Law Student Writing Competition 2015pja program

Deadline: January 15, 2016

Eligibility Rules

Submissions must be original works of publishable quality written by a student currently enrolled full- or part-time in a law school in the United States.  All submissions must comply with the Harvard Law Review Association’s Bluebook Uniform System of Citation (19th ed.).  There is no page limit for entries, although, as an informal guide, a word count of between 8,000 to 14,000 words is suggested.

Deadline/Method of Submission

Articles must be received by 5:00 p.m. (PST) on January 15, 2016.  Articles must be submitted, by email, in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats in Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced.  Citations should be included in footnotes.  Articles may include headings and subheadings.  Please email articles to  You will be notified via email when your submission is received.


Please direct any questions about the contest to or call (916) 419-7111


The first place winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize.  The second place winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize and the third place winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The Program for Judicial Awareness will work with the first place winner to find a law journal to publish the winning article. 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.


Articles will be judged by a panel of PLF staff and principal attorneys.
A winning article will be:

  • Adequately researched and properly supported by citations.
  • Effectively organized and articulately written.
  • Thorough, with a minimum of digression, but with potential counterarguments addressed.
  • Persuasive, original, and rigorous.

The winner will be notified by March 15, 2016.


1. In Parents Involved in Cmty. Sch. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701, 748 (2007), Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Others believe that past racial discrimination has created drastic inequalities that require positive efforts to equalize society. How can the government best remedy the effects of past discrimination in education, housing, and hiring, without discriminating anew?

2. Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency finalized a new rule to define the scope of the Clean Water Act. Supporters argue that the new rule provides needed clarity about what properties are subject to the Act’s restrictions. Opponents argue that the new rule radically expands the scope of the federal government’s authority in violation of the statute and the Constitution and threatens to subject every pond, ditch, and puddle to federal control. Analyze (at least) one of the arguments for or against the rule.

3. In recent years, the “sharing economy”—businesses like Uber and Airbnb that allow people to share rides or rent out spare rooms in their homes—has given rise to a new style of entrepreneurship. Along with that opportunity has come challenges, as government regulators seek to limit or shut down these enterprises. What are some of the major problems that law poses to sharing economy entrepreneurs and how should legislatures and courts deal with them?