit an essay on any legal ethics topic.  The essays that are submitted to the competition will be judged on their clarity, coherence, creativity, insight, and mastery of the rules and cases relevant to the topic of the essay in question.
PRIZE:  One winning entry author will receive $2,500.
DEADLINE:  Friday, April 28, 2017

Additional information and submission guidelines can be found at the competition website.
Questions and other inquiries should be directed to the Notre Dame Law School at (574) 631-6749.


NAWL established the annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law.
TOPIC:  An issue concerning women's rights or the status of women in the law.
ELIGIBILITY:  Essays will be accepted from students enrolled at any law school during the 2016-17 school year.  The essays must be the law student author's own work and must not have been submitted to publication elsewhere.  Papers written by students for coursework or independent study during the summer, fall, or spring semesters are eligible for submission.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, students may inicorporate professorial feedback as part of a course requirement or supervised writing project.
FORMAT:  Essays must be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font.  All margins must be one inch.  Entries must not exceed 15 pages of text, excluding notes, with footnotes placed as endnotes.  Citation style should conform to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.  Essays longer than 15 pages of text, excluding notes, or that are not in the required format will not be read.
SUBMISSION and DEADLINE:  Entries must be received by May 1, 2017.  Entries received after the deadline will not be considered.  Entries must provide a cover letter providing the author's name, title of the essay, school affiliation, email address, phone number, and permanent mailing address.  Entries must be sumitted via email in an electronic version (in Microsoft Word) to  
AWARDS:  The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500.  NAWL will also publish the winning essay in the Women Lawyers Journal.


Entries must be submitted in the English language on a subject of practical concern to lawyers engaged in the defense or management of the defense of civil litigation, such as relevant aspects of tort law, insurance law, civil procedure, evidence, damages, alternative dispute resolution procedures, and professional ethics.
ELIGIBILITY:  The Contest is open to students who, at the time of submission of their entries, are enrolled as J.D. candidates in accredited law schools.
JUDGING STANDARDS:  Articles will be judged on the following factors:  (1) the choice of subject matter, as measured by its significance, international or national relevance, and timeliness; (2) the amount of work and effort, as measured by the entry's comprehensiveness and analysis: (3) the quality of the legal analysis, as measured by its objectivity and balance; and (4) the writing quality, as measured by clarity of expression, brevity, and leterary construction.  Entrants also should consider the points made in the contest guidelines.
AWARDS:  Monetary awards will be made as follows: US$2,000 to first place, US$1,000 to second place, and US$500 to third place.  Honorary mentions receive no monetary awards.
DEADLINE:  Entries must be received on or before Friday, May 19, 2017.
DIRECTIONS FOR TRANSMISSION:  Entries, together with teh completed entry form, must be sent to the International Association of Defense Counsel, via electronic mail to Malisa Maisel Vanis at

Contest rules, writing guidelines, entry form and other information can be found at the website

The COFECE is committed to fulfilling its mission of guaranteeing free market entry and competition in the Mexican economy.  COFECE acknowledges that many areas of scientific inquiry provide important insights into how markets work, and may therefore contriute to improving the implementation of competition policy in our country.
There is one category for this award: "Academic research related to the working of markets".  The purpose of the award is to encourage researchers and postgraduate students to approach this topic.  The theses studied may be addressed from a diversity of perspectives including, but not limited to, those of economics, law and political science.  Researchers of all nationalities are welcome to participate.  All registered work, however, must be written in Spanish.
Prospective participants may register their work until May 28th, 2017.  The prizes for the first and second places are $200,000 Mexican Pesos (approx. $10,000 USD) and $70,000 Mexican Pesos (approx. $3,700 USD).  In addition, the jury (comprised of representatives from prestigious Mexican academic and publc institutions) is entitled to award as many as three Honourable Mentions.  The call for submissions (in Spanish only) is available at:

Any questions need to be directed to the competition organizers listed on the website.
DEADLINE:  May 28, 2017


