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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.

Recently Added

Baxter Family Competition on Federalism

Competition Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/law/channels/news/baxter-competition-federalism-2016

Sponsor: McGill University┬┐s Faculty of Law and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism

Deadline: September 30, 2016

Essay Topic: Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Given that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged. While essays can discuss any one of a wide range of topics related to federalism, the organizers of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism are particularly interested in submissions centered on two particular aspects of the “federal phenomenon”: Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Given that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged. While essays can discuss any one of a wide range of topics related to federalism, the organizers of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism are particularly interested in submissions centered on two particular aspects of the “federal phenomenon”: 1. The potential and challenges of federal constitutional design for complex multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multinational societies, including those with mixed legal systems and/or those seeking post-conflict reconciliation. In this context, essays may address questions such as: Does federalism meet its promise of promoting tolerance and mutual respect between diverse groups: If so, why and how? If not, why not? Are certain types of federal arrangements more conducive to promote peaceful co-existence of diverse groups? By contrast, are some federal systems more prone to consolidate and entrench conflict? Why? What federal principles and institutions are most likely to enable constructive dialogue between distinct legal cultures and nations? How should minority rights be guaranteed in a federation? Is federalism a viable model of governance for aboriginal peoples? What is the role of law, both in the sense of institutional architecture and judicial interpretation, in fostering – or eroding – effective and inclusive federal systems 2. The institutions, mechanisms and constitutional principles that may enhance – or undermine – “good government” in federal systems. Here, authors should consider the impact of “cooperative federalism” (or lack thereof) on policy development and implementation, as well as on democratic accountability. Essays could investigate: The role of courts in promoting – or undermining – “cooperative federalism” or the “federal spirit”. The adequacy of parliamentary control of decisions and acts taken in collaboration by the executive branches of several orders of government, or by agencies created on a collaborative basis. The role of intergovernmental agreements in federal practice. The impact of federalism on specific policy domains (e.g.: health care, violence against women, environmental protection, etc.). The design, interpretation and revision of the distribution of legislative and administrative powers in federations.

Prize Information:

1st Place: $5,000

2nd Place: $3,000

3rd Place: $1,000

Notes: For full submission guidelines and contest rules see the website HERE.

Law Student Writing Competition

Competition Website: http://www.pacificlegal.org/pja/writingcomp

Sponsor: The Pacific Legal Foundation's Program for Judicial Awareness

Deadline: January 13, 2017

Essay Topic: 1. The Clean Water Act was passed to improve the quality and biological health of the waters of the United States. Federal courts have struggled to clarify the meaning of “waters of the United States” and the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are tasked with enforcing aspects of the law. Does the “waters of the United States” rule recently proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers accurately describe the reach of Congress’s commerce power? If so, explain why. If not, explain how a judge should determine the outer boundary of Congress's power. 2. In Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), the Supreme Court reaffirmed Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945), for its proposition that judges must defer to an agency interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation unless that interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. What are the best arguments against that rule? 3. All state governments regulate and license certain occupations for the stated purpose of protecting the public from health and safety risks. An increasing number of licensed occupations consist mainly, or even entirely, of advice (e.g., tour guides, real estate advertisers, and providers of individually tailored information online or in print, such as diet plans, parenting tips, or veterinary guidance). How should courts draw the line between regulating professional conduct (typically subject to rational basis review under the Fourteenth Amendment) and free speech protected by the First Amendment? 4. Takings litigants are generally prohibited from bringing takings claims for just compensation in federal court unless they have first sought (and been denied) relief in state court. This de facto abstention doctrine arises from the Supreme Court’s holding in Williamson Cty. Reg’l Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), and subsequent interpretations of the case by federal circuit courts, and departs from the general rule that one need not exhaust state court remedies before presenting a federal constitutional claim in federal court. Should the Supreme Court reconsider Williamson County’s holding that one may not present a takings claim for just compensation in federal court unless on has first litigated the matter in state court? Why or why not?

