Legal Essay Contest Catalog

The Richmond Law 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.

*Only currently active competitions are displayed*

  • Program on Church, State & Society Announces Student Writing Competition - February 2021

    Competition Website: https://churchstate.nd.edu/news-events/news/program-on-church-state-society-announces-student-writing-competition/

    Sponsor: The Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School

    Deadline: February 15, 2021

    Essay Topic: The purpose of this writing competition is to encourage scholarship related to the intersection of church, state & society, and in particular how the law structures and governs that intersection. Papers should be focused, broadly, on topics related to church,state & society. For guidance on selecting a topic, students may wish to view ourProgram website and mission statement: https://churchstate.nd.edu/

    Prize Information:

    1st Place: $4,000

    2nd Place: $3,000

    3rd Place: $2,000

    Honerable Mention: $1,000

    Notes: Full contest information and submition guidelines can be found HERE.

  • Family Law Writing Competition - February 2021

    Competition Website: https://law.hofstra.edu/currentstudents/studentactivities/journals/familycourtreview/hflwritingcompetition/index.html

    Sponsor: The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    Essay Topic: The subject of entries may be within any area of family law, although topics that focus on international or interdisciplinary subjects of family law are especially encouraged. Articles should concentrate on a current legal issue and must have a strong foundation in legal research. Use of interdisciplinary sources may also be appropriate for many topics.

    Prize Information:

    1st Prize: $500

    • Certificate of recognition as the winner
    • Consideration for publication of the article in the Family Court Review
    • Letter to the dean of the student’s law school

    Honorable Mention: $250

    • Certificate of recognition as the honorable ­‐ mention winner
    • Consideration for publication of the article in the Family Court Review
    • Letter to the dean of the student’s law school

    Notes: For more information about the contest and submission guidelines go HERE.

  • Baxter Family Competition on Federalism - February 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/law/research/essay-contests/baxter-competition

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

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    Essay Topic: Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to any aspect of federal theory or practice. The overarching goal of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is to advance research and foster informed debate on federalism by young jurists (including law students, law PhD Candidates, junior legal scholars and junior lawyers) from around the world.

    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.

  • 2021 Human Rights Essay Award Competition - February 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.wcl.american.edu/impact/initiatives-programs/hracademy/award/

    Sponsor: Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    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. Topic for 2021: Human Rights and States of Emergency: Unexpected Crisis and New Challenges

    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

  • American Indian Law Review National Writing Competition - February 2021

    Competition Websitehttps://www.law.ou.edu/faculty-and-scholarship/journals/american-indian-law-review/writing-competition

    Sponsor: University of Oklahoma College of Law

    Deadline: February 26, 2021

    Essay Topic: Papers will be accepted on any legal issue specifically concerning American Indians or other indigenous peoples.

    1st Prize Information: $1, 000

    2nd Prize Information: $500

    3rd Prize Information: $250

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • Hon. William C. Conner Writing Competition - February 2021

    Competition Website:https://www.nyipla.org/nyipla/ConnerWritingAwards.asp

    Sponsor: New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA)

    Deadline: February 28, 2021

    Essay Topic: The subject matter must be directed to one of the traditional subject areas of intellectual property, i.e., patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair trade practices, antitrust, and data security/privacy issues.

    1st Prize Information: $1, 500

    2nd Prize Information: $1,000

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • Constance Baker Motley Writing Competition - Febuary 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.acslaw.org/get-involved/awards-and-competitions/constance-baker-motley-national-student-writing-competition/

    Sponsor: American Constitution Society (ACS)

    Deadline: February 7, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    The American Constitution Society welcomes all 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: access to the courts, Census report, civil liberties, consumer rights, disability rights, freedom of speech, LGBTQ+ rights, human rights, immigration, labor law, money in judicial elections, voting and the political process, privacy, protection of health, safety, the environment, racial equality, religion, second amendment and guns, separation of powers and federalism, state attorneys general, and women’s reproductive rights and reproductive freedom.

