Legal Essay Contest Catalog

The T.C. Williams Legal Essay Contest Catalog is the Web's largest collection of writing competitions for law students. Essay contents provide students with opportunities to display the exceptional legal research, analysis, and composition skills honed here at the University of Richmond School of Law.

2015 Human Rights Essay Award Competition
Human Rights Law$0 to $299

Competition Website:

Sponsor: Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Deadline: February 1, 2015

Essay Topic: Topic: Transitional Justice, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. This annual competition encourages lawyers to produce scholarly work in International Human Rights Law.

Prize Information:

The Academy grants two awards - one for the best article in English and one for the best article in Spanish. Winners receive a scholarship to attend the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, travel expenses to Washington, D.C., housing at the university dorms, a per dien for living expenses, and articles are eligible for publication in the American University International Law Review.


The Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law will take place from May 26 to June 12, 2015. It will offer 19 courses, which will be taught by more than 40 prominent scholars. In 2014, the program hosted over 150 participants from 20 countries, from varied backgrounds and differing levels of experience. Additional educational opportunities will be available through events of the Academy-sponsored Human Rights Month.

James E. Beckley Writing Competition
Securities Arbitration$1000 to $1499

Competition Website:

Sponsor: Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA)

Deadline: September 19, 2014

Essay Topic: Teh submission may address any aspect of Securities law; Securities arbitration; The Federal Arbitration Act, Title 9, US Code, Section 1-14; or FINRA Code of Arbitration, effective April 16, 2007 and any changes or proposed changes to that Code.

Prize Information:


First place: $1,000.00

Second place: $750.00

Third place: $500.00


The Piaba Bar Journal Board-of-Editors publish the first place paper, and may, at their option, print additional submissions.


Contest. This is a writing competition for students interested in Securities Arbitration and Securities Law sponsored by The PIABA Foundatoin. First Prize is $1000, Second Prize is $750, and Third Prize is $500. Competition winner(s) will be posted online at The PIABA Bar Journal Board-of-Editors will publish the first place paper, and may, at their option, print additional submissions.

Eligibility. The competition is open to all students who attend a law school in the United States. Full-time students who are not law students but who write law-related papers as part of a course at an American law school are also eligible. Employees of PIABA (except for students working less than 20 hours per week) are not eligible to enter the competition.

Authorship. The author must have performed all the key tasks of researching, writing, and revising the paper for himself or herself, but may have received a reasonable amount of advice from academicians or practitioners. Except for any discusions or other activities that occur as part of course activities approved by the student's professor, the author must avoid collaboration wtih other students. If the paper is written as an assignment in a legal writing class and if the student was assigned to produce the paper along with a partner, the student may submit the paper but must identify the portions for which the student was the sole author. Only those parts of the paper will be evaluated. Under no other circumstances may any of the written product be produced by another.

Criteria and Judging. All entries will be judged anonymously by the Competition Judges, who will select the winning submission(s). The PIABA Foundatoin will notify the award winner(s) in early October. The Judges reserve the right not to award any prizes if it is determined that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection that year.

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: quality of research and authority provided; accuracy and clarity of the analysis; compliance with legal writing standards and technical quality of writing, including organization, grammar, syntax, and form. Stong preference will be given to articles that advocate pro-investor positions, provide updates on or surveys of securities or ADR law, and/or are consistent with The PIABA Foundation's mission of promoting the education and interests of the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration, protecting public investors from abuses in the arbitration process, and making securities and comodities arbitration fair through legislative reforms to arbitration forum providers.

Purposes of the James E. Beckley Securities Arbitration and Law Writing Competition. The purposes of the competition are to promote greater interest in and understanding of the fields of securities arbitration and securities law and to encourage excellent legal writing skills in law students.

Format. Submissions should be on one of the topics listed above. The text of a submission must be double-spaced, with twelve-point font and one-inch margins. Any Question(s) Presented section, the Statement of the Facts / Statement of the Law section, the Argument section, and/or the Conclusion together are limited to 25 pages. If the submission covers both a topic among those listed above and a topic not listed above, only the topic listed above will be evaluated. Submissions will not be penalized for arguing a position that would limit investor rights rather than expand them.

To Enter. Entries must be received via e-mail at with the subject heading, "2014 Writing Competition" and the required entry form, or through no later than midnight, September 19, 2014. The contestant's name and other identifying markings such as school name are not to be on any copy of the submitted entry. The PIABA Foundation will assign a random number to each entry and will record this number on all copies of each submission. Neither the contestant's identity nor his or her academic institution will be known to any Competition Judge. Each entrant may submit only one entry. The form and these rules also appear on The PIABA Foundation website. From the home page select 2014 James E. Beckley Securities Arbitration and Law Writing Competition.

Deadline. September 19, 2014. The first place winner is invited to accept the James E. Beckley Writing Competition in-person during the President's Dinner at the PIABA Annual Meeting on October 23, 2014. 2nd - 3rd places, and Honorable Mention(s) are accounced at that time as well.

Judicial Education and the Art of Judging
Justice System$300 to $999

Competition Website:

Sponsor: The University of Missouri

Deadline: September 2, 2014

Essay Topic: Submissions should bear some relationship to the symposium of judicial education and the art of judging, broadly defined. There is no requirement that papers discuss U.S. law.

Prize Information:

The Lawyers Conference of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association is pleased to offer a $250 prize for the competition winner, a $50 prize for the second place winner and an honorable mention for the third place winner.


