About the Silver Gavel Award

Each year the American Bar Association presents these awards to recognize work in media and the arts published or presented during the preceding year that have been exemplary in helping to foster the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

Submit Entry

A $100-$150 entry fee is required for each entry. Entrants with multiple entries must submit combined payment. The deadline for payment is January 11, 2023. Payment is accepted by credit card using the online form, or check ABA Fund for Justice and Education mailed to the attention of Christina Pluta, ABA Division for Public Education, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago IL 60654.

64th Silver Gavel Awards Presentation

The 64th presentation of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media & the Arts took place virtually on July 13, 2021. The presentation is archived here for viewing.

Click here to view - 2021 Gavel Winners

Standing Committee on Gavel Awards

Entries are first review by a 50-person screening committee. Screeners include lawyers, judges, journalists, scholars, and other volunteers. Finalist entries are reviewed by the ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards for award selection.

Award Categories

Books

Full-length (at least 50,000 words) books of nonfiction with ISBNs. Only “hard copy” entries may be submitted (5 books).

Commentary

Open to commentary, editorials, columns, criticism, editorial cartoons, blogs, and other opinion journalism, regardless of medium of production or dissemination (i.e., print, online, video, and audio entries are all eligible).

Documentaries

Film and video documentaries (non-fiction, unscripted), whether or not they were telecast on television, on the web, or independently screened. Companion websites may be submitted as part of entries.

Drama & Literature

Open to drama and literature, regardless of medium of production or dissemination (i.e., film, television, books and other media are eligible), including docudramas, episodes of dramatic television series, original dramatic films produced for general theatrical release or for television, novels, plays, and short stories may be submitted as part of entries.

Magazines

Any article or series published by a magazine (periodical or journal). Magazines may submit both (or either) print and digital content.

Multimedia

Open to digital and other media entries not subsumed under other award categories. Includes entries representing multiple, hybrid, or convergent media. Must include substantial new content produced during 2020. Online entries must be submitted as ONE URL to be eligible. All digital entries must be publicly accessible through August 31, 2021.

Newspapers

Any news article or series published by a newspaper. This category includes investigative, explanatory and other deadline and non-deadline reporting, as well as features. The newspaper may operate with print or digital formats, or both. Open to dailies and weeklies.

Radio

Any audio program telecast by network, satellite, or individual radio stations. Included in this category are investigative, explanatory, and other deadline or non-deadline reporting, talk radio, and features. Also eligible are original audio webcasts or podcasts. Companion websites may be submitted as part of entries.

Television

Any program (including documentaries) telecast by cable, network, or individual television stations during the period of eligibility. Also eligible are original video webcasts. Companion websites may be submitted as part of entries.

1958-2017 Winners

These past winners have been selected for the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose.