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Writing Competitions

Writing Competitions for law students and legal scholars.

Writing competitions are a wonderful way to showcase your work and good tests for your writing skills. They also are a great way to make money. 

Students who enter writing competitions can submit their papers to the WCL Institutional Repository. 

National Law Review Writing Competition

Deadline: March 25, 2018

Topic: Varies

The National Law Review (NLR) consolidates practice-oriented legal analysis from a variety of sources for easy access by lawyers, paralegals, law students, business executives, insurance professionals, accountants, compliance officers, human resource managers, and other professionals who wish to better understand specific legal issues relevant to their work.

The NLR Law Student Writing Competition offers law students the opportunity to submit articles for publication consideration on the NLR Web site.

Each month's entries will be judged and the top two to four articles chosen will be published on the NLR website

The Robert D. Reif Endowed Fellowship in Legal Ethics and Professional Values

Topic: Legal Ethics

Due Date: April 1, 2018

Established in 2013 through support from Epstein Becker Green, the Robert D. Reif Fellowship in Legal Ethics and Professional Values honors the memory of longtime Epstein Becker Green partner Robert D. Reif by furthering his commitment to maintaining the highest level of ethical standards and professionalism in the practice of law. The Reif Fellowship is awarded to the AUWCL student who has submitted the best essay on an important question of ethics and/or values confronting the legal profession today.

The word limit, including footnotes and endnotes, is 8000 words.  

2017-2018 Henry L. Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

Deadline: April 9, 2018

Topic: Environmental Law

Description: Any topic addressing developments or trends in U.S. environmental law with a significant constitutional, “federalism,” or other cross-cutting component.

Prize: $2,000 + Publication & Membership 

The Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition

Deadline: April 16, 2018

Topic: Legal History, Archives, Rare Books

The Legal History and Rare Books Section (LHRB) of the American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Gale Cengage Learning, announces the annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition. The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Cohen's scholarly work was in the fields of legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography. 

The purpose of the competition is to encourage scholarship in the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint students with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and law librarianship. Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The competition is open to students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, and related fields. Both full- and part-time students are eligible. Membership in AALL is not required. 

Prize: $500.00

Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest

Topic: Family Law

Deadline: April 27, 2018

Each year, the American Bar Association Section of Family Law conducts an essay contest to encourage law students to think about current issues in family law, and to encourage participation in the Section of Family Law.  Students may write on any aspect of family law. The contest is open to second and third-year full-time J.D. students (and second through fourth-year part-time J.D. students) of all ABA-approved law schools, and to first year J.D. students where family law is taught as part of the first year curriculum.

Prize: $1,500 (1st place); $750 (2nd place); or $350 (3rd place)!

American College of Employee Benefits Counsel 14th Annual Employee Benefits Writing Prize

Deadline: June 1, 2018

Topic: Employment & Labor Law

Winners will be honored during the College's annual black tie dinner on September 15, 2018 in Nashville, TN. They will receive a plaque and an employee benefits treatise published by Bloomberg BNA Books. The winning papers will also be distributed to the Fellows of the
American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, experienced attorneys who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the employee benefits field in a wide range of practice settings including law and consulting firms, universities, labor unions, advocacy
organizations and government agencies throughout the United States. The College will also use its best efforts to have one or more of the wim1ing papers published in the Benefits Law Journal or another professional or scholarly publication, if deemed suitable by the College's Writing Prize Committee and the editors of the publication.

Prize: 2 $1500 dollar Awards

ABA Criminal Justice Section 2018 William W. Greenhalgh Competition

Topic: Criminal Law & Procedure

Due Date: July 1, 2018

This Competition is sponsored by Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association. 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.

Prize: $2,500 + Presentation

Contact information:

The Warren E. Burger Prize

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Topic: Legal Ethics & Professionalism

Burger Prize Purpose

The American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize is a writing competition designed to promote scholarship in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence.

Burger Prize Overview

The American Inns of Court invites judges, lawyers, professors, students, scholars, and other authors to participate in the competition. Please submit an original, unpublished, essay of 10,000 to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice addressing issues of legal excellence, civility, ethics, and professionalism.

Prize: $5,000  + Publication

2018 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Topic: Tax Law

Deadline: July 6, 2018

Sponsor: The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and The American College of Tax Counsel

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules (viewable at

Prize: Cash prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 for the top three papers.

Contact: Nancy Abramowitz at 202-274-4164 (