Law School Career Services Office

600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282-0700
Phone: 412.396.6559
Fax: 412.396.6598

Maria D. Comas, Esq.

Samantha H. Coyne, MBA
Employer Outreach Manager

Arlene H. Miller
Assistant to the Director

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Writing Competitions

Throughout the year, writing competitions sponsored by various bar associations, professional organizations and law schools are posted here for students' review.

The United States Court of Federal Claims Bar Association conducts an annual Law Student Writing Competition. The Court of Federal Claims Bar Association is a non-profit, voluntary bar association made up of nationwide members who practice law before of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The goal of this competition is to encourage law student scholarship on current topics that fall within the jurisprudence of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The winning entry in the competition will receive a $2,000 cash prize and an opportunity to be published via the Association's website. The United States Court of Federal Claims was created pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution in October 1982, by the Federal Courts Improvement Act. The court is authorized to hear primarily money claims founded upon the Constitution, federal statutes, executive regulations, or contracts with the United States. The cases before the court are diverse and involve a variety of statutes. They include claims arising from tax refunds, government contracts, Fifth Amendment takings (which can implicate environmental and natural resource issues), Federal procurement "bid-protests," Federal civilian and military personnel matters, intellectual property disputes, Native American tribal rights, and the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Entries to the contest may address any topic that lies within the procedure, substance, or scope of the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The rules of the contest are posted here. Entry deadline for the 2012-13 academic year is 11:59 PM July 26, 2013.

The Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) sponsors the H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competitions to encourage law students
interested in the areas of law that affect food, drugs, animal drugs, biologics, cosmetics, diagnostics, dietary supplements, medical devices and tobacco. Winning papers will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal.  There are two competitions - one for
papers with a maximum of 40 pages, and one for papers between 41 and 100 pages. Papers longer than 100 pages will not be accepted. 
The FDLI sponsors the H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competitions to encourage law students interested in the areas of law that
affect food, drugs, animal drugs, biologics, cosmetics, diagnostics, dietary supplements, medical devices and tobacco. Winning papers will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal. Entrants must be currently enrolled in a J.D. program at any of the nation's "ABA-accredited" law schools or a 2012-2013 academic year graduate.  Papers should provide an in-depth analysis of a current legal issue.
FDLI welcomes the submission of papers prepared for course work, but entrants must pay attention to competition details and edit such papers accordingly.  The deadline to submit papers is June 7, 2013Additional information.

The Legal History and Rare Books Section (LH&RB) of the American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Cengage Learning, announces the Fourth 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 was a leading scholar 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. Eligibility: Students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, or related fields are eligible to enter the competition. Both full- and part-time students are eligible. Membership in AALL is not required. Requirements: Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The entry form and instructions are available at the LH&RB website: . Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., April 1, 2013. Awards: The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the AALL Annual Meeting. The runner-up will have the opportunity to publish the second-place essay in LH&RB's online scholarly journal "Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books."  Please direct questions to Robert Mead at or Maguerite Most at

The Sports Lawyers Association announces its Inaugural SLA Law Student Writing Competition.  Entries may be submitted on a current issue in Sports Law and must advocate a position.  Each entrant must be a current law student, US resident 18 years or older, and member in good standing of the Sports Lawyers Association.  Monetary awards will be presented to the writers of the top three papers.  Deadline for submission is April 1, 2013More information.

The American Bar Association Section of Family Law is pleased to present its Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest. This contest is held annually to encourage interest in the field of family law, and it is my hope that you will promote this great opportunity to students at your law school. Not only does the contest encourage innovative thought in family law, but it also provides an opportunity for recognition and publication in the scholarly journal Family Law Quarterly.  Applicants may submit an essay on any aspect of family law and entrants are encouraged to write on subjects of national interest. However, if the law in one state reflects a significant development or trend, that too could be an appropriate subject for an entry. With the vast scope of family law, the possibilities are endless.The breadth of originality and analysis of past winners is a great testament to the quality of our nation's law schools and educators. Past topics of winning essays include transsexuals and the legal determination of sex, same-sex marriages, federal responsibility for indigent elderly, interpretation of Islamic marriage contracts, the Indian Child Welfare Act, polygamy and marital counseling laws. We look forward to an outstanding pool of entries this year as we continue to marvel at the outstanding thought produced by future attorneys.  Additional information about the Schwab Memorial Essay Contest can be found at, The deadline for entries is April 26, 2013. (Students must apply for an entry number by April 12thApplication)  Please contact Carrie Darrah of the ABA Section of Family Law at 312-988-5145 or e-mail if you have any questions.

The 2013 NYIPLA Honorable William C. Conner Intellectual Property Law Writing Competition is open to J.D. or LL.M. students interested in writing about one of the traditional subject areas of intellectual property, i.e., patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair trade practices and antitrust. The 2013 Conner Writing Competition winners will be honored at the Association's Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at the Princeton Club, NYC. Entries must be submitted by Friday, March 8, 2013. Additional details.

The  National Association of Women Lawyers® announces the 2012-13 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition, which encourages and rewards orginal law student writing on issues concerning women and the law.  Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning  women's rights or the status of women in the law. Entries must be received by May 1, 2013Additional information.

