Press Releases

Home  » News & Media » Press Releases

Pacific Legal Foundation | Press Release


Contact: Mark Miller
Managing Attorney - PLF's Atlantic Center
Director, Program for Judicial Awareness
Pacific Legal Foundation
(561) 691-5000


Yale, Georgetown, and Pace Law Students Claim $9,000 in PLF Writing Prizes

Mark Miller
Managing Attorney
Atlantic Center
Brien P. Bartels
PJA Program Assistant
Northwest Center

Sacramento, CA, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL; March 15, 2017:  Pacific Legal Foundation has announced the winners of its 2016-17 Annual Law Student Writing Competition sponsored by PLF’s Program for Judicial Awareness.  Awards totaling $9,000 in cash will be given to three top law students whose publishable essays address key constitutional issues before our nation’s courts.

First Place

Joel S. Nolette, a member of the Class of 2017 of Georgetown University Law Center, won the First Place award of $5,000 for his article, “End the Failed Auer Experiment Now:  The Flaws of Deferring to Agency Interpretations of their Own Ambiguous Regulations.”

Joel graduated summa cum laude from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts, and majored in Biblical Studies.  At Georgetown Law, he is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society.  He has served as a Law Clerk to Senator Mike Lee, Senate Judiciary Committee, since 2015.

This fall, he will be a junior associate in the litigation department at Mintz Levin in Boston.  He is from Silver Spring, Maryland.

Second Place

Michael J. McConnell, a second year law student at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, won the Second Place award of $3,000 for his article, “Ending Deference to Agency Interpretations of Their Own Ambiguous Regulations by Enforcing the Constitution’s Separation of Powers and Section 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act.”

Michael is a graduate of Nyack College, where he majored in Criminal Justice.  He is currently a participant in the Pace Law School Grand Moot Competition, in front of a panel of U.S. District Court judges.

This summer he will intern with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.  He is from Danbury, Connecticut.

Third Place

John Ehrett, a member of the Class of 2017 at Yale Law School, won the Third Place award of $1,000 for his article, “On Beyond Lochner:  A Harm-Dependent Standard for Professional Speech Regulation.”  John is a graduate of Patrick Henry College, where he majored in Government:  International Politics and Policy.  At Yale Law School, he is the Features and Book Reviews Editor of Yale Law Journal, Symposium Editor of Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Features Editor of Yale Journal of International Law.

After graduation, he will clerk with Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Pasadena, California.  He is from New Haven, Connecticut.

“The student competition demands rigorous legal reasoning and writing on important legal issues that are engaging the courts and the academy,” said Mark Miller, Program Director with the Program for Judicial Awareness and Managing Attorney with PLF’s Atlantic Center.  “All three winners produced outstanding articles that PLF proudly recognizes as the best of the best.”

PLF’s Program for Judicial Awareness, which sponsors the writing competition, promotes the publication of works of legal academic scholarship that advance an understanding of key constitutional issues.  The program was established in 1999 to encourage balance and reason in legal scholarship.  The program works with law students, professors, and practicing attorneys to help ensure that legal professionals have access to a sound body of legal and academic resources to support their research, briefing, and decisions.

The 2017-18 competition will be announced in July.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation, America’s most powerful ally for justice, litigates in courts nationwide for limited government, property rights, individual liberty, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.  PLF’s Program for Judicial Awareness promotes and supports scholarly research on topics leading to a greater understanding and appreciation of the institutions of freedom.