This database contains information about legal writing contests open to students. It is maintained by the editors of the New York Law School Law Review as a free resource to NYLS students and others. You may search the database using the below field or click the arrows to sort by column.
The database is updated on a monthly basis. If a contest deadline has passed, but a new deadline hasn’t yet been announced, the passed deadline is retained in the database for your reference. A contest’s deadline usually occurs at about the same time each year. Be sure to visit a contest’s homepage to confirm the most recent and complete information, guidelines, and deadlines. To report errors or submit information about new contests, please email Steven Cunningham, Publication Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category Sponsor Contest Name Deadline Top Prize Topic More Info
Tort Law Public Justice Foundation The Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Contest 3/31/2014 $5,000 "Is democracy for sale?"
Administrative Law ABA Admin. Law and Regulatory Practice Section Gelhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Competition 5/01/2014 $5,000 and paid trip to fall conference. Discuss any topic related to administrative law. Website
Administrative Law American Constitution Society The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law 2/07/2014 $1,500 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. Website
Business Law ABA Business Law Section Mendes Hershman Award Student Writing Contest 8/1/2014 $2,500 ABA-accredited law schools may nominate high quality papers on a business law topic written in the 2012-2013 or current academic year by a student currently enrolled in the law school's J.D. program. Website
Federal Law Federal Circuit Bar Association George Hutchinson Writing Competition 7/1/2014 $3,000 Papers must deal with a topic that lies within the substance, procedure, or scope of the specialized jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Intellectual Property Univ. of New Hampshire, IDEA intellectual property law review IDEA Student IP Writing Competition 5/16/2014 $500 and publication in IDEA. Intellectual property law. Website
General Law American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize 7/01/2014 $5,000 A topic addressing issues of legal excellence, civility, ethics and professionalism. Website
Securities Law Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni Student Writing Competition 11/15/2013 $5,000 for first place
$3,000 for second place
$2,000 for third place
Any subject in the field of securities law.
Financial Services Law The American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers Writing Competition 12/01/2014 $1,000 for student articles. Eligible entries will discuss some aspect of consumer financial services law. Website
LGBT The Williams Institute Dukeminier Awards Student Writing Competition 1/17/2014 $1,000 Entry topics should focus on a cutting-edge legal issue affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender communities. Website
Tax Law Federal Bar Association Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition 1/06/2014 $2,000 A topic concerning federal taxation. Website
International Law ABA International Law Section Rona R. Mears Student Writing Competition 08/15/2014 $5,000 Russia, the Crimea and International Law Website
American Indian Law Univ. of Oklahoma College of Law, American Indian Law Review Student Writing Competition 1/31/2014 $1,000 and publication in the American Indian Law Review for first place
$500 for second place
$250 for third place
Any issue concerning American Indian Law. Website
Environmental Law Environmental Law Institute Constitutional Environmental Law
Student Writing Competition
4/7/2014 $2,000 and publication in the Environmental Law Reporter. Any topic addressing recent developments or trends in U.S. environmental law that have a significant constitutional or “federalism” component. Website
Construction Law ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Law Student Writing Competition 12/31/2013 $2,000 and a trip to the Forum's annual meeting. Any topic related to construction law. Website
Entertainment Law The GRAMMY Foundation Entertainment Law Initiative Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition 1/04/2014 $5,000 Entrants must identify, research and write an essay with a proposed solution on a compelling legal issue confronting the music industry. Website
Asian Pacific Americans Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition 6/15/2014 $1,500 and publication in the Asian Pacific American Law Journal. Any topic reasonably related to Asian Pacific Americans and the law. Website
Civil Defense International Association of Defense Counsel IADC Legal Writing Contest 5/16/2014 $2,000 Subjects in the fields of tort law, insurance law, civil procedure, evidence or other areas of the law of practical concern to lawyers engaged in the defense or management of the defense of civil litigation. Website
Civil Liberties Chicago-Kent College of Law Roy C. Palmer
Civil Liberties Prize
7/01/2014 $10,000 The tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society. Website
Disability Law Mercer University School of Law and the American Bar Association Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law Adam A. Milani Disability Law Writing Competition 6/04/2013 $300 to $1,000 Any aspect of disability law, theory, or practice the contestant chooses. Website
California Legal History The California Supreme Court Historical Society Student Writing Contest 6/30/2014 $2,500 and publication in the Society's journal. Any aspect of California legal history in any time period from 1846 to the present.
