Student Affairs

Student Affairs

Writing Competitions

Competitions are listed by chronologically by deadline date.



American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers Writing Competition
Sponsor: American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyer
More Information: Website
Topic: Eligible entries will address a topic on consumer financial services, but not securities regulation, insurance, or the safety-and-soundness aspects of banking regulation. Works on subjects within these (or other) areas, however, will be considered if they bear directly on consumer financial services.
Award: The awards include cash payments of $2500, $2000, and $1000, respectively, Certificate of Recognition from the College, and travel expenses to attend the Spring 2017 meeting of the College. In any given year, depending on submissions, all three awards, or fewer, may be made.
Deadline: Entries must have been written or published between November 15, 2015 and December 1, 2016.
Expert Institute's Annual Legal Writing Scholarship
Sponsor: The Expert Institute
More Information: Website
Topic: 1,000–2,000 words on how you feel your specialized knowledge and training could be applied to improving the practice of law, submitted electronically as a document attached to the form below
Deadline: December 31, 2016



Pacific Legal Foundation 2016–17 Law Student Writing Competition
Sponsor: PLF's Program for Judicial Awareness
More Information: Website
Topic: Entries must address one of PLF's topic questions to be eligible for prizes.
  1. The Clean Water Act was passed to improve the quality and biological health of the waters of the United States. Federal courts have struggled to clarify the meaning of "waters of the United States" and the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are tasked with enforcing aspects of the law. Does the "waters of the United States" rule recently proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers accurately describe the reach of Congress's commerce power? If so, explain why. If not, explain how a judge should determine the outer boundary of Congress's power.
  2. In Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997), the Supreme Court reaffirmed Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325 U.S. 410 (1945), for its proposition that judges must defer to an agency interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation unless that interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. What are the best arguments against that rule?
  3. All state governments regulate and license certain occupations for the stated purpose of protecting the public from health and safety risks. An increasing number of licensed occupations consist mainly, or even entirely, of advice (e.g., tour guides, real estate advertisers, and providers of individually tailored information online or in print, such as diet plans, parenting tips, or veterinary guidance). How should courts draw the line between regulating professional conduct (typically subject to rational basis review under the Fourteenth Amendment) and free speech protected by the First Amendment?
  4. Takings litigants are generally prohibited from bringing takings claims for just compensation in federal court unless they have first sought (and been denied) relief in state court. This de facto abstention doctrine arises from the Supreme Court's holding in Williamson Cty. Reg'l Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), and subsequent interpretations of the case by federal circuit courts, and departs from the general rule that one need not exhaust state court remedies before presenting a federal constitutional claim in federal court. Should the Supreme Court reconsider Williamson County's holding that one may not present a takings claim for just compensation in federal court unless on has first litigated the matter in state court? Why or why not?
Award: The first place winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize. The second place winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize and the third place winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The winner will also be recognized at the Annual Pacific Legal Foundation Gala. PLF will pay for the winner's reasonable travel costs to attend the gala and will assist with travel arrangements.
Deadline: Submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (PST) on January 13, 2017