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Us Naval Institute Essay Contest House

Get published and win rewards. As a Law Student Division member, you are eligible to participate in ABA law student writing competitions sponsored by ABA specialty groups. Some writing competitions even offer monetary awards and publishing credit.

For more information, please contact the sponsoring entity directly. Need help finding an entity?

ABA Writing Competitions

ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Entry Deadline: May
Award: Trip to New York City, hotel  for three nights and a $1,500 cash prize.

Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Contest
Entry Deadline: March
Award: $500; round-trip airfare and accommodation to attend the Section’s Fall Conference; and possible publication in Administrative and Regulatory Law News.

ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability and Long & Levit LLP – Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest
Entry Deadline: March 9, 2018
Award: $5,000 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to the Spring 2018 National Legal Malpractice Conference in Washington, DC, April 25–27, 2018.

ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources – Endangered Species Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: May 18, 2018
Award: First place: $1,000 cash prize, second place: $750 cash prize, third place: $500 cash prize.

ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources – Public Land Law and Policy Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: May 31, 2018
Award: First place: $1,000 cash prize.

Alternative Dispute Resolution James Boskey Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: June
Award: $1,000 and posting on the Section’s website.

Section of Antitrust Law – Law Student Writing Competition
Award: $2,500 and Free admission and round-trip airfare to Spring Meeting,Announcement in upcoming issue of Antitrust, the Section’s magazine and the section’s e-magazine.

ABA Forum on Construction Law’s Law Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: June 5.
Award: Cash prize of $2,000; travel expenses and registration to attend the next fall meeting of the ABA Forum on Construction Law (where a first prize plaque will be presented); a one-year membership in the Forum and recognition in both the Forum newsletter, Under Construction, and on the Forum’s website.

Criminal Justice Annual William W. Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: April
Award: $2,500; expense-paid trip to ABA Annual Meeting; and possible publication in Criminal Justice magazine.

Disability Rights Adam A. Milani Writing Competition
Entry deadline: June
Award: $300 to $500; possible publication in the Disability Rights Reporter.

Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: May
Award: Publication in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law Resolution from the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and honorarium.

Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Student Writing Competition
Postmarked Deadline: March
Award: Published in an ABA publication, a special combined edition newsletter of the Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee and the Energy and Environmental Markets and Finance Committee.

Family Law Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest
Entry Deadline: April
Award: Possible publication in Family Law Quarterly and complimentary one-year membership in the ABA Section of Family Law.

16th Annual ABA Health Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline:  12:00 p.m. (CT), December 1, 2017
Award: First place: Publication in The Health Lawyer, a $500 honorarium, and
attendance at the ABA’s Emerging Issues in Healthcare conference.

Law and National Security Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: August
Award: $500; free registration to the 21st Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference (FNSL); air travel and one night’s lodging to FNSL to receive award; and possible publication in the National Security Law Report.

Public Contract Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: September
Award: $5,000; publication in the Public Contract Law Journal; and possible presentation of paper at the Federal Procurement Institute.

Public Utility, Communications and Transportation K. William Kolbe Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: June
Award: $2,500; free membership in the Section for one year after graduation; and airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the Section’s Fall Council Group Meeting.

Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Student Writing Contest
Entry Deadline: June
Award: $2,000; expense-paid trip to attend the Section’s Fall Council Meeting; and one-year free Section membership.

State and Local Government Smith-Babcock-Williams Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: June
Award: 2,500 and possible publication in The Urban Lawyer.

Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: April
First Place Award: $1,500; airfare and lodging to ABA Annual Meeting; and possible publication in Tort Trial & Insurance Law Journal. Second Place Award: $500. All winners will be announced in the Section’s magazine, The Brief. For more information, rules and criteria, contact Linda Wiley (312.988.5673)

Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: April
Award: $500; financial assistance to attend the ABA Annual Meeting ($500 maximum).

Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: April
Award: $500; financial assistance to attendance the ABA Annual Meeting ($500 maximum).


