Writing Competitions

Below is a list of upcoming writing competitions.  For additional information, please follow the links by clicking on the competition titles.

 Good luck!

APRIL 

Admiralty and Maritime Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 8, 2011.
Topic:  Recent developments in admiralty and maritime law.
Prize:  $500, + up to $500 in expenses to attend the ABA Annual Meeting. 
Length:  Not over 20 pages.

Endangered Environmental Laws Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 11, 2011.
Topic:  Recent developments or trends in U.S. environmental law that have a constitutional law or “federalism” element.  See sample topics at website.
Prize:  $2,000 + publication.
Length:  Not over 50 pages.

AALL/LexisNexis Law Librarianship Award, Student Division
Deadline: April 15, 2011.
Topic:  Any subject relevant to law librarianship.
Prize: $750, plus the opportunity to present paper at the AALL Annual Meeting.
Eligibility: Student Division is open to students in law, library, or information management school.  There is also an open division and a new members division.

Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition
Deadline: April 15, 2010.
Topic: Any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives.
Prize: $500, + expenses to attend the annual meeting of the AALS.
Length: Suggested length 20-35 pages.
Sponsor: Legal History and Rare Books Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.   

University of Connecticut School of Law Student Legal Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 15, 2011 for registration; paper deadline June 1, 2011.
Topic: Legal issues affecting persons struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addiction, or substance abuse.
Prize: 1st place $750; 2nd place $500, 3rd place $250.
Length: 15-30 pages.

Paul Faherty Tax Law Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 15, 2011.
Topic: Any aspect of tax law.
Prize: 1st place $3,000 + web publication; two honorable mentions of $1,000.
Length: 25-30 pages. 

IDEA Student Intellectual Property Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 15, 2011.
Topic:  Intellectual property.
Prize:  1st place $500 + publication; 2nd place $200.
Length:  Not specified. 

Tupper Lake Business Community Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 15, 2011.
Topic: Using the New York town of Tupper Lake as a model, analyze, review, develop and advance both New York and federal legal and equitable theories on behalf of businesses, with a focus on third-party advocacy groups.  
Prize: 1st place $7,500; 2nd place $2,000; 3rd place $500.
Length: 20-30 pages.

University of Connecticut School of Law Student Legal Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 15, 2011 for registration; paper deadline June 1, 2011.
Topic: Legal issues affecting persons struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addiction, or substance abuse.
Prize: 1st place $750; 2nd place $500, 3rd place $250.
Length: 15-30 pages.
Sponsor: University of Connecticut School of Law.  

Virginia State Bar Health Law Section Writing Competition
Deadline: April 15, 2011.
Eligibility:  Virginia residents attending any law school or students at Virginia law schools.
Topic:  Issues in the practice of health law, with preference to topics relevant to contemporary events, addressing unsettled issues of law, or presenting novel perspectives.
Prize:  $750 + publication.
Length:  2,000-2,500 words.
Sponsor:  Health Law Section of the Virginia State Bar.    

Inter-American Bar Association Competition /Best Paper Award
Deadline: April 20, 2011.
Eligibility: Must have been a member of IABA for at least 30 days before summer conference.
Topic: International law topics, especially those dealing with specific conference themes.
Prize: Not specified.
Length: Not specified.
Sponsor: Inter-American Bar Association.  

Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest
Deadline: April 22, 2011 for participant number; April 29, 2011 for submitting paper.
Topic: Family law subjects of national interest.
Prize: Possible publication + complimentary membership in ABA Section of Family Law.
Length: Not over 28 pages.

William W. Greenhalgh Writing Competition
Deadline: April 25, 2011.
Topic: Any timely and important issue of American criminal constitutional procedure of interest to practitioners of criminal law.
Prize: $2,000 + expenses to attend Section’s annual meeting. All entrants receive one year’s free membership in the ABA Section of Criminal Justice.
Length: Not over 4,000 words.

