Student Legal Writing Competitions

legal competition Legal writing competitions offer a variety of rewards beyond the opportunity to practice analysis, research and writing skills; most competitions award significant cash prizes, and some provide opportunities for travel and publication.

The UW School of Law strongly encourages all students to enter a competition by submitting papers written for seminar courses or the advanced writing requirement. There is a good chance students will find a competition that fits their areas of interest. Most competition deadlines occur in Winter and Spring quarters.

Each competition has specific rules about submission length and style, so read eligibility requirements carefully. Note that many competitions accept papers co-authored by more than one law student, so you may be able to collaborate with a classmate.  Watch this page for a list of competitions.

UW Student Success in Legal Writing Competitions

Congratulations to the following students for their success in legal writing competitions!

Please notify Prof. Sarah Kaltsounis ( ) if you win a writing award so we can celebrate your achievement.

Judge William L. Dwyer Jury Project Award (Restricted to UW Students)

NOTE: Submissions for the 2017 Judge William L. Dwyer Jury Project Award are due on April 17, 2017. Please download a copy of the current rules and guidelines.

One competition in particular that all UW School of Law students should consider entering is the Judge William L. Dwyer Jury Project Award. This competition is open only to UW law students who have completed at least one year toward a J.D. or LL.M. degree, at any accredited law school. Students may submit a short essay or article on any issue relating to any aspect of the American jury system.

Sponsored by the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington, the competition honors Judge William L. Dwyer, one of the nation’s most respected federal judges. Judge Dwyer’s book about the American jury system—In the Hands of the People: The Trial Jury's Origins, Triumphs, Troubles, and Future in American Democracy—was published shortly before his death in 2002 and serves as the inspiration for this competition.

Past winners of the Judge William L. Dwyer Jury Project Award are:

  • 2015 – Daniel Cairns ’15, Darren Wilson's Grand Jury: Another Dysfunction of "the Prosecutor's Panel"
  • 2014 – Maureen Johnston ’15, The Function of a Jury
  • 2013 – No award given.
  • 2012 – Raam Wong ’12, Jurors Behind Bars: The Need to Clarify When Juries May Be Impaneled Inside Jail Courtrooms
  • 2011 – M. Michelle Dunning ’11, Jury Size Matters: A Survey of 2,883 Civil Jury Demands Filed in King County Superior Court in 2009-2010
  • 2010 – Gareth Lacy ’11, Should Jurors Use the Internet?, 32 Fed. B. Ass’n W. Dist. Wash. News 11 (Winter 2010)
  • 2009 – Jessica Murphy ’09, The 800-Pound Gorilla in the Jury Room: Is There a Role for Religion in Jury Deliberations?
  • 2008 – Tiffany Zinter ’08, Youth-Teen Courts: Should Juvenile Offenders be Entitled to a Jury of their Peers?
  • 2007 – John Goldmark ’08, A Better Cross-Section of the Community: Bolstering the Quality, Function, and Legitimacy of the Jury, 29 Fed. B. Ass'n. W. Dist. Wash. News 11 (Fall 2007)
  • 2006 – No award given
  • 2005 – Rebecca Povarchuk ’05, The American Bar Association's Approach to Jury Reform: Necessary and Practical Steps to Modernize the Jury System for the Twenty-First Century

Useful Resources

  • Legal Writing Competitions Blog
    • This blog contains news about legal writing competitions. It is maintained by Prof. Kathryn Sampson of the University of Arkansas School of Law
  • Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review (4th ed. 2010)
    • Chapter VIII contains advice for students who want to enter legal writing competitions
  • Elizabeth Fajans, et al., Scholarly Writing For Law Students (4th ed. 2011)
    • Chapter 10 contains advice for students who want to enter legal writing competitions.

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