Constitutional Law American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition 02/14/2014 $3,000 first prize
Two $1,000 runner-up prizes
Papers furthering and promoting a progressive vision of the Constitution, law, and public policy. Website
Employment and Labor Law Jackson Lewis LLP
the Institute for Law and the Workplace
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition 1/21/2014 $3,000 and two $1,000 awards for the top three entries Any topic relating to the law governing the workplace, such as employment law, labor law, employee benefits, or employment discrimination. Website
Medical Law American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition in Law, Medicine & Bioethics 1/06/2014 $1,000 Any aspect of legal medicine, including medical licensure and regulation of the procession, business aspects of medical practice, liability of physicians, hospitals, managed care organizations, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, public health law, the physician-patient relationship, care of special patients, food and drug law, medical research, forensic science, and the history of legal medicine. Website
International and Transnational Law Univ. of Iowa College of Law International and Comparative Law Program Trandafir Writing Competition 3/21/2014 $2,000 and publication in the Transnational Law &
Contemporary Problems Journal.
Any topic of contemporary international business or economic concern with a legal nexus. Website
Criminal Justice ABA Criminal Justice Section William W. Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition 4/10/2013 $2,000 and travel to a section meeting. Any timely and important issue of American criminal constitutional procedure of interest to practitioners of criminal law. 2012 PDF
Domestic Violence ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence Law Student Writing Competition 5/30/2014 Publication in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. Submissions must further the legal needs of victims of domestic violence or domestic violence victims and their children, or advance efforts to address the incidence, causes and effects of intimate partner violence. Website
Family Law ABA Section of Family Law Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest 4/18/2014 $1500, Includes certificate of recognition and one-year section membership. The subject may be any aspect of family law. Entrants are encouraged to write on subjects of national interest. Entrants must apply for an entry number by April 27, 2012. Website
Dispute Resolution ABA Section of Dispute Resolution James B. Boskey Law Student Essay Contest 6/13/2014 $1,000 The essay may address any aspect of dispute resolution practice, theory or research that the contestant chooses. Website
Securities Arbitration and Securities Law Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association James E. Beckley Student Writing Competition 9/19/2014 $1,000 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. Website
Reproductive Rights Law Students for Reproductive Justice Sarah Weddington Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights 1/15/2014 $750 and publication in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. "Legislating Stereotypes: Reproductive Rights Rollback in the States." Website
Alcohol Law Center for Alcohol Policy Essay Contest 11/17/2014 $5,000 As states contemplate the legalization of prohibited products, like marijuana, what are some lessons policymakers and regulators can learn from the movement to end alcohol Prohibition in the 1930s? Website
Trusts and Estates American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition 6/15/2014 $5,000 and publication in the ACTEC Law Journal. The paper must relate to the area of trusts and estates, broadly defined. Website
Intellectual Property N.Y. Intellectual Property Law Assoc. Hon. William C. Conner Intellectual Property Law Writing Competition 3/07/2014 $1,500 Any of the traditional subject areas of intellectual property, i.e., patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair trade practices and antitrust. Website
Antitrust Law N.Y. State Bar Assoc. Section of Antitrust Law Law Student Writing Competition 1/31/2014 $2,000 Law students currently enrolled or graduating can write eligible articles of general interest to the antitrust law community, including: Civil and Criminal Antitrust Law, Competition Policy, Consumer Protection, and International Competition Law. Website
General Law Brown Sims Judge John R. Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing 6/6/2014 $10,000 There is no page limitation or restriction on the topic except that the writing must be on a legal subject. Website
Children and Family Law National Assoc. of Counsel for Children Law Student Essay Competition 7/01/2014 $1,000 Advancing the legal interests of children
Tax Law Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation Tannenwald Writing Competition 7/01/2014 $5,000 Any federal or state tax-related topic. Website
Humanitarian Law and International Law American Univ. Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition 2/01/2015 1. The Organizers will grant two awards for the two best papers submitted. The Organizers reserve the right to make one award or no award in the event that the submitted articles presented do not meet the minimum requirements and standards as determined by the Organizers. The Award for the two winning authors will consist of:
a. A one-year student membership with the American Society of International Law;
b. The opportunity to present papers at an virtual conference that will be broadcast on the webpage of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law; and
c. A certificate confirming that the student has won the 2014 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition.