Prize Information:

First Place: $5,000

Second Place: $3,000

Third Place: $1,000

The winner will also be recognized at the Annual Pacific Legal Foundation Gala. PLF will pay for the winner’s reasonable travel costs to attend the gala and will assist with travel arrangements.

Notes:

Please email your submission to PJA@pacificlegal.org. In the body of the email please include your contact information, the law school you attend, and your expected graduation date. You will be notified via email when your submission is received.

For full submission guidelines and contest rules go HERE.

2016 College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers Law Student Writing Compensation

Competition Website: http://www.cwclawyers.org/2016_CWCL_Student_Writing_Contest_Flyer.pdf

Sponsor: The College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Deadline: January 15, 2017

Essay Topic: TOPIC: The scope of permissible topics is broad, i.e., any aspect of workers' compensation law. Students are encouraged to present: a public policy issue; a critique of a leading case or doctrine; or a comment on a statute or the need for a statutory modification.

Prize Information:

PRIZES:

First prize - $2,000, plus $1000 to winner's law school scholarship fund

Second price - $1,500.00

Third prize - $1000.00

The winner's article will also be considered for publication in the Workers' First Watch. The Workers' Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) magazine, and the ABA tort and Insurance Practice Section Law Journal. The winner will also be invited (expenses paid) to the Annual College Induction Dinner to be honored during the program.

Notes:

For the full contest announcement flyer click HERE.

1. Articles must be original from the applicant and limited to one entry. Articles must not presently be under sondiferationfor any other publication or written as part of paid employment.

2. All articles are to be submitted in the following format:

  • Submitted by email (no author name in body of article, only in cover letter) to susan.wan@cwclawyers.org (Please reference "Writing Competition" in the subject line.);
  • All articles are to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2017;
  • Double-spaced, on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper, 1 inch margins;
  • Entries should be between 10 and 20 pages in length (including bottom of page footnotes);
  • Citations are to conform to "A Uniform System of Citation" (The Bluebook".

3. If published by the College, the articles become the property of the College. No submitted article may be published elsewhere until after announcement of the winners of the competition. Announcement of the winners will be made at least 30 days in advance of the Annual College Induction Dinner, Spring 2017.

4. Include a cover letter with your entry stating your name, mailing address and phone number (both school and permanent), name of school and year of graduation.

5. Applicant must be currently enrolled in an accredited law school or submit entry within a year of graduation.

The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law

Competition Website: https://www.acslaw.org/special-projects/richard-d-cudahy-writing-competition

Sponsor: American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Deadline: February 5, 2017

Essay Topic: Submissions should be related to American regulatory or administrative law, broadly construed. Appropriate subjects include empirical or comparative analyses of the effectiveness of specific regulatory regimes or of deregulation; doctrinal investigations of the development of administrative law rules or principles by courts and administrative agencies and the effects of that development; and normative analyses of how particular regulatory or administrative regimes or deregulation advance or fail to advance values of fairness, participation, and transparency.

Prize Information:

Prize: $1,500

The winning papers will receive special recognition at the ACS National Convention, on the ACS website, and potentially through other means agreed upon by the authors and ACS.

Notes:

For compete contest guidelines and submission guidelines go HERE.

Papers must be emailed to cudahy@acslaw.org in Word format.

Browse All Contests

August 2016

International and comparative disaster law essay contest
International Humanitarian Law$300 to $999August 2016

Competition Website: http://www.ifrc.org/PageFiles/181487/Announcement%20disaster%20law%20essay%20contest%20%2831%20Mar%29.pdf

Sponsor: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies & American Society of International Law

Deadline: August 31, 2016

Essay Topic: Scholarship about legal and regulatory frameworks for reducing disaster risks, responding to disasters and recovering from them, is still in its infancy. Yet states are increasingly turning to legal tools to fight disasters, at the national, regional and international levels. Are they learning from each other about what works well and what does not? Are international instruments meeting their potential to increase cooperation in disaster risk management and humanitarian response? This essay contest aims to stimulate creative thinking and analysis about disaster law in a comparative and/or international perspective.