Other Writing and Essay Contests

US Court of Federal Claims Bar Association Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: July 14
Award: $3,500 cash prize and an opportunity to be published via the Society’s journal, California Legal History. Tell me more

California Supreme Court Historical Society Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: June 30
Award: $2,500 cash prize and an opportunity to be published via the Association’s website. $500 for second place, $250 for third. Tell me more

Center for Legal & Court Technology
Innovative Legal Issues Likely to Arise from Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: December 1

Award: $2,500 cash prize for first place, $1,500 for second, and $1,000 for third.

Companion Animal Writing Contest
Entry Deadline: March 30, 2018
Award: First Prize: $2500; Second Prize: $500
The American Kennel Club invites all currently enrolled law students at ABA-accredited institutions to participate in the Animal Law Writing Contest for a chance to win one of two cash prizes. Interested students will be required to submit an 8-15 page in-depth analysis of one of two provided topics. Submissions can be emailed to doglaw@akc.org no later than March 30, 2018. For detailed information on the animal law writing contest, requirements, and submission process, please visit us online at writeaboutanimallaw.com.

Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF) – Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition
Entry Deadline: June
Award: $1,500 and publication in the UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal. Tell me more

Delaware Bar Foundation – Bruce M. Stargatt Legal Ethics Writing Competition
Entry deadline: September 1st
Cash prizes of $2000, $1000 and $500 will be awarded to the top three papers. The first place paper will be published in “Delaware Lawyer” magazine. Tell me more

Chapman LLC Scholarship for Law Students
300-500 word essay contest. A check for $1,000 will be sent to the scholarship recipient’s law school of choice for law school expenses. Entry deadline, Nov. 15, 2016. Winner will be announced on or before Jan. 1, 2017.

National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees Law Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: April
Varies each year. Refer to website for details as they are released.

National Association of Women Lawyers – Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: May
Award: $500 and possible publication in NAWL’s Woman Law Journal.

The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association
Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition
Entry deadline: June
Awards: Cash prizes. First-place winner will also receive registration, airfare and lodging to attend the Lavender Law Conference and publication in the Journal of Law and Sexuality at Tulane University Law School.

Hofstra Law School and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Family Law Writing Competition
Article Submission Deadline: March
Award: $500; possible publication in the Family Court Review.

University of Missouri:  CSDR Symposium Writing Competition
Entry deadline:  February 2018
Awards:  $500, $300, $200 for the first three places; possible publication in Journal of Dispute Resolution; publication online on the CSDR website.  2017-18 competition on topic of “Campus Speech, Protest, and Conflict Resolution.”

Tenth Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition
Entry deadline: 11:59 p.m., April 16, 2018 (ET)
Awards: The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses to attend the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting. Winning and runner-up entries will be invited to submit their entries to Unbound, the official journal of Legal History and Rare Books. The entry form and instructions are available at the LH&RB website: http://www.aallnet.org/sections/lhrb/awards. 


The winning essay in The Daily Progress essay contest, prompting writers to respond to “What’s Good About America,” was printed in the Dec. 30, 1979 issue. Woodie Parrott of Stanardsville submitted his essay entitled “Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” which stressed America’s greatness in the areas of ingenuity, world leadership and humanism. When presented his prize check of $100, the Charlottesville real estate appraiser promptly donated half of his prize money to the Santa Fund. The contest, which attracted more than 100 entries, was inspired by President Jimmy Carter’s address on the energy crisis when he called upon Americans to stress the positive aspects of our nation.

“It was a brilliant young citizen of Albemarle County who, two centuries ago, penned the immortal phrase that all men ‘…are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ In this subtle phrase from the Declaration of Independence, I believe that Mr. Jefferson identified the principle which, above all others, has so profoundly contributed to the greatness of this nation.

Jefferson’s reference to the right of ‘the pursuit of happiness’ refers not to idle pleasures, but to an individual’s privilege of attaining such goals from life as he or she may have the courage and intellect to pursue. The Constitution provided such freedom of individual choice, and the challenging free enterprise economy provided the mechanism for its attainment. Indeed, our system was to be the antithesis of the type of ‘class system’ which had for so many years retarded motivation and innovation in England, depriving men of the opportunity to realize their highest potential in life.