The theme for the 2015 Competition is "Transitional Justice, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law" Website
Legal History American Assoc. of Law Libraries, Legal History and Rare Books Section Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition 4/01/2013 $500 and expenses for the AALL annual meeting. Any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. Website
Labor and Employment Law The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Law Student Writing Competition 5/15/2014 $1,500 and publication in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. Any aspect of public or private sector labor and/or employment law relevant to the American labor and employment bar. Website
Homelessness, Mental Illness, Addiction, and Substance Abuse Univ. of Connecticut School of Law Student Legal Writing Competition 6/01/2013 $750 Entrants should submit a paper on a legal issue affecting persons struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addiction, or substance abuse. Website
Urban Planning American Planning Association Planning & Law Division Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition 6/06/2014 $2,500 Entries should demonstrate original thought on a question of significance in either city planning or associated areas of law. Website
Bankruptcy American Bankruptcy Institute Law Student Writing Competition 3/03/2014 $4,000 and publication. Current issues regarding bankruptcy jurisdiction, bankruptcy litigation, or evidence in bankruptcy cases or proceedings. Website
Art and Preservation Law Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation Student Writing Competition 6/30/2014 $1,000 Any aspect of cultural heritage law, including art, cultural property, historic preservation, indigenous peoples, and intangible heritage (but not intellectual property, except as it relates to indigenous peoples or intangible heritage). Website
Environmental Law Environmental Law
Section of the State Bar of Michigan
Environmental Law Essay Contest 6/30/2014 $2,000 and publication in the Michigan Environmental Law Journal. Any environmental law topic of current interest to Michigan practitioners. Website
Federal Law Court of Federal Claims Bar Association Law Student Writing Competition 7/26/2013 $2,000 A topic that lies within the substance, procedure, or scope of the specialized jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Website
Food and Drug Law The Food and Drug Law Institute H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competitions 6/08/2014 $4,000 Papers should provide an in-depth analysis of a current legal issue concerning food, drugs, animal drugs, biologics, cosmetics, diagnostics, dietary supplements, medical devices or tobacco. Website
Intellectual Property American Intellectual Property Law Association Robert C. Watson Award 6/30/2014 $2,000 A subject relating to the protection of intellectual property. Website
Intellectual Property and Trademark Law International Trademark Association Ladas Memorial Award 1/17/2014 $2,000 and publication in the Trademark Reporter. Trademark law or a matter that directly relates
to or affects trademarks.
National Security ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security National Security Law Student Writing Competition 10/01/2013 $500 and registration for the National Security Law Conference. This year’s writing competition encourages a scholarly debate regarding current issues affecting US national security, the Constitution and the First Amendment .... Consider some of the cases in which the necessity to draw these lines has arisen. How should those lines be drawn and in what circumstances? Website
The Holocaust Univ. of Alberta Holocaust Remembrance Essay Award 7/01/2013 $500 (CAD) Essays can be on any topic, and concern any matter, provided only that they somehow address the relationship between law and the Holocaust. Website
Human Rights Univ. of Virginia School of Law Human Rights Program and the Virginia Journal of International Law Virginia Law Human Rights Student Scholars Writing Competition 6/28/2013 $500 and consideration for publication in the journal. All student papers relating to human rights law broadly. Website
Pharmacy Law American Society for Pharmacy Law Larry M. Simonsmeier Writing Award 6/30/2013 An honorarium plus support for travel to the ASPL Annual Meeting, A paper relating to the the interests of ASPL published within the past 2 years. Website
Antitrust Law ABA Section of Antitrust Law Law Student Writing Competition 1/31/2014 $2,000 Write an article about antitrust.
Law students currently enrolled or graduating can write eligible articles of general interest to the antitrust law community, including: Civil and Criminal Antitrust Law, Competition Policy, Consumer Protection, and International Competition Law.