    2x 1st Prize Information: $3,000

    2x 2nd Prize Information: $1,000

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • Roy Snell Health Care Regulatory and Compliance Writing Competition - Febuary 2021

    Competition Website: https://mitchellhamline.edu/health-law-institute/roy-snell-health-care-regulatory-and-compliance-writing-competition/

    Sponsor: Health Law Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    In keeping with Roy Snell’s keen interest in practical, realistic, and user-centered communication, as well as a commitment to efficiency and clarity in writing, this demanding competition requires students to analyze a hypothetical fact pattern (the Competition Problem) involving an organization facing multifaceted health care regulatory/compliance matters and draft two separate internal memoranda to two different recipients within the organization. Students must analyze the facts presented, identify any and all regulatory/compliance concerns, and advise the recipient of the memorandum. While these two internal memoranda address the same hypothetical situation and subject matter, they are to be drafted with a specific audience/reader in mind. Content must be customized to a particular audience/reader to optimize understanding, engagement, and responsiveness.

    1st Prize Information: $5,000

    2nd Prize Information: $3,000

    3rd Prize Information: $1500

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition - Febuary 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.acslaw.org/get-involved/awards-and-competitions/the-richard-d-cudahy-writing-competition-on-regulatory-and-administrative-law/

    Sponsor: American Constitution Society

    Deadline: February 7, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Submissions should be focused on American regulatory or administrative law, broadly construed. Appropriate subjects include empirical or comparative analyses of the effectiveness of specific regulatory regimes or 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.

    1st Prize Information: $1,500 and special recognition at the 2021 ACS National Convention, on the ACS website, and potentially through other means agreed upon by the authors and ACS.

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • Trandafir International Business Writing Competition - Febuary 2021

    Competition Website: https://tlcp.law.uiowa.edu/trandafir-writing-competition

    Sponsor: Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, in conjunction with the University of Iowa College of Law International and Comparative Law Program

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Any contemporary international business or economic concern. Recent winning submissions have included such topics as recommendations the United States should follow to update its privacy laws to harmonize with international general data protection regulation commitments, why international labor organizations should adopt fair trade as an enforcement mechanism to end labor violations, and why the United States Treasury should wait for Congress to end corporate tax sheltering tactics.

    1st Prize Information: $2,000 and publication

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE

  • American Kennel Club Companion Animal Law Writing Contest - March 2021

    Competition Websitewww. akcgr.org/writeaboutanimallaw

    Sponsor: American Kennel Club

    Deadline: March 31, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Students are asked to choose between two topics: forfeiture of an animal and the legal treatment of animals as property. This year’s topics offer students the unique opportunity to discuss legal perspectives on issues currently in the news and at the forefront of animal law.

    Prize Information:

    The contest will offer a first-place prize of $2500 and a second-place prize of $500.

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • VA State Bar Health Law Section Writing Competition - April 2021

    Competition Websitehttps://www.vsb.org/site/sections/health/competition

    Sponsor: Virginia State Bar Health Law Section

    Deadline: April 23, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Articles must relate to a health law issue or the practice of health law. There is no minimum length, but articles should not exceed 50 pages, including end-notes.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $1,500 and consideration for publication on the Health Law Section’s                                                 website and in Virginia Lawyer, the official publication of the VSB.

    Second Place:   $1000

    Third Place:      $500

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest - April 2021

    Competition Websitehttps://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law/awards-initiatives/essay_contest/

    Sponsor: ABA Section of Family Law

    Deadline: April 9, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    The subject may be any aspect of family law. The primary focus of each essay should be an issue of law, although some interdisciplinary material may be useful in addressing a legal issue. Family law includes dissolution of marriage and other intimate relationships, relationships of persons of the same sex, parentage, custody, child support, division of property, alimony (maintenance), attorney’s fees, adoption, dependency, termination of parental rights, rights pertaining to procreation, and alternative dispute resolution of Family Law issues. Family Law generally does not include Juvenile Justice, Probate, Labor, Immigration Law, and sociology topics unless those topics are related to more traditional Family Law subjects. Since winning entries may be published in Family Law Quarterly, entrants are encouraged to write on subjects of national interest. Essays on such subjects usually include citations to the law of several jurisdictions. However, if the law in one state reflects a significant development or trend, that too could be an appropriate subject for an entry.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $1,500 and consideration of essay’s publication in Family Law Quarterly.

    Second Place:   $750 and consideration of essay’s publication in Family Law Quarterly.

    Third Place:      $350 and consideration of essay’s publication in Family Law Quarterly.