CABA is proud to announce the 2017 edition of its annual student essay competition.  This competition is an integral part of CABA's mission to provide a voice to Canadians in the United States and Americans in Canada and to foster a greater understanding of rules with cross-border implications as well as an engagement in their development.
TOPIC:  Since the North Agreement Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), a regional agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico to implement a free trade area, entered into force on January 1, 1994, the two-way trade between Canada and the United States has more than tripled, reaching some $2.4 billion in goods and services daily over the course of 2015.[1]  Canada is now the top export destination for 35 American states, while the United States is the most important destination for Canada’s direct investments abroad.[2]
Despite this increasing level of economic interdependency and trade, during his campaign for the American presidential election, Donald Trump qualified NAFTA as the “worst deal ever made” and vowed to withdraw from the agreement if he cannot achieve a satisfactory renegotiation of the treaty.[3]  In the days following the election, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that he was “happy to talk” about renegotiating NAFTA.[4]  A memo from Mr. Trump’s transition team obtained by the media indicates that the next American president intends to follow through on the renegotiation of NAFTA, and more particularly with regards to Canada, intends to target the rules currently regulating livestock and softwood lumber.[5]
Since it is likely that renegotiation over NAFTA will commence in 2016, we invite students to write essays identifying one issue which in their opinions should be part of the renegotiation of the agreement between Canada and the United States.  The essays should explain why the issue is in need of renegotiation, how it affects both countries, and how a renegotiated agreement should address the issue and why.

ELIGIBILITY:  Any student registered in a Canadian or American law school for the Winter and/or Spring semesters of 2017 (whether in the J.D., LL.B., B.C.L. or equivalent first degree program, or in the LL.M. program).  However, students completing doctoral or postdoctoral studies are not admissible.

In addition, based on this year's essay these, students registered in undergraduate or master's degree programs which have a mandatory inernationsl law component are also admissible.

RULES:  The essays should be drafted in English or French, submitted in both Word and PDF formats, and have no more than 3500 words, including the title and footnotes.  It shuld be submitted no later than May 31, 2017 via email at  In the cover email, the student should include the following information: (a) full name; (b) city of origin; (c) school; (d) program; (e) year level; (f) address; and (g) phone number.

The winner of the essay will be announced on or before July 31, 2017 [6].

AWARDS:  $500 USD from sponsor Dorsey & Whitney LLP and publication of the winning essay on CABA's website. [7]

[1] Government of Canada, "Canada and the United States," accessible online at (last accessed on November 20, 2016).

[2] Id.
[3] Stephen Gandel, "Donald Trump Says NAFTA Was the Worst Trade Deal the U.S. Ever Signed", September 27, 2016, accessible online at (last accessed on November 20, 2016).

[4] Jesse Winter, "Trudeau happy to talk about NAFTA with Trump", November 10, 2016, accessible online at (last accessed on November 20, 2106).
[5] Steven Chase, "Trump team flags Canadian livestock and lumber as targets in NAFTA reset", November 16, 2015, accessible online at (last accessed on November 20, 2016).

[6] CABA hereby reserves its right not to nominate a winning essay should the quality of the submissions fall below reasonable standards applicable to academic research and drafting.

[7] At its discretion, CABA may also organize an event during the Fall of 2017 on a theme related to the winning essay.


The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is an IRC Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to elevating the standards and advancing the public's understanding of the practice of employee benefits law.  In pursuit of this goal, the College encourages the study and development of employee benefits laws, initiates professional discussions of significant employee benefits issues and sponsors an extensive list of Continuing Legal Education programs.

