Writing Competitions for Young Lawyers and Law Students

Get published, even win money. Law students and young lawyers can participate in these prestigious writing competitions sponsored by ABA member groups.

Other Young Lawyer and Law Student Opportunities

Career-advancing fellowships, internships & clerkships. Professional recognition through awards and writing competitions. Financial assistance like funded travel and scholarships. Each year the ABA offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students.

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ABA writing competitions encourage and reward writings by law students and young lawyers and promote involvement in our various groups.

ABA writing competitions encourage and reward writings by law students and young lawyers and promote involvement in our various groups.

Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice — Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
  • Description: Created in 2006, the Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition honors the memory of two men who left us too soon, Ernest Gellhorn, a distinguished law dean, administrative law professor, and practitioner who was Chair of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice; and Thomas Sargentich, a distinguished administrative law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law who was a great friend of the Section. The Competition is sponsored by the Section.

    The goal of the Competition is to encourage law students to become involved in the Section, attract students to the administrative law practice fields, and to encourage scholarship in these fields. An Award of $5,000 is presented annually to the winning author, and attendance at the Section’s Annual Administrative Law Conference in October or November each year is included in the Award.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in May.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students; The Competition is open to law students who are, at the time of entry, (a) enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school, (b) members of the ABA and the Section, (c) at least 21 years old, and (d) U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Employees of the ABA, its respective affiliates, and immediate family or household members of such employees are not eligible for the Competition

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Affordable Housing & Community Development Law — Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Affordable Housing & Community Development Law
  • Description: The goal of the competition is to encourage law students to become involved in the Forum. It is also intended to attract students to the affordable housing, community development or pro bono practice fields, and to encourage scholarship in these fields. Each entrant must follow the rules of the competition detailed herein. Eligibility: Open to all law students who are at the time of entry, (a) enrolled in a law school that is at the time of entry, ABA Accredited, (b) members of the ABA and the Forum, (c) at least 21 years old, and (d) U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Employees of the ABA, its respective affiliates, and immediate family or household members of such employees are not eligible for the Competition.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in March.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Antitrust Law — Robert Pitofsky Law Student Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Antitrust Law
  • Description: The goal of the Robert Pitofsky Law Student Writing Competition is to encourage and reward law student writings on antitrust law and competition law subjects of general and current interest. As part of this effort, the ABA will sponsor the Competition which invites editors of law school publications to submit to the ABA Antitrust Law Section published articles on a current topic dealing with antitrust law and consumer protection law. The Competition is designed to attract students to the antitrust law and consumer protection law field and to strongly encourage scholarship in these areas.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in January.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Antitrust Law — Privacy and Information Security Committee Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Writing Competition for Young Lawyers

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Antitrust Law
  • Description: All law students and young lawyers, in their first five years of practice, are invited to submit original , un-published articles, comment or notes on discussing Data Privacy and Cybersecurity topics. A panel of judges will conduct a two-step evaluation process of each submission and select three winners. Each winner will receive a monetary award in varying amounts based on placement. The first place recipient will also have their article published and receive complementary registration, flight and hotel accommodations for the Antitrust Law Section’s annual Spring Meeting.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in January.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students, Young Lawyers

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Antitrust Law — The Harvey Saferstein Consumer Protection Committee Student Essay Contest

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Antitrust Law
  • Description: Second and third year law students are invited to submit original articles on a relevant and timely consumer protection topics. A diverse panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and select three winners. Each winner will receive a monetary award in varying amounts based on placement. The first place recipient will also have their article published and receive complementary registration, flight and hotel accommodations for the Antitrust Law Section’s annual Spring Meeting.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in January.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Armed Forces Law — Law Student Writing Contest of the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law
  • Description: The Law Student Writing Contest of the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law (SCAFL) is a competitive writing contest with the goal of recognizing law students who have exceptional written work that focuses on the military’s application of criminal law—also known as military justice.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in November.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Business Law — Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Business Law
  • Description: 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.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in February.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Construction Law — Law Student Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Construction Law
  • Description: The competition is open to law students in good-standing who were enrolled in an ABA accredited law school any time during calendar years 2021 and 2022.  Papers should address a topical issue of interest to the construction industry. Papers prepared for law school credit are eligible for entry in the competition. Articles prepared for law review, or publication elsewhere, are eligible for the competition as well. Joint papers are not acceptable. Law professors may submit their students’ submission directly to The Forum for consideration.

    If The Forum wishes to publish the winning article or other articles submitted for the competition in its various publications and the article has already been published or is planned for publication, The Forum will publish it as well if the other publication provides its consent. An impartial panel will judge the entries. Criteria for selection include creativity, clarity and precision of writing, strength of argument, novelty of subject, and quality of research.