The writing competition is open to all persons enrolled on April 1, 2014, in a program of higher education leading to a degree in law (including but not limited to the J.D., LL.B., LL.M. or S.J.D.). Applicants may be of any nationality and may be affiliated with degree-providing institutions located in any country. Papers that have been accepted for publication elsewhere are not eligible for the writing competition.

Submissions must be in English and should be between twenty (20) and twenty-five (25) pages in length, including footnotes in Bluebook form. The text of the paper must be typed and double spaced pages in 12 point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Footnotes may appear single spaced in 10 point Times New Roman font. The titles of the paper must appear on every page of the submission. The author's name must not appear anywhere on the submission itself.

A separate document should be provided including (1) the author's full name, address, telephone number and email address; (2) the degree-granting institution where the author is enrolled, as well as the degree sought and the anticipated year of graduation; (3) the title of the submission; an (4) the date of the submission.

Paper must be electronically submitted to:

Professor S.I. Strong

University of Missouri School of Law

Law School Essay Contest 2014-15
Technology Law$5000 or more

Competition Website:

Sponsor: 1-800-Law-Firm America's Law Firm

Deadline: October 5, 2014

Essay Topic: This Year's Topic: What would improve the legal system?

Prize Information:

Grand Prize: $10,000


There are plenty of things wrong with the legal system. The national network of 1-800-LAW FIRM attorneys works tirelessly to right those wrongs on a case by case basis.

1-800-LAW-FIRM believes that our legal system can be overhauled to better serve the public by incorporating technology, transparency and trust into its relationship with the public. Our entire staff encourages young lawyers to be part of this change by thinking about it, writing about it, and doing something about it.

"Our system doesn't simply need to be repaired, it needs to be re-engineered. Law schools much empower their students to be that change. I believe that students who are asked to create change will create change. They will not accept the status quo and will not accept jobs that perpetuate the shortcomings of the past." -Ari Kresch

Legal Blog Post Writing Contest
Legislation$300 to $999

Competition Website:

Sponsor: The Expert Institute

Deadline: December 31, 2014

Essay Topic: To win, your article not only has to be logically rigorous and substantive, it also needs to be engaging, entertaining, and eye-catching. Ideally, lay people should be able to understand and enjoy the article, while lawyers should find it useful and insightful. Eligibility and Topic: J.D. Students - Any topic in litigation involving expert witnesses.

Prize Information:

1st Place: Cash prize $500; Blog publication; Newsleter circulation; Email announcement.

2nd Place: Cash prize $200; Blog publication.

3rd Place: Blog publication.


Parameters: Specific case references are required, and the article must contain specific examples; Must be an unpublished, original submission. The Expert Institute reserves the right to publish in print and digital all or part of the essay or abstract at its discretion; Citations should be inline - no footnotes or endnotes. Links to electronic sources are encouraged; 1,500 - 2,500 words, written in a blog post format.

Submission must include: Full name of author (First, Middle, and Last); Contact information for author, including e-mail address and phone number; Author photo (recommended) in JPEG, GIF, or PNG format with a maximum file size of 1MB. Image size; Must be at least 150 x 200 pixels; School name and mailing address; A .doc or .docx file of your article; A valid .edu email.

Judging: The Expert Institute editorial staff, as well as a panel of practicing trial lawyers will judge the contest. Factors that will be considered during judgement include: Clarity, style, and poise of writing; Originality of topic; Thoroughness of research and quality of analysis; Comprehensibility by lay and professional audiences

National Bankruptcy Forum Annual Essay Contest
Bankruptcy Law$1500 to $1999

Competition Website:

Sponsor: National Bankruptcy Forum

Deadline: November 15, 2014

Essay Topic: Student debt is one of the biggest issues facfed by the American consumer, and there have been numerous legislative initiatives proposed to address the problem. How do you think we should deal with the student load crisis? Scholarship applicants should submit an essay arguing how best to solve America's student load problem. The winning submission will be published to the National Bankruptcy Forum website.

Prize Information:

The winner will be awarded with a $1,500 scholarship that can be applied towards law school or college tuition.


Essay Requirements:

  • Submitted work must be at least 2,000 words
  • Submissions are due by November 15th
  • Submissions can be sent using the submission form on the NFB website


  • Recipient must be a law school or college student
  • Recipient is a U.S. citizen or legal resident

The winner will be announced by December 1st 2014.

Feedback and Circumscription

The writing competition catalog is produced and maintained by Courtney Fain and Paul Birch. The project is directed by John Paul Jones. The catalog is frequently updated. Students should bookmark this page and check back regularly.

We invite comments and suggestions for improving this catalog. When submitting essay announcements, please include the URL where essay contest information may be found.

The University of Richmond School of Law Legal Essay Contest Catalog is offered as a public service, without charge, by individuals, members of the University of Richmond School of Law community.

We are committed to excellence in maintaining the catalog, but do so on a purely voluntary basis. Given the constant flux of both essay contest life and locations on the Web, we cannot guarantee that our catalog at all times comprehensively represents either the latest information on each contest or its present location on the Web, but we list for every contest in our catalog persons to contact for confirmation of our information.

Those publishing our catalog have no control over those managing the sites to which the catalog supplies links. Consequently, those publishing the catalog assume no responsibility for the content at the other end of any of its links. From time to time, links are checked or monitored, but those publishing the catalog must depend on its users for notice of inoperative or improper links.