Prize Information:

First Prize $500 Swiss Francs (approx. 500 U.S. Dollars)

Notes:

For full contest information and submission guidelines, see the official contest flyer HERE.

Contest flyer also includes a number of suggested topics for essays.

National Law Review Law Student Writing Contest
Law & Society$0 to $299August 2016

Competition Website: http://www.natlawreview.com/NLR-law-student-writing-competition

Sponsor: The National Law Review

Deadline: August 31, 2016

Essay Topic: Suggested Topics:  ​Cybersecurity Issues - Major data breaches, EU Privacy Shield, Wearable Devices, Medical Devices Election 2016 Coverage Tax Issues Constitutional Issues - First Amendment, Gun Control Employment Issues - Ban the Box Laws, Minimum Wage, Transgender Accomodations, Age/Sex Discrimination

Prize Information:

The NLR Law Student Writing Competition offers law students the opportunity to submit articles for publication consideration on the NLR Web site.  No entry fee is required. Applicants can submit an unlimited number of entries each month.

  • Winning submissions will be published according to specified dates.

  • Entries will be judged and the top two to four articles chosen will be published on the NLR website.

  • Each winning article will be displayed accompanied by the student’s photo, biography, contact information, law school logo, and any copyright disclosure.

  • All winning articles will remain in the NLR database for two years (subject to earlier removal upon request of the law school).

Articles will be judged by NLR staff members on the basis of readability, clarity, organization, and timeliness. Tone should be authoritative, but not overly formal. Ideally, articles should be straightforward and practical, containing useful information of interest to legal and business professionals.

Notes: For full submission guidelines and requirements go HERE.

National Moot Court Problem-Writing Competition
Legal Writing$2000 to $2499August 2016

Competition Website: http://www.nyumootcourt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Moot-Court-Problem-Writing-Competition-Rules-2016.pdf

Sponsor: NYU LAW Moot Court Board

Deadline: August 1, 2016

Essay Topic: Any complete Moot Court Problem, as defined in these Rules, may be submitted for the Competition if it: (a)was written entirely by currently enrolled, full - or part - time students enrolled in a JD, LLM, JSD, or PhD program (hereinafter “Problem Authors”), at the same or at different accredited law schools, but not at the New York University School of Law; (b)considers only unresolved issues of law which, at the time of the Closing Date, have not been preempted by legislation, nor granted review by the highest court with jurisdiction over the legal issue (State or Federal); and, (c) has not had either the Bench Memo or briefs based on that problem published in a public forum (a publication accessible to law students or on the public internet). The Record may be published in a public forum, as may limited descriptions of the contents of the Record.

Prize Information:

1st Prize:  $2,000
2nd Prize: $1,000
3rd Prize:  $500

Notes: For full submission guidelines and contest rules see the official contest anouncement flyer HERE.

Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing
Legal Writing$5000 or moreAugust 2016

Competition Website: http://www.brownsims.com/about-brown-sims/affiliations/judge-john-r-brown-award/

Sponsor: The Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation

Deadline: August 19, 2016

Essay Topic: This year there is no page limitation or restriction on the topic except that the writing must be on a legal subject.

Prize Information:

1st Place $10,000

Other monetary awards may also be awarded at the descretion of the contest sponsers.

Notes:

Any law student currently enrolled in an accredited law school in the United States seeking a J.D. or LL.B. degree is eligible to receive the Award.

For full contest information and submission guidelines go HERE.

September 2016

Baxter Family Competition on Federalism
Constitutional Law$0 to $299September 2016

Competition Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/law/channels/news/baxter-competition-federalism-2016

Sponsor: McGill University┬┐s Faculty of Law and the Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism

Deadline: September 30, 2016

Essay Topic: Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Given that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged. While essays can discuss any one of a wide range of topics related to federalism, the organizers of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism are particularly interested in submissions centered on two particular aspects of the “federal phenomenon”: Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Given that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged. While essays can discuss any one of a wide range of topics related to federalism, the organizers of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism are particularly interested in submissions centered on two particular aspects of the “federal phenomenon”: 1. The potential and challenges of federal constitutional design for complex multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multinational societies, including those with mixed legal systems and/or those seeking post-conflict reconciliation. In this context, essays may address questions such as: Does federalism meet its promise of promoting tolerance and mutual respect between diverse groups: If so, why and how? If not, why not? Are certain types of federal arrangements more conducive to promote peaceful co-existence of diverse groups? By contrast, are some federal systems more prone to consolidate and entrench conflict? Why? What federal principles and institutions are most likely to enable constructive dialogue between distinct legal cultures and nations? How should minority rights be guaranteed in a federation? Is federalism a viable model of governance for aboriginal peoples? What is the role of law, both in the sense of institutional architecture and judicial interpretation, in fostering – or eroding – effective and inclusive federal systems 2. The institutions, mechanisms and constitutional principles that may enhance – or undermine – “good government” in federal systems. Here, authors should consider the impact of “cooperative federalism” (or lack thereof) on policy development and implementation, as well as on democratic accountability. Essays could investigate: The role of courts in promoting – or undermining – “cooperative federalism” or the “federal spirit”. The adequacy of parliamentary control of decisions and acts taken in collaboration by the executive branches of several orders of government, or by agencies created on a collaborative basis. The role of intergovernmental agreements in federal practice. The impact of federalism on specific policy domains (e.g.: health care, violence against women, environmental protection, etc.). The design, interpretation and revision of the distribution of legislative and administrative powers in federations.

Prize Information:

1st Place: $5,000

2nd Place: $3,000

3rd Place: $1,000

Notes: For full submission guidelines and contest rules see the website HERE.

Public Contract Law Writing Contest
Contract Law$5000 or moreSeptember 2016

Competition Website: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_contract_law/awards_and_scholarships.html

Sponsor: American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law

Deadline: September 30, 2016

Essay Topic: Papers should address a topical issue of interest to the public contract and grant law community.

Prize Information:

1st Place: $5,000
2nd Place: $2,500
3rd Place: $1,000

Winning entries will be considered for publication in the Public Contract Law Journal, and selected competitors may be invited to present their papers during the ABA Section of Public Contract Law’s annual Federal Procurement Institute; however, publication and presentation decisions are made independent of the writing competition and there is no guarantee that a winning entry will be published or selected for presentation.

Notes:

The competition will be conducted in two divisions.
Each division will be judged separately, and separate prizes will be awarded to the winners of each division.
(a) Division I is open to (i) candidates for a J.D. degree attending law schools within the United States and its possessions as of September 30, 2016, and (ii) recipients of a J.D. degree in 2016 from a law school within the United States and its possessions.
(b) Division II is open to (i) lawyers under the age of 36 years or admitted to practice less than five years as of September 30, 2016, (ii) LL.M candidates attending law schools within the United States and its possessions as of September 30, 2016, and (iii) LL.M graduates who attended law schools within the United States and its possessions and received their LL.M degree after September 30, 2015.
For full contect details and submission guidelines go HERE.

James E. Beckley Writing Competition
Securities Arbitration$1000 to $1499September 2016

Competition Website: http://piabafoundation.org/piabe-bar-journal/beckley-competition

Sponsor: Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA)

Deadline: September 16, 2016

Essay Topic: The 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. The writing can be based in theory or practice, but should ultimately advocate a position on the topic area chosen.

Prize Information:

Prize awards:

1st place: $1,000.00

2nd place: $750.00

3rd place: $500.00

Notes:

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 The PIABA Foundation and PIABA (except for students working less than 20 hours per week) are not eligible to enter the competition.