National Law Review Writing Competition
Deadline: Monthly competition.  May issue deadline April 25, 2011.
Topic: Varies monthly.  May issue topic: Tax Law.
Prize: Publication.
Length: Not over 5,500 words.
Sponsor: National Law Review.  

National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies Conference Call for Papers
Deadline: April 29, 2011.
Topic: Multi-disciplinary topics relating to any aspect of the Hispanic and Latino experience.
Prize: None, but abstracts accepted will be presented at the Western Regional Conference on September 29-October 1, 2011.
Length:  The call for papers is for abstracts not to exceed 2 pages.  Presentations may be for 25 or 45 minutes.
Sponsor: National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies

Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics Writing Competition
Deadline: April 29, 2011.
Eligibility:  Co-authored essays are eligible, as well as single-author essays.
Topic: Any issue within the general category of legal ethics.
Prize: $2,500.
Length: Not over 50 pages.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Writing Competition
Deadline: April 30, 2011.
Eligibility: Law student members of the ABA as of the time of submission.
Topic: Recent developments in alternative dispute resolution, covering topics of national rather than local interest.
Prize: $500, publication, and up to $500 to cover attendance at a meeting of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.
SponsorAlternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.  

NACTT Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  April 30, 2011.
Topic:  Any topic concerning Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Prize:  $1,000 + publication.
Length:  Not over 15 pages.

MAY

ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal Writing Competition
Deadline:  May 1, 2011.
Topic: Procedural or substantive issues in international investment arbitration.
Prize: $1,000 + publication.
Length:  10-15 pages.
Sponsor:  International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

National Association of Women Lawyers Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  May 1, 2011.
Topic: Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning women’s rights or the status of women in the law.
Prize: $500 + publication.
Length:  No longer than 15 pages.

NACC Law Student Essay Competition
Deadline: May 1, 2011.
Topic: Legal interests of children.
Prize: $1,000 + scholarship to attend NACC conference + publication.
Length: 10,000 words.
Sponsor: National Association of Counsel for Children.  

Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline: May 1, 2011.
Topic:  Women’s rights or the status of women in the law.
Prize:  $500 + publication.
Length:  Not over 15 pages.
SponsorNational Association of Women Lawyers

Nonsmokers’ Rights Legal Research and Writing Competition
Deadline for proposal: May 1, 2011 (earlier submissions have a better chance of receiving travel grants).
Topic: Ideas for using legal action to advance nonsmokers’ rights.
Length: Initial proposal of not over 1,000 words. Thirty finalists will be invited to make oral presentations.
Prize: 1st place $5,000; 2nd place $3,000; 3rd place $1,000.
Thirty finalists will receive a $1,000 travel grants to attend the June 2010 World Conference on Nonsmokers Rights, present their proposals, and have web publication of their proposals.
Sponsor: National Center for Nonsmokers Rights.   

ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law / College of Labor & Employment Lawyers Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  May 15, 2011.
Topic:  Any aspect of public or private labor or employment law.
Prize: 1st place $1,500 + publication; 2nd place $1,000; 3rd place $500.
Length: Not over 20 pages.
SponsorCollege of Labor & Employment Lawyers.   

Judge John R. Brown Award
Deadline: May 20, 2011.
Papers must be submitted with a letter of recommendation from a law school faculty member or legal professional. See rules for details.
Topic: Any writing on a legal subject.
Prize: $10,000.
Length: No page limit.
Sponsor: Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation.   

IADC Legal Writing Contest
Deadline:  May 20, 2011.
Topic:  Tort law, insurance law, civil procedure, evidence, damages, dispute resolution, professional ethics, or other areas of the law of practical concern to lawyers engaged in the defense or management or the defense of civil litigation.
Prize: 1st place $2,000; 2nd place $1,000; 3rd place $500.
Length: Suggested limit of 12,000 words.
Sponsor: International Association of Defense Counsel.  

Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  May 23, 2011.
Topic:  Issues confronting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex communities.
Prize: 1st place $1,000 + publication + expenses to attend Lavender Law; 2nd & 3rd place, registration for Lavender Law.
Length: Not over 25 pages.
Sponsor: National LGBT Bar Association.   

Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition
Deadline: May 23, 2011.
Topic: Customs and international trade law.
Prize: 1st place $1,000; 2nd place $500.
Length: Not over 40 pages.
Sponsor: The Customs and International Trade Bar Association and Brooklyn Law School.   

Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline: May 27, 2011.
Eligibility:  Virginia residents attending any law school or students at Virginia law schools.
Topic:  Intellectual property law issues or practice.
Prize:  $4,000 + publication.
Length:  25-40 pages.
SponsorIntellectual Property Section of the Virginia State Bar.   

NAELA Elder Law Writing Competition
Deadline: May 30, 2011.
Topic: Legal issues affecting seniors or persons with disabilities.
Prize: 1st place $1,500; 2nd place $1,000; 3rd place $500.  The top eight articles will be published.
Length: Not over 35 pages.
Sponsor: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.    

H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Long Paper Competition
Deadline: May 31, 2011.
Topic: Current legal issues relevant to the regulation of foods, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, or biologics.
Prize: 1st place $4,000; 2nd place $1,000.
Length: 41-100 pages.
Sponsor: The Food and Drug Law Institute.

H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Short Paper Competition
Deadline: May 31, 2011.
Topic: Current legal issues relevant to the regulation of foods, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, or biologics.
Prize: 1st place $4,000; 2nd place $1,000.
Length: Not over 40 pages.
Sponsor: The Food and Drug Law Institute

Domestic Violence and the Law Writing Competition
Deadline:  May 31, 2011.
Topic:  Submissions must further the legal needs of domestic violence victims and their children, or advance efforts to address the incidence, causes, and effects of intimate partner violence.
Prize:  1st place honorarium + publication + web publication; 2nd place web publication; 3rd place web publication.
Length:  Not over 7500 words.
SponsorABA Commission on Domestic Violence.  

Jacques Leroy International Prize
Deadline: May 31, 2011.
Eligibility: Law students under 30 years old.  Submissions must be accompanied by a letter from a law professor.
Topic: Business and human rights.  Submissions may be more broad than the usual law-review type of article.
Prize: Cash prize of 1,000 euros, + expenses to present the paper at the annual congress of the UIA.
Length: 15,000-20,000 characters, plus a 2,000-character summary of the text.
SponsorUnion Internationale des Avocats.    

JUNE

American Judges Association Law Student Essay Competition
Deadline: June 1, 2011.
Topic: Topics vary annually.  The 2011 topic is “Must a minor student be given his or her rights, including a Miranda warning and the right to have a parent present, before being questioned by police on school grounds?”   
Prize: 1st place $3,000; 2nd place $1,500; 3rd place $1,000.
Length: 10-25 pages.
Sponsor: American Judges Association and American Judges Foundation with the support of the National Court Reporters Association.   

Warren E. Burger Writing Competition
Deadline:  June 1, 2011.
Eligibility:  Law students and lawyers.  Joint entries are eligible.
Topic:  Aspects of legal excellence, civility, ethics, or professionalism of contemporary significance.
Prize: $5,000 + publication.
Length: 10,000–25,000 words.
Sponsor: American Inns of Court.   

Employee Benefits Writing Competition (Clarin M. Schwartz & Sidney M. Peristadt Memorial Awards)
Deadline:  June 1, 2011.
Topic:  Any legal topic involving employee benefits law, including but not limited to health or pension benefits, 401(k) plans, severance, executive compensation, spousal and domestic partner benefits, and fiduciary obligations.
Prize:  Two awards of $1,500.
Length  Not over 40 pages.
SponsorAmerican College of Employee Benefits Counsel.    

