Selection Criteria and Entry Requirements

The American Bar Association has established the following criteria for selecting entries to receive Gavel Awards: the extent to which entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose/objectives; educational value of legal information or issues treated; and the impact on, or outreach to, the public. Please click the link to how to enter.

Instructions - For Entry

Selection Criteria

The American Bar Association has established the following criteria for selecting entries to receive Gavel Awards:

  • extent to which entry addresses the Gavel Awards’ purpose/ objectives;
  • educational value of legal information or issues treated;
  • impact on, or outreach to, the public;
  • thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues;
  • creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and  effectiveness of presentation; and
  • demonstrated technical skill in production of entry.

Entry and Eligibility Requirements

Entries cannot have been previously submitted for the Silver Gavel Awards—unless they are substantially revised and represent new releases or editions.

Entries should be on a single subject or issue or otherwise focus on a coherent theme or tell a cohesive story.  They must be complete—they cannot be treated as representative of work not submitted.

Entries should also not be so lengthy as to burden reviewers or otherwise lessen their impact. Exceedingly “burdensome” entries may be deemed ineligible. There is no restriction on the number of entries publishers and producers may submit.

Particular entries, however, may be submitted in only one category.

Recognizing that certain entries might be eligible under more than one category, the ABA reserves the right to review entries and select finalists and awardees under other categories than those submitted.

The ABA may disqualify any submission not meeting these entry requirements.

Programs or products funded or developed by or in association with the American Bar Association are ineligible for Gavel Awards.

Please note that all entry materials become the property of the American Bar Association and will not be returned. They may be archived.

Award Categories and Specific Requirements

The Silver Gavel Awards recognize work in media and the arts in these categories: Books, Commentary, Documentaries, Drama & Literature, Magazines, Multimedia, Newspapers, Radio and Television. Actual entry materials may be (a) mailed “hard copy” (books only) or submitted electronically: (b) uploaded, or (c) linked to URLs of files hosted online.

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For additional information about the Silver Gavel Awards, please contact:

American Bar Association 
Division for Public Education 
321 N. Clark St., 17.2 
Chicago, IL 60654 
312/988-5719 (phone) 
312/988-5494 (fax attn: Gavel Awards) 
gavelawards@americanbar.org