For full contest information and submission guidelines go HERE.

October 2016

International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition
Human Rights Law$0 to $299October 2016

Competition Website: https://www.wcl.american.edu/humright/center/2016InternationalHumanitarianLawStudentWritingCompetition.cfm

Sponsor: The Center for Human Rights & Hamanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law and the American Society of International Law's (ASIL) Leiber Society

Deadline: October 5, 2016

Essay Topic: TOPIC: The theme of the 2016 Competition is "Refugee Protections under International Humanitarian Law." Papers should focus on ways in which IHL intersects with refugee issues, such as status, how refugee protections are affected by issues of gender, race, class, and nationality, the impact of IHL on resettlement and statelessness, etc. Papers without a direct focus on this theme will not be reviewed.

Prize Information:

The winning author will receive a complimentary one-year ASIL student membership and have the opportunity to have their abstract published in the renowed Human Rights Brief, AUWCL's premire human rights publication. The winner will also appear in a video presenation to be featured as part of the Center's Teaching International Law Initiative.

Notes:

Papers must be written by students currently enrolled in a law degree program at a U.S. or foreign law school as of the submission deadline. Submissions must be unpublished academic papers written solely by the candidate in English.

For competition rules and submission guidelines go HERE.

December 2016

The Expert Institute's Annual Legal Writing Scholarship
Legal Writing$2000 to $2499December 2016

Competition Website: https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/writing-contest/

Sponsor: The Expert Institute

Deadline: December 31, 2016

Essay Topic: J.D. Students – Any topic in litigation involving expert witnesses

Prize Information:

1st prize: $2,000

In addition, your article will be published on The Expert Institute’s blog and distributed in our weekly newsletter, where it will be read by thousands of practicing attorneys.

Notes:

For full contest information and the submission form and criteria go HERE.

Articles must be 1,500 – 2,500 words in length, and written in a blog post format.

American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers Writing Competition
Consumer Financial Services Law$1000 to $1499December 2016

Competition Website: http://www.accfsl.org/writing-competition/

Sponsor: American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers

Deadline: December 1, 2016

Essay Topic: Eligible entries will address a topic on consumer financial services, but not securities regulation, insurance, or the safety-and-soundness aspects of banking regulation. Works on subjects within these (or other) areas, however, will be considered if they bear directly on consumer financial services.

Prize Information:

Prize depends on particular work submitted.

Each year The American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers seeks to recognize written contributions to the field of consumer financial services law. Eligible papers include publishable articles, substantial book reviews, or book chapters; books; and student case note or comment. In any year, depending on the quality of the submissions, awards may be made in all or some of these three categories.

Books - $2,500

Articles, Review, Book Chapters - $2,000

Student Papers - $1,000

Plus travel expenses to attend the College's annual dinner held in conjunction with the Spring Meeting of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Notes:

The deadline for entry is December 1, 2016, and entries are eligible if they have been written or published within the twelve months preceding that date. Unpublished manuscripts should be double-spaced and conform to law review standards. All entries should be submitted in electronic format.

For more information go HERE.

Center for Alcohol Policy Annual Essay Contest
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Law$2000 to $2499December 2016

Competition Website: http://www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org/essay-contest/

Sponsor: Center for Alcohol Policy

Deadline: December 2, 2016

Essay Topic: The 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition and put control over alcohol regulation directly in the hands of the states. Though each state’s alcohol control policies are unique, they all include distinct regulations for different types of alcohol. Why are various types of alcohol regulated in different ways? Should they be?

Prize Information:

First prize: $2,500

Second prize: $1,250

Third prize: $500

Notes: For full contest information, rules, and submission guidelines go HERE.

Legal Blog Post Writing Contest
Legislation$1500 to $1999December 2016

Competition Website: https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/writing-contest/

Sponsor: The Expert Institute

Deadline: December 31, 2016

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 $2000; Blog publication; Newsletter circulation; Email announcement.