    The winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000, travel expenses and registration to attend the Annual or Fall Meeting, where a first prize plaque will be presented, a one-year membership in the Forum, and recognition in The Forum newsletter, Under Construction, the Forum Flash, and on The Forum’s website. One or more authors may be determined a finalist and recognized with a plaque and recognition.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in February.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

Criminal Justice —  William W. Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Criminal Justice
  • Description: This Competition is sponsored by Criminal Justice (“Section”) of the American Bar Association (“ABA”), (the “Sponsor”). The goal of the Competition is to encourage law students to become involved in the Section. It is also intended to attract students to the Criminal Justice practice field, and to encourage scholarship in this field. Each entrant must follow the rules of the competition detailed herein.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in July.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Dispute Resolution —  James B. Boskey Law Student Essay Contest

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Dispute Resolution
  • Description: The purpose of the competition is to create greater interest in the field of dispute resolution among law students.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in June.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Environment Energy & Resources — SEER Law Student Writing Competitions

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Environment Energy & Resources
  • Description: SEER sponsors up to eight law student writing competitions each year. Topics vary.
  • Deadline: Varies by topic.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Family Law — Schwab Writing Contest

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Family Law
  • Description: 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.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in April.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Health Law — Health Law Section Law Student Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Health Law
  • Description: The ABA Health Law Section is now accepting entries for our Annual Health Law Student Writing Competition, a writing competition open to any law student in good standing and currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school, over the age of 21, and who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The first place winner will have consideration for publication in The Health Lawyer, the Health Law Section’s award-winning flagship journal, receive a $500 honorarium, airfare, 2 nights hotel, and 2 days $50 per diem to attend our 22nd Annual Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference, April 27-29. 2022 in Miami, FL.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in December.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Infrastructure & Regulated Industries Section — K. William Kolbe Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Infrastructure & Regulated Industries Section
  • Description: The section seeks entries for its writing competition from all law students who are enrolled in ABA-approved law schools and are members of the ABA Law Student Division. The prize is $2,500 and airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the Section’s Fall Council Meeting.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in June.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Public Contract Law — Section of Public Contract Law Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Public Contract Law
  • Description: Through our annual writing competition, the PCL Section introduces itself to the next generation of public contract lawyers. In addition to cash awards, quality papers are considered for publication in the Public Contract Law Journal. Papers should address a topical issue of interest to the public contract and grant law community. The competition is conducted in two divisions — law students and young lawyers/LL.M students. Each division will be judged separately, and separate prizes will be awarded to the winner(s) of each division.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in September.
  • Who is eligible: Young Lawyers, LLM students

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Real Property Trust & Estate Law — Law Student Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Real Property Trust & Estate Law
  • Description: The goal of the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law student writing contest is to encourage and reward law student writing on the subjects of real property or trust and estate law. It is designed to attract students to these law specialties, and to encourage scholarship and interest in these areas.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in May.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Standing Committee on  on Armed Forces Law —  Law Student Writing Contest of the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law
  • Description: The Law Student Writing Contest of the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law (SCAFL) is a competitive writing contest with the goal of recognizing law students who have exceptional written work that focuses on the military’s application of criminal law—also known as military justice.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in November.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

Learn More or Apply Now

Standing Committee on Lawyers and Professional Responsibility — Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Standing Committee on Lawyers and Professional Responsibility
  • Description: Essay contest for law students and young lawyers encouraging scholarship and innovative research and writing in the area of legal malpractice law, professional liability insurance, and loss prevention.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in February.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students, Young Lawyers

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State & Local Government Law — The Urban Lawyer

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: State & Local Government Law
  • Description: The Urban Lawyer (TUL) welcomes submissions of Articles, Comments, Notes, Essays, and Student Notes on issues of significance in state, local, regional or tribal government law or urban legal affairs, including, without limitation the areas of land use, housing, environmental and energy law, ethics, local government, civil rights, employment, labor, public education, elections and voting rights, emergency management, resiliency, public contracts, public finance, the sharing economy and construction law.
  • Deadline: N/A
  • Who is eligible: Law Students, Young Lawyers, Paralegals, Affiliated Professionals

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Taxation — Law Student Tax Challenge

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Taxation
  • Description: An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge (LSTC) is organized by the Section’s Young Lawyers Form. The LSTC asks two-person teams of students to solve a complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice.

    Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division receive a free trip to the Section’s Midyear Meeting, where each team presents its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges.

    The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in November.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Tort Trial & Insurance Practice — Admiralty and Maritime Law Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Tort Trial & Insurance Practice
  • Description: The TIPS Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee offers an annual writing competition for law students interested in the field.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in April.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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Tort Trial & Insurance Practice — Aviation and Space Law Writing Competition

  • Sponsoring ABA Entity: Tort Trial & Insurance Practice
  • Description: The TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee offers an annual writing competition to students interested in the field.
  • Deadline: Applications typically close each year in September.
  • Who is eligible: Law Students

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