Environmental Law NY State Bar Assoc. Environmental Law Section Professor William R. Ginsberg Memorial Essay Contest 6/01/2014 $1,000 and publication. Any topic in environmental law. Website
Law Libraries American Assoc. of Law Libraries and LexisNexis Librarianship Award, Student Division 5/15/2014 $650 Any subject relevant to law librarianship. Website
Utility, Communications, and Transportation Law ABA Section of Public Utility, Communications, and Transportation Law K. William Kolbe Writing Competition 6/01/2014 $2,500, membership, and travel to fall meeting. A current topic of general interest in a legal area covered by the Section. Website
Bankruptcy International Insolvency Institute Prize in International Insolvency Studies 3/31/2014 $3,000 and an invitation to present at the Institute's annual conference in Paris. Legal research, commentary, or analysis on topics of international insolvency and restructuring significance and on comparative international analysis of domestic insolvency and restructuring issues and developments. Website
Business Law N.Y. State Bar Association Business Law Section Student Writing Competition 8/15/2013 $1,500 A topic relevant to the section's audience. Website
eDiscovery Dish Network Best in Class eDiscovery Legal Research and Writing Competition 10/18/2013 $3,500 For the 2013 competition, submissions must address the following topic: What changes should be made to the civil discovery rules to better facilitate the just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of matters? Website
General Law Scribes American Society of Legal Writers Law-Review Award Competition 4/19/2013 A plaque and recognition at the National Conference of Law Reviews dinner. The submission must be a student-authored note or comment that has been, or will be, published between June 1, 2011, and May 31, 2012. Website
Sports Law Marquette Univ. Law School National Sports Law Student Writing Competition 6/21/2013 An invitation to attend the National Sports Law Institute's annual conference at no cost and an offer to publish in the Marquette Sports Law Review. Any sports law related topic. Website
Technology Law Berkeley Technology Law Journal Spring 2014 Writing Competition 3/1/2014 $2,000 and publication in the Journal. A wide variety of topics at the intersection of law and technology, including but not limited to: intellectual property, antitrust, First Amendment, entertainment and new media, telecommunications, biotechnology, internet, and cybercrime. Website
Gender Law Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice The Catherine Albiston Prize for Recent Developments on Gender, Law & Justice 5/15/2013 Publication in the Journal. Submissions may include research, analysis, narrative, theory, and commentary that critically examine the intersection of gender with one or more other axes of subordination, including, but not limited to, race, class, sexual orientation, and disability. Website
Workers Compensation Law 2013 College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers 2013 College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Law Student Writing Competition 1/15/2014 $1,500 and considered for publication in Workers' First Watch. 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.
Technology Law IT-Lex Journal Student Writing Competition 5/02/2014 First place will receive $6,000.00, second place $2,000.00 and third place $1000.00. Plus, the winners will receive invitations to become Members of IT-Lex and to join the IT-Lex Law Review. Write about any issue within the areas of electronic discovery, privacy, social media, security, or wherever your technology interests lie. Website
Tort Trial and Insurance Law ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Annual Law Student Writing Competition 4/01/2014 $1500 In celebration of TIPS' 80th Anniversary, they have selected a special topic for the competition -- "The New Deal." Website
Food and Drug Law University of Texas at Austin International Conference on Food Studies 7/02/2013 Present your paper at the Conference in October, 2013 Theme 1: Food Production and Sustainability
Theme 2: Food, Nutrition and Health
Theme 3: Food Politics, Policies and Cultures
Energy Law Intitute of Energy Law Hartrick Scholar Writing Competition 12/20/2013 $2500 The general subject for this year’s competition is any topic related to energy development. This includes, for example, topics concerning oil and gas law, alternative energy resources, energy regulation, and environmental regulation of the energy industries. Website
Criminal Law and/or Criminal Procedure Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California Fourth Annual Competition for Student Papers in Criminal Law and/or Criminal Procedure 2/28/2014 $1500 cash prize, one year student membership to Criminal Law Section and paper will be published in Criminal Law Journal The paper must pertain to criminal law and/or to criminal procedure, with a particular focus on contemporary issues of concern in the State of California. Papers should be original and follow the citation style of The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation.
Papers submitted to the Competition must be in Word format and sent by e-mail attachment to each of the Criminal Law Journal co-editors:
Anne Perry (Anne.Perry2@usdoj.gov), Decio Rangel, Jr. (DecioRangelLaw.com), and Lani Biafore (email@example.com).
Election Law Public Justice Hogan/Smoger Access To Justice Essay Contest 3/31/2014 $5000 and free 2013 Public Justice membership For the 2013 contest, writers should address the question, "Is Democracy for Sale?"
•Have Citizens United's holdings run amok?
•Legal challenges left to Super Pacs?
•Can funding disclosure be required?