2nd Place: Blog publication.

3rd Place: Blog publication.

Notes:

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.

For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

January 2017

2016 College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers Law Student Writing Compensation
Workers Compensation$1500 to $1999January 2017

Competition Website: http://www.cwclawyers.org/2016_CWCL_Student_Writing_Contest_Flyer.pdf

Sponsor: The College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Deadline: January 15, 2017

Essay Topic: TOPIC: The scope of permissible topics is broad, i.e., any aspect of workers' compensation law. Students are encouraged to present: a public policy issue; a critique of a leading case or doctrine; or a comment on a statute or the need for a statutory modification.

Prize Information:

PRIZES:

First prize - $2,000, plus $1000 to winner's law school scholarship fund

Second price - $1,500.00

Third prize - $1000.00

The winner's article will also be considered for publication in the Workers' First Watch. The Workers' Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) magazine, and the ABA tort and Insurance Practice Section Law Journal. The winner will also be invited (expenses paid) to the Annual College Induction Dinner to be honored during the program.

Notes:

For the full contest announcement flyer click HERE.

1. Articles must be original from the applicant and limited to one entry. Articles must not presently be under sondiferationfor any other publication or written as part of paid employment.

2. All articles are to be submitted in the following format:

  • Submitted by email (no author name in body of article, only in cover letter) to susan.wan@cwclawyers.org (Please reference "Writing Competition" in the subject line.);
  • All articles are to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2017;
  • Double-spaced, on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper, 1 inch margins;
  • Entries should be between 10 and 20 pages in length (including bottom of page footnotes);
  • Citations are to conform to "A Uniform System of Citation" (The Bluebook".

3. If published by the College, the articles become the property of the College. No submitted article may be published elsewhere until after announcement of the winners of the competition. Announcement of the winners will be made at least 30 days in advance of the Annual College Induction Dinner, Spring 2017.

4. Include a cover letter with your entry stating your name, mailing address and phone number (both school and permanent), name of school and year of graduation.

5. Applicant must be currently enrolled in an accredited law school or submit entry within a year of graduation.

Law Student Writing Competition
Human Rights Law$5000 or moreJanuary 2017

Competition Website: http://www.pacificlegal.org/pja/writingcomp

Sponsor: The Pacific Legal Foundation's Program for Judicial Awareness

Deadline: January 13, 2017

Essay Topic: 1. The Clean Water Act was passed to improve the quality and biological health of the waters of the United States. Federal courts have struggled to clarify the meaning of “waters of the United States” and the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are tasked with enforcing aspects of the law. Does the “waters of the United States” rule recently proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers accurately describe the reach of Congress’s commerce power? If so, explain why. If not, explain how a judge should determine the outer boundary of Congress's power. 2. In Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), the Supreme Court reaffirmed Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945), for its proposition that judges must defer to an agency interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation unless that interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. What are the best arguments against that rule? 3. All state governments regulate and license certain occupations for the stated purpose of protecting the public from health and safety risks. An increasing number of licensed occupations consist mainly, or even entirely, of advice (e.g., tour guides, real estate advertisers, and providers of individually tailored information online or in print, such as diet plans, parenting tips, or veterinary guidance). How should courts draw the line between regulating professional conduct (typically subject to rational basis review under the Fourteenth Amendment) and free speech protected by the First Amendment? 4. Takings litigants are generally prohibited from bringing takings claims for just compensation in federal court unless they have first sought (and been denied) relief in state court. This de facto abstention doctrine arises from the Supreme Court’s holding in Williamson Cty. Reg’l Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), and subsequent interpretations of the case by federal circuit courts, and departs from the general rule that one need not exhaust state court remedies before presenting a federal constitutional claim in federal court. Should the Supreme Court reconsider Williamson County’s holding that one may not present a takings claim for just compensation in federal court unless on has first litigated the matter in state court? Why or why not?

