Rules and Entry Information

Overview and Purpose | Rules and Entry Information 
Past Winners

Subject Matter of Essays

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.

Essays should be limited to approximately 5,000 words (25 double-spaced, typewritten pages including footnotes). Longer essays will be judged unfavorably, and those longer than 28 pages will be disqualified. Essays scheduled to be published, and essays that have previously been published, are ineligible for consideration.

The essay format was selected to stimulate creativity of thought. Entries will be judged on the basis of originality, quality of analysis, quality of research, style and organization, and practicality and timeliness of subject.

Authorship

Each entry shall be the original work of a single individual. The ideas and work reflected by each essay must be the author's own. The author must perform all of the key tasks of identifying the topic, researching it, analyzing it, formulating positions and arguments, and writing and revising the paper. The author may accept a reasonable amount of advice from others. For example, the author may obtain a professor's opinion that a proposed topic is a good choice, that a detailed outline should be reorganized, or that a first draft omits a significant subtopic. The author must limit the amount of such advice sought or received, so that the final essay truly reflects the author's own ideas and work, not another's.

Authors may submit only one (1) entry per contest-year; we do not accept multiple submissions.

Eligibility of Contestants

Persons eligible to compete are students at ABA-approved law schools who are legal permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. and who are:

  • second or third-year full-time students;
  • second through fourth-year part-time students; or
  • first-year students enrolled in schools where the subject of family law is part of the first-year curriculum.
Students who are employees of the ABA or immediate family members of ABA officers, directors, or employees are not eligible to compete.

By entering, participants agree that, if chosen as a winner, ABA shall have right of first publication in all media of the winning essays. No essays will be returned to submitters. Winning participants shall be responsible for all taxes associated with receiving an award and will be required to submit a completed W-9 as a condition of receiving any monetary award.

Awards

First Place

  • $1,500.00
  • Certificate of Recognition as First-Place Winner
  • Consideration of essay's publication in Family Law Quarterly
  • Consideration of essay's publication on the ABA Section of Family Law website
  • Letter to Law School Dean
  • One-year complimentary ABA Section of Family Law membership

Second Place

  • $750.00
  • Certificate of Recognition as Second-Place Winner
  • Consideration of essay's publication in Family Law Quarterly
  • Consideration of essay's publication on the ABA Section of Family Law website
  • Letter to Law School Dean
  • One-year complimentary ABA Section of Family Law membership

Third Place

  • $350.00
  • Certificate of Recognition as Third-Place Winner
  • Consideration of essay's publication in Family Law Quarterly
  • Consideration of essay's publication on the ABA Section of Family Law website
  • Letter to Law School Dean
  • One-year complimentary ABA Section of Family Law membership

Winners will be notified by email before the ABA Annual Meeting in early August. Winners must be a member of the ABA to receive a free Section of Family Law membership. (Law students may join the ABA for $25.)

Entry Procedure

Law students interested in entering the contest should download the Schwab Entry Form linked below and fill it out by April 18, 2014. Once the form has been filled out, contestant should return it (details below) to be assigned an entry number. The assigned entry number must then be placed in the upper right-hand corner on each page of the essay. Contestant's name must not be on any copy of the submitted essay. Judges will not know contestants' identities.

A total of seven (7) copies of the essay and two (2) entry forms (with assigned number) should be submitted. (Details below)

  1. Download the Schwab Entry Form and fill it out.

  2. Return the completed entry form by e-mail to familylaw@americanbar.org with Schwab Entry as the subject.

    Your completed entry form must be received by Friday, April 18, 2014, so we may assign you a number.

  3. The ABA will then e-mail you an electronic copy of the entry form with an assigned number.

  4. Place the assigned number in the upper right-hand corner of each page of the essay. (Contestant's name must not appear anywhere on the essays.)

  5. Send six (6) hard copies and the completed entry form (with assigned number and signature) to:

    Schwab Essay Contest
    ABA Section of Family Law
    321 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60654


  6. Send one (1) electronic copy of the essay and the completed entry form (with assigned number) to familylaw@americanbar.org, Subject: Schwab Essay Submission

Please Note: We will only accept one (1) entry per author; we do not accept multiple submissions.

DEADLINE: All entries must be postmarked on or before May 2, 2014. (Remember, in order to be assigned a number, you must send us your entry form by April 18, 2014.)

The ABA will confirm receipt of entries via e-mail.

Questions regarding the contest should be directed to the ABA Section of Family Law at 312-988-5145.

Advertisement