K. William Kolbe Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  Annually on June 1.
Topic: Issues pertaining to Section’s legal areas, including the communications, cable, internet, electricity, gas, oil, aviation, motor carriers, railroad, and water industries.
Prize: $2,500 + expenses to attend Section’s Fall Council Group Meeting + online publication.
Length: Not over 50 pages.
Sponsor: ABA Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law

Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition
Deadline:  June 1, 2011.
Topic:  Issues of relevance to Asian Pacific Americans and the law, and more broadly on topics of relevance to racial and ethnic minorities and the law.
Prize:  $1,500 + publication.
Length:  Not over 10,000 words, of which not over 6,000 may be text.
SponsorAsian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund

James William Moore Federal Practice Award
Deadline:  Annually on June 1.
Eligibility:  Articles must be nominated by a student publication.
Topic:  Federal civil practice and procedure, including federal courts management, federal appellate procedure, and appropriate dispute resolution.
Prize:  $2,000  + Moore’s Federal Rules Pamphlet (4-volume set).  In addition, the law review submitting the winning article receives $1,000.
Sponsor: LexisNexis.   

Alice Paul Feminist Jurisprudence Writing Competition
Deadline: June 1, 2011.
Eligibility: Co-authored essays are eligible as well as those by a single author.
Topic: Feminist jurisprudence.
Prize: $1,000.
Length: Not over 50 pages.
Sponsor: American University Washington College of Law.  

Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  June 1, 2011.
Topic:  Trusts and estates, broadly defined.  Eligible topics include business or charitable planning; elder law; employee benefits; fiduciary accounting, administration, income taxation, and litigation; estate planning; professional responsibility; substantive laws for gratuitous transmission of property; and wealth transfer taxation.
Prize: 1st place $5,000 + publication; 2nd place $3,000 + online publication; 3rd place $1,000 + online publication.
Length: 20-30 pages.
Sponsor: American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Smith-Babcock-Williams Writing Competition 
Deadline:  June 6, 2011.
Topic:  Planning or areas of law germane to planning, such as land use, local government, or environmental law.
Prize: 1st place $2,500 + publication in The Urban Lawyer; 2nd place $1,000; up to 2 honorable mentions of $250.
Length: Not over 45 pages.
Sponsor: American Planning Association

Cultural Heritage Preservation Student Writing Competition
Deadline: June 10, 2011.
Topic: Any aspect of cultural heritage law including cultural property, art law, historic preservation, indigenous cultures, and intangible heritage. Students may submit their own papers, or faculty may nominate student papers.
Prize: 1st place $1,000 + publication; 2nd place $500 + web publication.
Length: Not specified.
Sponsor: Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.  

James Boskey ADR Writing Competition
Deadline: June 15, 2011.
Topic: Dispute resolution practice, theory, or research.
Prize: $1,000 + online publication.
Length: 15-25 pages.
Sponsor: ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and the Institute for Arbitration Law and Practice, Penn State Dickinson School of Law.  

RPTE Section Student Writing Contest, aka Jacques T. Schlenges Contest, aka Quarles & Brady Contest.
Deadline:  June 17, 2011.
Topic:  Current topics in real property, trust and estate law.
Prize: 1st place $2,500 +  expenses to attend the Section’s Fall Council Meeting; 2nd place $1,500; 3rd place $1,000.
Length: Not over 50 pages.
Sponsor: ABA Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law.   

Animals and the Law Writing Competition
Deadline:  June 30, 2011.
Topic:  Any area of animal law.
Prize:  1st place $1,000; 2nd place $500.
Length:  Not over 25 pages.
SponsorNew York State Bar Association Committee on Animals and the Law.   

California Supreme Court Historical Society Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  June 30, 2011.
Topic:  Any aspect of California legal history from 1846 to the present, ranging from the California Supreme Court, its justices and decisions, to local events of legal historical importance, including biography, significant cases, independent state interpretation, the California Constitution, reorganization of the court system, and areas of law such as criminal law, civil rights, family law, tort liability, environmental law, and taxation.
Prize:  $2,500 + publication.  2nd and 3rd place winners may also be chosen.
Length:  Not over 6,000 words.
SponsorCalifornia Supreme Court Historical Society.      

