Law Student

Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest

About the Contest

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.

2021 Contest Information

The Section is now accepting entries for the 2021 contest! Eligible second or third-year 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. Winners will be notified via email in July 2021.

Read Contest Rules

Download Entry Form 

Entry Procedure

  1. Download the Schwab Entry Form and fill it out.
  2. Return the completed entry form by e-mail to with "Schwab Entry" as the subject.
    Your completed entry form must be received by Friday, April 9, 2021, so we may assign you a number. No submissions after April 9, 2021 will be accepted.
  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, Subject: Schwab Essay Submission

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

DEADLINE: All essays must be e-mailed on or before April 23, 2021. Remember, in order to be assigned a number, you must send us your entry form by April 9, 2021. These dates must be strictly adhered to.

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 or 312-988-5145.

Past Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!

First Place
Kharis Lund
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
New York, NY
"Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Religious Exemption Laws for Discriminatory Private Agencies Violate the Constitution and Harm LGBTQ+ Families"

Second Place
Daniel J. Malkin
Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law
Malibu, CA
“Germline Editing Using CRISPR: Why A Moratorium Is Not The Solution” 

Third Place
John T. Koch
South Texas College of Law Houston
Houston, TX
“At the Bottom of Pandora’s Box - Hope for Indigent Parents"

View Past Contest Winners