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Virginia Annual Bankruptcy Law Writing Competition - April 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.vsb.org/site/sections/bankruptcy

    Sponsor: Bankruptcy Law Section of the Virginia State Bar

    Deadline: April 30, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Students should submit a paper on a current issue of banckruptcy law, jurisdiction, or litigation, either in the consumer or business arena.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $1000 and have their submission published in the Bankruptcy Law Section’s Bankruptcy Law News.

     

     

    Notes:

  • VA Bar Intellectual Property Law Student Writing Competition - May 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.vsb.org/site/sections/intellectualproperty/writing-competition

    Sponsor: Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Law Section

    Deadline: May 31, 2021

    Essay Topic: Articles must relate to an intellectual property law issue or the practice of intellectual property law. Preference may be given to topics demonstrating particular relevance to contemporary events, addressing unsettled issues of law, or presenting novel and unique perspectives.

    Prize Information:

    1st Prize $5,000

    The IP Section may also award a Second Place prize of $2,500 in its discretion.

    Notes:

    For more information, rules and submission guidelins go HERE.

    No article submitted as an entry in this competition may be published in any other forum until the competition has ended and the winner has been announced. After that time, articles submitted but not selected as the winning article may be published without limitation.

  • Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition - May 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.law.miami.edu/vance-memorial-writing-competition

    Sponsor: The Customs and International Trade Bar Association and

    the University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review

    Deadline: May 28, 2021

    Essay Topic: An in-depth analysis of a current issue relevant to customs and international trade law.

    Prize Information:

    1st Prize $1,000

    2nd Prize $500

    Notes:

    For more information, rules and submission guidelins go HERE.

     

  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Law Student Writing Competition - June 2021

    Sponsor: The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law

    Deadline: June 15, 2021

    Essay 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 employment 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 recent a Supreme Court decision or a case pending before the Supreme Court unless the article focuses upon case law or statutory developments subsequent to the Supreme Court’s decision.

    Prize Information:

    1st Prize $3,000

    The first-place winning article may be selected for publication in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. In addition, the author of the first-place paper will be a guest at the ABA Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference and honored at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

    2nd Prize $1,000

    3rd Prize $500

    Notes:

    For more information, rules and submission guidelins go HERE.

    Students are required to confer or consult with a labor or employment law professor or practitioner on topic selection and in the formation of arguments presented in the paper.  However, manuscripts must be the original work of a single author, may not have been written for paid employment, and may not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. 

  • CSCHS Selma Moidel Student Writing Contest - June 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.cschs.org/programs/student-writings/

    Sponsor: California Supreme Court

    Deadline: June 30, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Original, unpublished scholarly writing on any aspect of legal history that deals significantly with California, ranging from the Supreme Court itself, and its justices and decisions, to local events of legal historical importance — including biography, significant cases, independent state interpretation, the California Constitution, and reorganization of the court system, as well as areas of law such as criminal law, civil rights, family law, tort liability, environmental law, and taxation — in any time period from 1846 to the present

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $2,500 and publication in the Society’s journal, California Legal History.

    Second Place:   $500 with possible publication.

    Third Place:      $250 with possible publication.

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition - June 2021

    Competition Website: https://actecfoundation.org/resources-for-law-students/law-student-writing-competition/?sfw=pass1611676894

    Sponsor: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

    Deadline: June 30, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    The paper must relate to the area of trusts and estates, broadly defined. Any one or more of the following topics are appropriate for discussion:

    • Business Planning
    • Charitable Planning
    • Elder Law
    • Employee Benefits
    • Fiduciary Accounting
    • Fiduciary Administration
    • Fiduciary Income Taxation
    • Fiduciary Litigation
    • Estate Planning and Drafting
    • Professional Responsibility
    • Substantive Laws for the Gratuitous Transmission of Property
    • Wealth Transfer Taxation (Estate, Gift and GST Tax)

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $5,000 and publication in the ACTEC Law Journal.

    Second Place:   $3,000 and online publication on the ACTEC Foundation’s website, and possible publication in the ACTEC Law Journal.

    Third Place:      $1000 and online publication on the ACTEC Foundation’s website, and possible publication in the ACTEC Law Journal.