Environmental Law Essay Contest
Deadline: June 30, 2011.
Topic: Environmental law topics of current interest to Michigan practitioners.
Prize: 1st place $2,000; 2nd place $1,000; 3rd place $500.
Length: 8–20 pages.
Sponsor: Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan

George Hutchinson Writing Competition
Deadline: June 30, 2011.
Topic: Topics within the substance, procedure, or scope of the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes patent and trademark decisions, government contract claims, International Trade Commission, Merit System appeals, and Veterans’ appeals.
Prize: $3,000.  Second and third place prizes may also be awarded.
Length: 20-50 pages.
Sponsor: Federal Circuit Bar Association.   

Edward F. Langs Writing Award
Deadline:  June 30, 2011.
Topic:  Information technology law.
Prize:  Up to three awards; a total of $1,500 to be divided between the authors of the winning essays.
Length: Minimum of 10 pages.
SponsorInformation Technology Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.   

Robert C. Watson Award (formerly AIPLA Fellows Award)
Deadline:  June 30, 2011.  Jointly-authored papers are acceptable.
Topic:  Protection of intellectual property.
Prize:  $2,000 + expenses to attend the AIPLA’s annual meeting in October.
Length:  30-40 pages.
SponsorAmerican Intellectual Property Law Association.    

JULY

Holocaust Remembrance Essay Award
Deadline:  Annually on July 1.
Topic:  The relationship between law, human rights, and the Holocaust.
Prize:  $500 Canadian.
Length: 7,500-10,000 words.
Sponsor: University of Alberta Faculty of Law

IAHA Law Student Writing Competition
Deadline:  July 1, 2011.
Eligibility: Current Illinois residents attending any U.S. law school, and law students attending law schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, or Wisconsin.
Topic: Federal or Illinois health law; must address Illinois law in some manner.
Prize: 1st place $2,500; 2nd place $1,500; 3rd place $500.
Length: Not over 15 pages.
Sponsor: Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys.  

Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize
Deadline:  Annually on July 1.
Eligibility: Law students and scholars.
Topic:  Tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society.
Prize: $10,000.
Length: Article of any length, or book.
SponsorChicago-Kent College of Law

Tannenwald Writing Competition
Deadline: Annually on July 1.
Eligibility: Any law student. Each paper must be sponsored by a law professor.
Topic: Technical or policy-oriented tax issues relating to any type of existing or proposed state or federal tax.
Prize: 1st place $5,000; 2nd place $2,500; 3rd place $1,500.
Length: 25–50 pages.
Sponsor: Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel.   

Eisenberg Prize
Deadline: July 11, 2011.
Topic: Appellate practice and procedure. Articles must have been published in the 12 months preceding the deadline.
Prize: $2,000.
Length: Immaterial.
Sponsor: American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.  

George Jay Joseph Education Law Writing Award
Deadline: July 15, 2011.
Topic: One or more legal issues within the context of education, including public and private K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, especially current and emerging issues in elementary and secondary public education.
Prize: Publication + opportunity to present topic at the ELA’s annual conference.
Length: 35-55 pages.
SponsorEducation Law Association.  

SEAFWA Wildlife and Conservation Law Writing Contest
Deadline: July 31, 2011.
Topic: Participants may select their own topic relating to fish and wildlife, habitat, or conservation law, or choose from the following topics: 1) Constitutional Issues relating to the State Regulation of Hunting and Fishing; 2) Criminal Law Issues Related to the Regulation of Hunting and Fishing; 3) Liability of States for Damage by Wildlife; 4) Privatization of Fish and Wildlife Resources; 5) Issues Arising Under the Endangered Species Act; 6) Regulation of Exotic Wildlife/Holding Wildlife as Pets/Exotic Wildlife Trade & Commerce.
Prize: Publication + opportunity to present topic at the SEAFWA’s annual conference.
Length: Up to pages.