Prize Information:

First Place: $5,000

Second Place: $3,000

Third Place: $1,000

The winner will also be recognized at the Annual Pacific Legal Foundation Gala. PLF will pay for the winner’s reasonable travel costs to attend the gala and will assist with travel arrangements.

Notes:

Please email your submission to PJA@pacificlegal.org. In the body of the email please include your contact information, the law school you attend, and your expected graduation date. You will be notified via email when your submission is received.

For full submission guidelines and contest rules go HERE.

February 2017

The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law
Administrative Law$1500 to $1999February 2017

Competition Website: https://www.acslaw.org/special-projects/richard-d-cudahy-writing-competition

Sponsor: American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Deadline: February 5, 2017

Essay Topic: Submissions should be related to American regulatory or administrative law, broadly construed. Appropriate subjects include empirical or comparative analyses of the effectiveness of specific regulatory regimes or of deregulation; doctrinal investigations of the development of administrative law rules or principles by courts and administrative agencies and the effects of that development; and normative analyses of how particular regulatory or administrative regimes or deregulation advance or fail to advance values of fairness, participation, and transparency.

Prize Information:

Prize: $1,500

The winning papers will receive special recognition at the ACS National Convention, on the ACS website, and potentially through other means agreed upon by the authors and ACS.

Notes:

For compete contest guidelines and submission guidelines go HERE.

Papers must be emailed to cudahy@acslaw.org in Word format.

Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition
Constitutional Law$3000 to $3999February 2017

Competition Website: https://www.acslaw.org/chapters/studentcompetitions/writing

Sponsor: American Constitution Society (ACS) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School ACS Chapter

Deadline: February 12, 2017

Essay Topic: The American Constitution Society (ACS) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School ACS Chapter host an annual national student writing competition in honor of Constance Baker Motley's legacy. As a civil rights attorney, first woman elected President of the Borough of Manhattan, and the first African-American woman appointed to the federal bench, Motley’s life-long commitment to equality for all aligns with ACS's mission to ensure that law is a force to improve the lives of all people. The deadline for this year's competition February 13, 2017.  ACS welcomes all student papers furthering and promoting a progressive vision of the Constitution, law, and public policy. Entrants are encouraged to view this topic broadly, and we welcome submissions on a variety of substantive areas. Examples of possible topics include: Civil Liberties Civil Legal Aid Consumer Rights Criminal Justice Disability Rights Protection of Health, Safety, and the Environment Education Freedom of Speech Privacy Immigration Voting and Political Process Racial Equality Religion Money in Politics (including Judicial Elections) Separation of Powers and Federalism Women's Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Freedom LGBT Rights Human Rights 2nd Amendment and Guns Education Indigent Defense Labor Law

Prize Information:

First Prize: $3000

Two Second Place Prizes: $1000 each

Papers will be judged on the quality of their analysis and writing. The judging committee will include federal judges and leading academics. The student authors of the top three papers will receive special recognition at the ACS National Convention in the summer of 2017The top paper will also receive an offer of publication in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.

Notes: For full contest rules and submission guidelines see the officila contest flyer HERE.

2016 Human Rights Essay Award Competition
Human Rights Law$0 to $299February 2017

Competition Website: https://www.wcl.american.edu/hracademy/hraward.cfm

Sponsor: Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Deadline: February 1, 2017

Essay Topic: The Human Rights Essay Award is an annual competition sponsored by the Academy and seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The essay has to be a legal article.

Prize Information:

The Academy will grant two Awards, one for the best article in English and one for the best article in Spanish. The Award in each case will consist of:

  • A full scholarship* to the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law for either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance options
  • Travel expenses to and from Washington D.C.
  • Housing at the university dorms
  • Per diem for living expenses

The best articles may be published in the American University International Law Review.

*Scholarship is not applicable to enroll for ABA Credit. All expenses are subject to limitations.

Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE


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