April 15, 2019

Mendes Hershman Award


The Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest is a highly regarded legal writing competition that encourages and rewards law students for their outstanding writing on business law topics. The distinguished and highly-regarded former Business Law Section Chair, Mendes Hershman (1974-1975) lends his name to this legacy.

2017-2018 First-Place Winner, Kristopher Kalkowski

2017-2018 First-Place Winner, Kristopher Kalkowski

2017-2018 Second-Place Winner, Lisa Bei Li

2017-2018 Second-Place Winner, Lisa Bei Li

2017-2018 Third-Place Winner, Emily C. Atmore

2017-2018 Third-Place Winner, Emily C. Atmore

Contest Guidelines

Click here for the complete contest rules.

Entrant Criteria:

Author of the paper must be a student enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school’s J.D. or LLM program, in good standing, at the time of submission (submissions for the 2018-2019 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest will be accepted starting on November 15, 2018).

A student does not need to be a member of the Business Law Section to enter the contest.

Submission Criteria:

Papers must be written in 2018-2019 or the current academic year.

The paper may be specifically prepared for this contest; submitted in a class, seminar, or as an independent study; or a proposed law review/journal note, comment or article.

Papers submitted are normally 20-30 pages long, but in any event should not exceed 100 pages of double-spaced typed text, including footnotes.

Papers that have been submitted to or published by a student publication are acceptable for submission to the contest. The submission entry form must indicate to which publications the work has been submitted and if it has been published.


The papers will be judged on research and analysis, choice of topic, writing style, originality, and contribution to the literature available on the topic. Depending on the topic, prior publication, and other factors, a previously unpublished first place winning essay may be considered for publication in a Section publication.


The prizes for the writing contest are:

  • First Place: $1,000 cash prize.
  • Second Place and Third Place winners: eligibility to have their essays considered for publication in Business Law Today, the premier digital platform of curated, peer-reviewed content for the ABA Business Law Section.

Outstanding First Place papers may also be included in The Business Lawyer, a quarterly publication which is the premier business law journal in the country.

Application Process

To Apply:

The Business Law Section is now accepting submissions for the 2018-2019 Writing Contest cycle.

Please download the 2018-2019 submission entry form here.

All entries must be received by Friday, February 15, 2019.

Please contact Lilah Bruton with any questions by email (Khalilah.Bruton@americanbar.org) or at 312-988-6398.


  • All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee after the February 15, 2019 deadline.
  • All applicants will be notified of their application’s status by Spring 2019.

2019 Winners

First Place: Dhruv Chand Aggarwal, Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut

Title: “Federalism, Indemnification, and the Soul of American Corporate Law”

Second Place: Rachel Miller, Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, IN

Title: "A Material Problem with Cybersecurity Disclosures”

Third Place: Kelly Krause, Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI

Title: “Turning Wisconn Valley into the Next Silicon Valley: Reforming Wisconsin Non-Compete Law to Attract High-Tech Employers”

2018 Winners

First Place: Kristopher Kalkowski, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Title: “Recognizing an Overcorrection: A Proposal for Nevada’s Policy on Non-Compete Agreements”

Second Place: Lisa Bei Li, The George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC

Title: "Entire Fairness: A Call to Preserve Delaware Doctrine”

Third Place: Emily C. Atmore, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Title: “Killing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg: Outdated Employment Laws Are Destroying the Gig Economy”

2017 Winners

First Place
Timothy Snyder
Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia
Title: "You're Fired!  A Case for Agency Moderation of Machine Data in the Employment Context"

Second Place
Andrew J. Pecoraro
William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, Virginia
Title: "Drawing Lines in the Cloud: The Implications of the Second Circuit Decision in  Microsoft Corp. v. United States"

Third Place
Kerri Mullen
George Washington Law School, Washington, D.C.
Title: "Fired by Fine Print: How Predispute Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Exclude Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers from Antiretaliation Protection"


"Business Law" is a broad category. Without attempting to define the area precisely, the subject is intended to include matters within law school curricula in courses entitled:

  • Agency
  • Creditor's Rights
  • Bankruptcy
  • Financial Institutions
  • Business Law
  • Employment Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Insurance Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Oil and Gas Law
  • Consumer Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Contracts
  • Remedies
  • Corporate Finance
  • Secured Transactions
  • Corporate Governance
  • Securities Regulations
  • Corporations
  • Uniform Commercial Code