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Tax Analysts Annual Student Writing Competition - June 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.taxnotes.com/awards/for-students

    Sponsor: Taxnotes.com

    Deadline: June 30, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Submissions should focus on an unsettled question in federal, state, or international tax law or policy.

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Annual Employee Benefits Writing Competition - June 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.acebc.com/employee-benefits-writing-competition

    Sponsor: The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

    Deadline: June 1, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Papers must deal with employee benefits legal 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.

    Prize Information:

    Alvin D. Lurie Memorial Award - $1,800

    Sidney M. Perlstadt Memorial Award - $1,800

    There are cash awards for 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. Winners will be guests of the College during its annual black-tie dinner to be held in October 2021 in Chicago. The College covers the travel and lodging expenses for the prize recipients as well as that of one guest each.

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Louis Jackson Competition in Employment and Labor Law - June 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/institutes-centers/institute-for-law-and-the-workplace/louis-jackson-writing-competition

    Sponsor:  Jackson Lewis LLP and is administered by IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Institute for Law and the Workplace (ILW)

    Deadline: June 15, 2021

    Essay Topic:
    Judges will consider papers on any topic relating to laws governing the workplace, such as employment law, labor law, employee benefits or employee discrimination.

    Prize Information:

    First Place - $3,000 Scholarship

    Second Place - $1,000 Scholarship

    Second Place - $1,000 Scholarship

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Tannenwald Writing Competition - July 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.wcl.american.edu/impact/initiatives-programs/tannenwald/tannenwald-writing-competition/

    Sponsor: The Theodore Tannenwald. Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and The American College of Tax Counsel

    Deadline: July 9, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Submitted papers must focus primarily upon technical or policy-oriented tax issues relating to any type of existing or proposed U.S. federal or state tax or U.S. federal or state taxation system (including topics relating to tax practice ethical and professional responsibility matters).

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $5,000

    Second Place:  $2,500

    Third Place:  $1,500

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • The Rear Admiral John S. Jenkins Writing Award for Law Students - July 2021

    Competition Website: https://nimj.org/nimj-writing-competitions/rear-admiral-john-s-jenkins-writing-award/

    Sponsor: National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ)

    Deadline: July 31, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Submissions will be evaluated by a committee of law professors and practitioners on the basis of “excellence in writing on military law.”

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $250

     

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Warren E. Burger Prize - July 2021

    Competition Website: https://home.innsofcourt.org/AIC/Awards_and_Scholarships/Warren_E_Burger_Prize/Warren_E._Burger_Prize_Rules.aspx

    Sponsor: American Inns of Court

    Deadline: July 1, 2021

    Essay Topic:

    Authors should address one or more aspects of professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence within the legal profession. The selected issue(s) should be of contemporary significance with clear relevance to the legal community at large.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $5000 and will be published in the South Carolina Law Review.

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition - July 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/awards/writing_competition/

    Sponsor: ABA Criminal Justice Section

    Deadline: July 1, 2021

    Essay Topic: Police Use of Force

    The Supreme Court has held that a police officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures if their use of force was "objectively reasonable" under the totality of the facts and circumstances confronting the officer. Should the “objectively reasonable” standard be changed? Why or why not?

    Further, should the Fourth Amendment require that no reasonable alternative to the use of force, or the amount of force used, existed to accomplish the lawful purpose intended by the officer?  For example, should an officer be required to use verbal de-escalation techniques before using force?  Should the officer have to exhaust all other options before using deadly force?  

    Clear, persuasive, and original analytical reasoning that is well-supported with concrete examples and references is essential and will weigh heavily in the determination of the contest winner.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $2500

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize - July 2021

    Competition Website: https://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/academics/palmer-civil-liberties-prize

    Sponsor: The Chicago-Kent College of Law

    Deadline: July 1, 2021

    Essay Topic: Outstanding book or article on a topic exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society.

    Prize Information:

    First Place:  $10,000

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.

  • James E. Beckley Student Writing Competition - September 2021

    Competition Website: https://piabafoundation.org/programs/

    Sponsor: PIABA Foundation

    Deadline: September 17, 2021

    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:

    First Place:  $1000

    Second Place:  $750

    Third Place:  $500

    Notes: For full submission guidelines and instructions go HERE.