ELIGIBILITY/TOPICS:  Except as provided in (6) below, applicants must be enrolled full-time or part-time in law school between August 15, 2016 and August 15, 2017 and seeking a J.D. or a graduate law degree (e.g., L.L.M. or S.J.D.).  Papers must deal with employee benefits topics.  As an illustrative example, a paper might address legal issues involving health benefits, pensions, 401(k) plans, severance, executive compensation, claims, appeals, current or former spouses' or domestic partners' benefits, collectively-bargained benefits, benefits in bankruptcy, ERISA litigation, fiduciary obligations or the tax treatment of benefits/contributions.
(a) Papers should not exceed 40 pages (double-spaced, 12 point type, with an inch margin on each side), not including footnotes.
(b) Papers must be submitted as email attachments to and should be submitted as Word or pdf documents.  No information identifying the author or law school should be included in the text, the footnotes, or the filename.  That information, an address, a telephone number and enrollment status information should be provided in the email message.
(c) Submissions may include papers prepared for class assignments, law journals or other purposes, as well as those written especially for the Prize.
(d) Student papers submitted for publication in law reviews or other law school journals or periodicals but not yet published are eligible for the Prize, provided that (i) the version submitted for the Prize does not reflect any changes made to the paper after submission of the manuscript to any publication adn (ii) the College receives any consents necessary to publish or republish the article.

SELECTION OF WINNERS:  Winning papers will be selected by the Writing Prize Committee based on the factors they deem relevant.  Among other factors, the Committee will consider: (i) depth and creativity of legal analysis; (ii) thoroughness of legal research; (iii) organization and sriting style; (iv) difficulty of subject matter; and (v) consideration of employee benefits policy implications.  A focused, in depth analysis of a discrete topic generally is considered more favorably than a broad survey piece.  Presentation (e.g., organization, prrofreading, proper grammar, etc.) also carries substantial weight.  The Committee may decline to consider a poorly organized paper or one laden with grammatical errors for those reasons alone.  The determination of the Committee is final.  It is anticipated that winners will be notified by July 21, 2017, or shortly thereafter. 
PRIZES:  There are cash prizes for the two winning papers.  However, the College may, in its discretion, decide to split prizes, to award additional prizes or to award fewer than two prizes.  Winner will be guests of the College during its annual black tie dinner to be held on October 16, 2017 in San Francisco, CA.  The College covers the travel and lodging expenses for the prize recipients.  The College will use its best effors to arrange for publication of the winning papers in a professional or scholarly publication, if deemed suitable by the Writing Prize Committee and the publication's editors.  In addition, the winning paper will be posted on the College's website.  

DEADLINE:  Papers must be submitted as email attachments to and must be received no later than Midnight, Eastern Time, on June 1, 2017.

DISCLAIMER:  The College disclaims responsibility for any failure to give due consideration to any submission due to any email or other electronic transmission, storage or archival errors, regardless of the cause.  However, the Committee may waive the eligibility requirements applicable to any student whose submitted paper was not afforded due consideration on account of such an error in a prior year's contest.

Questions regarding the Competition should be directed to Brian Dougherty, Chair of the ACEBC Writing Prize Committee at



This competition is open to articles written while the author is a student at an accredited law school in the United States.  Authors may not have graduated from law school prior to December 1, 2016.  Graduate students in law school (LLM candidates) are not eligible.  TOPIC:  Entries should address aspects of public or private sector labor and/or employment law relevant to the American labor and employment bar.  Students are encouraged to discuss a public policy issue, practical implications of a leading case or doctrine, a statute or the need for statutory modification, or a common law doctrine.  Articles may address U.S. law, international law of relevance to U.S. labor and empllyment attorneys, or how a legal topic is treated in states across the country.  Papers limited to the law of a single state will not be considered.  Papers must be analytical in nature, not merely a summary of the law.  Students must present and discuss competing points of view with respect to the issue addressed and must distinguish their conclusions from opposing positions with sound logic and reference to multiple primary and secondary sources.  We discourage students from writing articles about a recent Supreme Court decision or a case pending before the Supreme Court unless the article focuses upon case law or statutory develpments subsequent to the Supreme Court's decision. 
DEADLINE:  June 15, 2017
PRIZES:  First place $3,000, article published in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law and will be a guest at the annual CLE program of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and honored at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; second place $1000; third place $500

Please visit the competition website for more information, including judging guidelines and paper requirements. 