Diversity Charles Darwin University International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations 2/06/2014 Presenation at conference and possible publication Proposals are invited that address issues of diversity through one of the following categories:
Theme 1: Identity and Belonging
Theme 2: Education and Learning in a World of Differences
Theme 3: Organizational Diversity
Theme 4: Community Diversity and Governance
Legal Ethics ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability 2014 Bert W. Levit Essay Contest 2/21/2014 $5000 This year's contest hypothetical involves questions about a law firm's potential malpractice exposure when it relied upon a third-party vendor to provide document review services for a client, which ultimately resulted in the release of privileged documents Website
Women's Rights National Association of Women Lawyers 2012-13 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition 5/1/2014 $500 and publication in NAWL's Women Lawyers Journal Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning women’s rights or the status of women in
Defense Litigation International Association of Defense Counsel 2014 Legal Writing Contest 5/16/2014 $2000 and plaque Entrants must write on subjects in the fields of tort law, insurance law, civil procedure, evidence or other areas of the law of practical concern to lawyers engaged in the defense or management of the defense of civil litigation. The contest is judged by a committee of the IADC. Website
Elder Law NYSBA Elder Law Section 2013 Elder and Special Needs Law Journal Diversity Writing Competition 4/25/2013 $500 and publication Any law or legal issue affecting seniors and/or persons with disabilities, with a specific focus on historically underserved populations. Examples include, but are not limited to, access to education, healthcare and housing. Website
International Law Union Internationale des Avocats Jacques Leroy International Prize Student Competition 6/30/2013 1000 euros (approximately $750) Students who wish to participate in this prize must send a dissertation (plea, study, commentary of a practice case) that deals with the following theme: "Fair Trade: how can we establish rules that are specific and realistic?" Website
Federal Civil Procedure LexisNexis James William Moore Federal Practice Award 6/3/2013 $2000 The principal subject of the submitted paper must be federal civil practice and procedure, including the civil jurisdiction and venue rules of the federal courts 2013 PDF
Legal Ethics University of Notre Dame Law School Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics Writing Competition 4/26/2013 $2500 Entries should concern any issue within the general category of legal ethics Admiralty and Maritime Law American Bar Association TIPS Admiralty & Maritime Law Student Writing Competition 4/11/2014 $500 Essays should address a recent development in admiralty and maritime law.
Entrants are encouraged to write on subjects of national interest, rather than state-specific
Reproductive Freedom Americans United for Life Legal Writing Competition 9/20/2013 $1000 and publication in Human Life Review Essays should write a mock Supreme Court brief overturning Roe v. Wade Website
Medical-Legal Interprofessional Collaboration Florida State University Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law Mollie and Paul Hill Student Writing Competition 1/2/2015 $250 Original papers submitted by a law student and a medical student or medical resident in response to a question pertaining to collaboration between the medical and legal professions Website
Labor and Employment Law New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section 2013 Dr. Emanuel Stein and Kenneth D. Stein Memorial Writing Competition 12/6/2014 $3000 first prize
$2000 second prize
$1000 third prize
Any current issue involving labor or employment law. The scope of permissible topics for the article is broad, i.e., any aspect of public or private labor or employment law. Alternative Dispute Resolution CPR Institute Joseph T. McLaughlin Original Student Aricle or Paper 11/1/2013 Award criteria focuses on processes, techniques, systems, commitment, and scholarship which address the resolution, prevention or creative management of major disputes involving public or business institutions between corporations, between government and corporations, or among multiple parties. Entertainment, arts, or sports law Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and BMI Annual Phil Cowan Memorial/BMI Scholarship Writing Competition 12/12/2013 $2500 scholarship Each scholarship candidate must write an original paper on any legal issue of
current interest in the area of entertainment, arts, or sports law.
Global Markets John Marshall Law School Global Markets Law Journal Writing Competition 02/15/2014 $3,000 first prize
$1,500 first runner-up
$500 second runner-up
Students must submit an original essay on a topic of his/her choice which addresses some aspect of the law of capital markets including securities, commodities, futures, options, derivatives, and related issues. Website
Real Property Texas A&M Journal of Real Property Law 2014 National Writing Contest 06/15/2014 $750 first prize
$500 second prize
$250 third prize
3 articles will be published
There are cash prizes for the top three papers in addition to the opportunity to be published. The Journal is seeking unpublished papers from current students including students that will graduate this semester (Spring 2014). The papers must touch on a real property topic, but this is to be interpreted broadly. Papers written for rigorous writing credit are encouraged. Website
Social Insurance National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) First Annual Law Student Writing Award 09/15/2014 $2500 Relevant topics might include analysis of legal and policy issues relating any social insurance program. These issues include but are not limited to long-term care, Social Security, Social Security Disability, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, related public assistance and private employee benefits. Nominations of comparative and interdisciplinary work relating to social insurance protections and policies are encouraged. Website