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The purpose of the Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest is to create greater interest in the field of family law among all law students, and particularly the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association.

This annual contest, conducted by the ABA Section of Family Law, was established by the Toledo Bar Association and the Ohio Bar Foundation as a memorial to Howard C. Schwab, a Past President of the Toledo Bar Association and Past Chairman of the Family Law Committee of the Ohio Bar Association. He was Chairman-Elect of the Section of Family Law at the time of his death on February 24, 1969. In 1985, the Section of Family Law assumed full responsibility for sponsoring this contest.

Each year, the Section of Family Law's Schwab Essay Contest Committee judges eligible essays written by law students to determine first, second, and third-place winners, who are awarded monetary prizes, as well as publication of the winning entries on the Section’s website and possible inclusion in a future issue of the Section’s scholarly journal, the Family Law Quarterly.

Past Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2023 winners!

First Place
Mary J.  "Janie" Nichols
Baylor University School of Law
Waco, TX
“The Privilege of a Presumption: How Same-Sex Couples are Denied Equal Access to a Presumption of Parentage” 

Second Place
Ashtar R. Abboud
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Columbus, OH  
“Personality Disorders and the Parent-Child Relationship: Breaking the Cycle of Generational Trauma in Family Courts” 

Third Place
Emily Dillan
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law
Dartmouth, MA   
“You Got Dreams He’ll Never Take Away: The Role of Protective Employment Legislation in Liberating Survivors of Domestic Violence”

View Past Contest Winners

2024 Contest Information

The entry deadline has passed.

Eligible law students are welcome to submit original essays on any aspect of family law. First, second, and third-place winners are awarded monetary prizes, as well as publication of the winning entries on the Section's website, and more!

Be sure to review the contest rules and entry procedure below before entering. 

Entry Procedure

  1. Download the Schwab Entry Form and fill it out.
  2. Return the completed entry form by e-mail to [email protected] with "Schwab Entry" as the subject.
  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 one (1) electronic copy of the essay and the completed entry form (with assigned number and your signature) to [email protected], Subject: Schwab Essay Submission

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

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 [email protected] or 312-988-5145.