There were those of course, especially in Europe, who vehemently disagreed with the concept of government proposed by Jefferson and his peers. It was argued that no government could function on such philosophical idealism; that individual freedom could not co-exist with governmental control; and that anarchy would finally ensue. Nevertheless, the ‘founding fathers’ succeeded in molding a practical government based upon high ideals-a government that has not weathered domestic and international storms for two centuries with unwavering stability.

After only 203 years, a relatively short span of time when considering national existence, we can see vividly today the fruits of both our government and of our capitalistic economy. We live in a society of educational opportunities, creativity, freedom and per capita wealth unlike anything known in the history of mankind. It is indeed difficult to name any field of human endeavor in which Americans have not excelled, but I believe our greatness warrants particular mention in the areas of ingenuity, world leadership and humanism.

INGENUITY: The standard of living enjoyed by people around the world has been greatly enhanced by the genius and innovative spirit of the American free enterprise economy. Discovery of electricity; and inventions such as the light bulb, telephone, automobile and airplane are among the many luxuries 9now considered necessities) that we have given to the world. I hasten to add that our greatest discoveries and inventions came not fom research projects massively funded by the federal government, but rather from tiny workshops and primitive laboratories where men were challenged to pursue their dreams.

Our technological advances in the field of medicine have been remarkable. The contagious diseases which once swept the nation, killing or crippling its victims and spreading fear in their wake, have been largely eradicated. Our progress in both the prevention and cure of illness has markedly increased life expectancy and alleviated suffering in this and many other nations as well.

One of the most poignant examples of the potential of our technology occurred a decade ago when an American stepped upon the surface of the moon. A concomitant benefit of the advances made through research for the space program was the discovery of the vast potential of the closed –circuit computer, of which today’s electronic calculator is a ‘first fruit.’

Thirty percent of all research in the world today is financed by the U.S. government, but I would wish to see this increased. We must realize that increasing our technology may provide means of harnessing the sun’s vast energy, and of finding more economical means of extracting oil from shale in the Western United States (in which source we have more oil than Saudi Arabia). I also see American technology preserving the purity of our air and water, and producing greater yields on less land to feed the world’s growing population.

WORLD LEADERSHIP: While the United States has been accused of being a merchant of arms, and of stockpiling weapons, the realists know that our strength is crucial in maintaining the delicate balance of power between the free world and our potential adversaries. In so doing, we are effective in maintaining world stability.

Our leadership role, however, is certainly not limited to militarism. Our nation is host to the United Nations, and a key supporter of the NATO Alliance. We have used our offices to arbitrate differences between other nations in countless disputes. In each instance, our desire for peace in the world has superseded our own self-interests in a particular region.

HUMANISM: The laws of the United States, and the underlying principle of our foreign policy, have each found their foundations in a basic regard by our government for the rights, dignity and welfare of the individual. We have been a strong spokesman for the disenfranchised.

When the potato blight swept Ireland from 1845 to 1848, reducing an entire nation to the point of literal starvation, our doors were opened to the hungry immigrants. Wave after wave of immigrants from all parts of the globe have come through the years, making us a nation of diverse cultures. We are the better for it.

Where there have been wars or natural disasters, it has often been American assistance in the form of foreign aid, financing and charity that came to the rescue. At home, our welfare programs are liberal, and those whom we consider to be poor would be regarded as prosperous in most third world nations.

American humanism is well exemplified today by the spectacle of our huge naval vessels rescuing the Vietnamese ‘boat people’ from their tiny rafts and inevitable death at sea.

Yes, Mr. Jefferson, we have exercised our liberty and followed the pursuit of happiness. We have not achieved perfection, but we Americans, constituting only 6 percent of the world’s population, have made this world a happier, healthier and better place to live for all mankind.”

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