This Competition is sponsored by Criminal Justice ("Section") of the American Bar Association ("ABA") (the "Sponsor").  The goal of the Competition is to encourage law studetns to become involved in the Section.  It is also intended to attract students to the Criminal Justice practive filed, and to encourage scholarship in this field.  Each entrant must follow the rules of the competition found on the website.  
ELIGIBILITY:  The contest is open to students who, on the date the entry is submitted, attend and are in good standing at an ABA-accredited law school within the United States and its possessions.  
TOPIC:  What technology is next? (see complete topic description on website, link above)
PRIZE:  Winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize (additional details on the website)
DEADLINE:  All entries must be received by the editor no later than July 1, 2017, 11:59 pm CST.  Faxed entries will not be accepted.  Entries to be sent to Erin Remotigue, Editor, Criminal Justice Magazine, American Bar Association, via electronic submission by e-mail to

All questions are to be sent to Erin Remotigue via e-mail or phone 312-988-6089.


This is a writing competition designed to promote scholarship in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence.  The American Inns of Court invites judges, lawyers, professors, students, scholars, adn other authors to participate in the competition.  The paper must be an original, unpublished, essay of 10,000 to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice addressing issues of legal excellence, civility, ethics, and professionalism.
PRIZE:  Cash prize of $5,000 and published in the South Carolina Law Review.
PROCEDURES:  See the website
DEADLINE:  July 1, 2017

For more information, please contact Cindy Dennis,


Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate.  Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules (viewable at 
Eligibility, topics, paper requirements, and selection criteria can also be found on the website listed above.
AWARDS:  Cash prizes will be awarded for the winning paper ($5,000), first runner-up ($2,500) and second runner-up ($1,500).  Appropriate recognition will also be given to the faculty sponsors of winning papers.  The Foundation may, in its discretion, decide to split prizes or award additional prizes.  Provided that the first-prize paper has not been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, the Foundation has arranged for the publication of such paper in The Florida Tax Review (subject to the normal review and editorial processes of that journal).  
DEADLINE:  All papers submitted for the Competition must be received by the Foundation by no later than 9:00 p.m. EDT, July 5, 2017.  The original of each paper (but no additional copies), along with the signed faculty sponsor communication, should be mailed or hand-delivered to the following address:
The Tannenwald Foundation
700 Sixth Street, NW, Ste. 700
Washington, D.C. 20001
Attn:  Sandie Kiedrowski
In addition, each paper and faculty sponsor communication should be transmitted electronically, in MS Word or PDF, to Ms. Kiedrowskit at:
Additional summital information can be found at the website.

Any inquiries regarding the competition should be directed to Nancy Abramowitz, at (202) 274 4164 (


The Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation is pleased to announce the twenty-fourch annual Brown Award.  The Award is in recognition of Excellence in Legal Writing in American Law Schools.  Any law student currently enrolled in an accredited law school in the Unbited States seeking a J.D. or LL.B degree is eligible to submit a paper for the Award.  
AWARDS: First Place, $10,000; Second Place, $5,000; Third Place, $3,000; Finalist (2), $1,000; and, $5,000 to the Scholarship Fund selected by the Dean of the law school in which the First Place candidate is enrolled.

In order to be considered, two copies of a current legal writing must be submitted to the Foundation c/o Kenneth G. Engerrand, Brown Sime, P.C., Tenth Floor, 1177 West Loop South, Hourston, Texas 77027-9007.  The article must be accompanied by a letter of recommentdation from a law school faculty member or legal professional other than the author of the paper.  Only one paper my be submitted on behalf of any student and only one paper may be sponsored by any faculty member or legal professional.
DEADLINE:  Must be postmarked no later than August 18, 2017.

The submission must contain a separate sheet containing the title of the paper; the name, physical address, telephone number, and email address of the student's sponsor.  Ther is no page limitation or restriction on the topic except that the judging panel consisting of a law school dean, a federal jusge, and a law school professor.  The Foundation will not return any material submitted to the Foundation.  

Award information and the 2017 recipient of the Brown Award, who will be notified by Janaury 31, 2018, and listed with the other finalists, can be found at the Award website