ABA Writing Competitions

Writing Competitions

Many competitions take place annually. Please read the details on each competition carefully on each competition’s website and be sure to check with the contest organizer for specific eligibility requirements.

Upcoming Deadlines

Deadline: August 31, 2017  - Marin County Bar Association Legal Education Scholarship & Michael F. O'Donnell Memorial Scholarship


Up to $5,000

Past Deadlines

Deadline: July 12, 2018 - New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals and the Law Student Writing Competition

Topic : Any topic on Animal Law.


$1000 and Certificate of Achievement First Place

$500 and Certificate of Achievement Second Place

Certificate of Recognition Third Place

Deadline: July 1, 2018 - San Luis Obispo County Women Lawyer's Association

Topic: Please describe your connection to San Luis Obispo County and describe your work experience and any activities that you participated in that relate to women's issues.



Deadline: June 30, 2018 - Higbee & Associates and the Foundation for Continuing Justice Writing Competition


  • How to improve expungement related laws in (state of your choice)?
  • When, if ever, should government stop reporting criminal records to the public? 
  • What effects do criminal records have on former offenders ability to re-assimilate?


First Place: $2,000.00

Second Place: $1,000.00

Third Place: $300.00

$200 Honorable Mention

Deadline: June 10, 2018 - McDowell South American Heritage Scholarship

Topics: All applicants have to write an essay of at least 900 words about how their experience studying law in the United States impacted the way they think about legal systems in South America.



Deadline: June 4, 2018 - 35th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

Topic: 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.


$2,000 First Place

$400 Second Place

$100 Honorable Mention

Deadline: May 25, 2018 - Arturo Gonzalez Summer Law Student Fellowship

Topic: The six-to-eight week fellowships are for law students who want to gain exposure and acquire significant practical experience in Immigration Legal Defense and Family Law.


$2,500 Stipends

Deadline: May 15, 2018 - The M. Katherine Baird Darmer Equality Scholarship

Topic: Describe what role you have played in advancing equality for the LGBT community and discuss what motivated you to go to law school.



Deadline: April 30, 2018 - 2018 Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Competition

Topic: Non-disclosure provisions in Settlement Agreements:  Should courts enforce public policy disfavoring them?


$5,000 First Place

Deadline: April 9, 2018 - Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

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


$2,000 First Place

Deadline: March 25, 2018 - LAIPLA Diversity Fellowship

Topic: With the understanding that the term “diversity” is broadly defined, please describe how your background and character traits qualify you for this Diversity Fellowship and why you want to be a Diversity Fellow?

Please describe your interest in intellectual property law and your future goals for contributing to the Los Angeles intellectual property community.

If you could change one aspect of the copyright, trademark, or patent law, what would it be and why?


$6,000 Stipend

Deadline: March 20, 2018 - 2018 Google Public Policy Fellowship

Topic: The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests.

Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and creativity, consumer privacy, open government, government surveillance, data security, data innovation, free expression and more.


$7,500 Stipend

Deadline: March 9, 2018 - Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest


$5,000 First Place

Deadline: March 3, 2018 - Affordable Housing & Community Development Law Writing Competitions

Topic: Entries should address any legal issue regarding affordable housing and/or community development law.


$1000 First Place

Deadline: March 2, 2018 - Willis W. and Ethel M. Clark Foundation-Marshall M. Schulman Criminal Law Writing Competition

Topic: The paper must pertain to criminal law and/or to criminal procedure, with a particular focus on contemporary issues of concern in the State of California.  The paper should be original and scholarly.  It should be appropriately and carefully annotated to reflect the authorities that support the author’s opinions and findings, and upon which the author otherwise relies.


$1,500 First Place

Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum Committee

Alternative Dispute Resolution

American Indian Law

Animal Law

Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law Section

Bankruptcy and Insolvency

Business Law Section

Children Law

Civil Law

Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law

Commission on Domestic Violence

Constitutional Law & Civil Rights

Consumer Financial Services Law

Criminal Justice Section

Diversity and the Law

Disability Law

Ethics, Civility, Professionalism, & Law Excellence

Employment and Labor Law

Entertainment and Sports Law

Environmental Law Institute

Family Law Section

Federal Jurisdiction

Gaming Law

Health Care and Life Sciences

Intellectual Property Law

International Law

Lawyers' Professional Liability Standing Committee and Long & Levit LLP

Legal History

Legal Writing

LGBT Issues

National Security Law Student Writing Competition

Public Contract Law

Public Interest Law

Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

Securities Law

Tax Law

Trusts and Estate Planning

Women's Law