Epstein Becker & Green, PC, a national firm engaged in the practice of health care and life sciences law, is pleased to announce its Fifteenth Annual Health Law Writing Competition.  The competition is designed to encourage the preparation of scholarly papers on current topics of interest relating to health law.  Cash prizes will be awarded for the three best papers.  Entrants should take advantage of the fact that health law is a very broad and diverse field, encompassing aspects of almost every area of law.  Papers may address any traditional area of the law as applied to health care (e.g., antitrust, tax, corporate) or areas of law unique to health care (e.g., fraud and abuse, managed care, Medicare/Medicaid, clinical trials).  Entries in the top 20 percent will be considered for publication in the Annals of Health Law, which is published by the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  Additional information and an official entry form can be found at  Competition entries are due by January 25, 2013.

The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law are pleased to announce their 2012-2013 writing competition.  Entries may address any aspect of public or private sector labor and/or employment law relevant to the American labor and employment bar.  Articles may address U.S. law, international law of relevance to U.S. labor and employment lawyers, or how a legal topic is treated in states across the country, but papers limited to the law of a single state will not be considered.  Students are encouraged to discuss a public policy issue, practical implications of a leading case or doctrine, a statute or the need for statutory modification, or a common law doctrine.  Articles must be submitted by May 15, 2013, at 6 p.m. EST.  Additional information

The ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Annual Law Student Writing Competition seeks papers addressing any part of the New Deal, a series of economic programs implemented in 1933-1936, passed by Congress durign the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Papers are due by April 1, 2013Additional information.  

The 2012-2013 Louis Jackson National Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law, co-sponsored by Jackson Lewis LLP and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, The Institute for Law and the Workplace, seeks papers on any topic relating to the law governing the workplace, such as employment law, labor law, employee benefits, or employment discrimination.  Articles are due on January 22, 2013Additional information

The Public Justice Foundation announces the 2013 Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Contest:  "Is Democracy for Sale?"  Any current law student interested in participating must complete an intent-to-enter form and other requriements as listed on  The form must be submitted by January 31, 2013. Additional information.

The Michigan State University College of LawJournal of Business & Securities Law is now accepting submissions forthe Elliot A. Spoon Business Law Writing Competition. Submit a journal style article on any current topic concerning business or securities law.  Article and other required documents must be submitted by January 7, 2013

The ABA Business Law Section announces the 2013 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Competition.  All students enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school are eligible to submit papers authored during the current academic year, which cover a topical business law subject. Submissions may be prepared specifically for this contest; repurposed from a class, seminar, or as an independent study; or developed as a proposed law review/journal note, comment or article. Membership in the ABA & Business Law Section is not required for entry. Applications are due January 11, 2013.  Apply at

The FBA Section on Taxation would like to announce the 2013 Donald C. Alexander Writing Competition.  Students may submit any original paper concerning federal taxation,  Seminar papers and articles submitted (but not yet selected for publication) to law reviews, journals, or other competitions are eligible.  Application deadline is January 7, 2013

The Center for Human Rights at Trinity Law School's 2nd Annual Writing Competition provides exceptional research and educational opportunities for the promotion and understanding of international human rights. The Center provides a forum by which students and faculty can discuss and address the relationship between man and God, as well as the rights, duties and obligations that flow from that relationship. The Center supports the Human Rights Program in Strasbourg, France, that brings academics, philosophers, theologians, attorneys, NGO's, and students together to address vital Human Rights issues. The Center for Human Rights invites the submission of scholarly papers.  The topic for this year’s writing competition is:The Evolving Tension between the Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion, and Hate Speech and Blasphemy Laws. There is a growing tension, both domestically and internationally, between the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the judicial or legislative restrictions on those freedoms. Many state and national constitutions provide for the protection of speech and religion, as do many international treaties. However, the scope of these freedoms has been the subject of increasing debate and limitation, with such limitations often being couched in terms of "hate speech" and "blasphemy" laws.  Scholars are invited to address this growing tension in a manner that best expresses the depth and scope of this continually evolving issue.  Submissions are due on or before March 25, 2013Additional information.

The Institute for Energy Law of The Center for American and International Law announces its 2013 Hartrick Scholar Writing Competition.  The general subject for this year's competition is any topic related to energy development.  This includes, for example, topics concerning oil and gas law, alternative energy resources, energy regulation, and environmental regulation of the energy industries.  The article can be any work prepared by the student while enrolled in law school and can include prior works prepared for law journal or a law school course, so long as the submitted version complies with the submission guidelines.  Articles are due by January 15, 2013Additional information.

The Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan announces the 12th Annual Environmental Law Essay Contest.  Studetns may write about any environmental law topic of current interest to Michigan practitioners.  Entries must be postmarked by June 30, 2013Additional information.

The Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy, which is published by the Association of Transportation Law Practitioners (“ATLP”), is initiating a law and graduate student writing competition, seeking quality articles related to transportation.  The winning articles will be published in the Journal. ATLP’s members are composed of legal, academic, business and government experts in the field of transportation.The Journal, which has been published quarterly since 1935, contains academic quality articles on timely subjects of interest to transportation academics, attorneys, government officials and a wide variety of policy leaders in the field.  Articles in the Journal cover all modes and all aspects of transportation policy and law, including both freight and passenger issues,and matters of interest both nationally and internationally. Subscribers to the Journal include academic and legal experts, practicing attorneys, government officials, and many others.  Papers may deal with any aspect of transportation law, logistics or policy.  This includes topics related to any mode of transportation, domestic or international, freight or passenger.  Papers must be submitted on or before February 1, 2013.

The Center for International Legal Education and Global Solutions Pittsburgh are proud to announce the K&L Gates Moot ICC Writing Award Competition. The Competition, which will be an internal competition for Pitt and Duquesne Law students only, will be awarded to the best moot court question designed for the fourth annual Moot International Criminal Court program. The Moot ICC program is the first of its kind in the country and gives Pittsburgh-area high school students the chance to engage in an experience mimicking an appellate argument at the International Criminal Court. Papers must be electronically submitted no later than 12:00 noon, November 19, 2012.

The American Constitution Society (ACS) for Law & Public Policy and the University of Pennsylvania Law School ACS Chapter are pleased to announce the 2013 Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition , an annual national student writing competition in honor of Constance Baker Motley, a civil rights attorney and the first African-American woman appointed to the federal bench. This competition seeks to encourage student scholarship that advances Judge Motley’s legacy by enhancing society’s understanding of progressive legal theories. The winner will be awarded $3,000 and an offer of publication in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. The two runners-up will receive $1,000 each. The submission deadline is Friday, February 22, 2013Additional information

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is pleased to announce its sixth annual Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law. Judge Cudahy’s work in these areas combines a keen grasp of legal doctrine, deep insight into the institutional forces that determine how doctrine is implemented, and an appreciation of the public impact of doctrinal and institutional choices, including the consequences for fundamental values such as fairness, participation, and transparency. This competition seeks to encourage and reward these qualities in the scholarship of others.  Submissions are due by February 11, 2013Additional information.

The Environmental Law Institute; The American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources; and The National Association of Environmental Law Societies announce the 8th Annual Constitutional Environmental Law Student Writing Competition.  The U.S. Constitution has long been interpreted by the courts and understood by most Americans to support comprehensive environmental protections. However, arguments questioning the constitutional legitimacy of environmental law have continued to gain traction in the federal courts. In response to this trend, ELI, ABA SEER’s Constitutional Law Committee, and NAELS invite law students to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. The article deemed best by a panel of judges will receive the award. AWARD: $2000 cash, an offer of publication in the Environmental Law Reporter, and a one year individual membership to ELI.  TOPIC: Any topic addressing recent developments or trends in U.S.  Entries according to the competition rules must be received no later than 5:00 PM ET on Friday, April 12, 2013.  

Sponsored by Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, the James E. Beckley Student Writing Competition is a writing contest for law students interested in Securities Arbitration and Securities Law. First Prize is $1000, Second Prize is $750, and Third Prize is $500. The submission may address any aspect of Securities law; Securities arbitration; The Federal Arbitration Act, Title 9, US Code, Section 1-14; or FINRA Code of Arbitration, effective April 16, 2007 and any changes or proposed changes to that Code.  The writing can be based in theory or practice, but should ultimately advocate a position on the topic area chosen.  Submissions are due by September 21, 2012Additional information.

The University of Montana School of Law’s Public Land & Resources Law Review and the American Bar Association Section of  Environment, Energy, and Resources are pleased to announce the 2013 Student Writing Competition, in conjunction with the 35th Public Land Law Symposium and 41st National Spring Conference on the Environment. The theme of the Symposium is: “Balancing Act & Paradigm Shift: The Role of Public Lands in America’s Energy Future.” Entries must be received no later than 5:00 PM MT on January 14, 2013. Additional information.

The National Law Review is accepting submissions for the Fall 2013 Law Student Writing Competition.  Suggested topics are 1) immigration law and 2) election law and campaign finance reform.  The deadline for entries is October 15, 2012Additional information.

The University of Oklahoma College of Law American Indian Law Review invites papers on any issue concerning American Indian law or indigenous peoples. The competition is open to students enrolled at accredited law schools in the United States and Canada as of the competition deadline of January, 31, 2013. Additional information.  

The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is pleased to offer the ACEBC Writing Competition for law students interested in writing about any topic relating to employee benefits law.   The 2013 deadline has not yet been announced.  Additional information

The Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association announces its Thirtieth Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. The Competition, which honors the memory of three leading figures in American city planning law (R. Marlin Smith, Richard Babcock, and Norman Williams) is open to law students and planning students writing on a question of significance in planning, planning law, land use law, local government law or environmental law.  The deadline for submission of entries is June 7, 2013 and winners will be announced by September 13, 2013. Additional information.

The Association of Securities Exchange Commission Alumni Inc announces the 2012 Securities Law Writing Competition.  Students may submit papers relating to any matter of securities law.  Articles must be submitted by November 16, 2012More information.