Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tort & Insurance Law; March 1, 2010; $1,500 and travel to San Francisco

Essays, not exceeding 35 pages of double-spaced typed text, including footnotes, must be submitted by e-mail to

Essays "must be created by the entrant[s]," and must "have never been published in any other medium other than a law school publication" and must have been written after January 1, 2009.

The first-place winner will receive $1,500 cash, free round-trip airfare and weekend accommodations to attend the ABA Annual Meeting [ABA Annual Meeting. 2010 – San Francisco, California August 5-10]. The first-place winner’s essay will be considered for publication in the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. The first-place winner will be announced in an upcoming issue of The Brief, the Section’s magazine. In addition, the second-place winner will receive $500 cash and honorable mention in The Brief and the third-place winner will receive an honorable mention in The Brief.
For more information: click this url (pdf)
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Law Student Writing Competition
American Bar Association
321 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

Hat tip: UIdaho Writing Competitions Page

Image source: wikipedia

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

December 1, 2010 -- $2,500; $2,000; $1,000 plus travel to Denver in April -- American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers

By December 1, 2010, submit

a) the best book or book chapter
b) the best publishable article or substantial book review, or
c) the best student case note or comment

on a topic dealing with consumer financial services law.

Published or unpublished; typed, double-spaced and in law review format.

Eight copies of your entry should be submitted by December 1, 2009 to:

Michael M. Greenfield, Chair
ACCFSL Writing Competition &
George Alexander Madill Professor of Contracts and Commercial Law
School of Law
Washington University in St. Louis
One Brookings Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63130

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updates: 1) Attribution in Scholarly Writing, and 2) New Writing Competition Posts This Weekend

I have updated (clarified and expanded) a blog entry I wrote earlier this month on the subject of original (non-plagiarized) scholarly writing. Before you submit an entry to a writing competition and before you submit a draft article to fulfill an academic requirement at any stage of the process (including a preliminary draft that you are submitting to a professor or student editor), consult the academic integrity information your professor has supplied and also check the Legal Writing Institute collection of information on plagiarism. With the advent of computer technology, it's a lot easier to copy and paste, and it's also a lot easier to detect the presence of borrowed material in scholarly writing. Be very careful to avoid attribution problems. The blog entry I have linked summarizes some insights I've developed while looking into the problem and also suggests some titles of books and a good on-line source.

* * *

Look for posts of writing competitions this weekend! (Or check the links at the side bar for new entries at Idaho or Denver, for example; we are beginning to receive notices from a number of writing competitions).

Update: One-day Workshops for Adjunct Professors and New Professors of Legal Writing

Those competition participants who are considering a career in teaching writing may find these workshops of interest. This notice is taken from a flyer distributed by the leadership of the Legal Writing Institute.

On-line registration is now available:

for the Chicago workshop


for the New York City workshop

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Trademark Law - January 15, 2009 - $2,000 (both student and professional categories)

From the competition website:

The Ladas Memorial Award, supported by the law firm of Ladas & Parry LLP, was established in memory of the outstanding contributions to international intellectual property law made by the distinguished practitioner and author Stephen P. Ladas.

The Ladas Award is presented once a year in two separate author categories with one competition for students and one for professionals. In each category, the award is given to the paper judged best on the subject of trademark law or a matter that directly relates to or affects trademarks.

The Ladas Memorial Award Competition is open to all students, practitioners and academics interested in trademarks and trademark law.

To compete in the Student Category authors must be enrolled as either full- or part-time law or graduate students. For students outside the United States, university enrollment is acceptable.

To compete in the Professional Category authors must be legal practitioners, business professionals and/or academics. No restrictions regarding level of experience or years in practice apply.

The Student and Professional winners of the Ladas Memorial Award Competition are individually recognized with a US $ 2,000 cash award and a set of Stephen P. Ladas’ three-volume treatise. Each year, the winners are invited to attend the INTA Gala, held as part of INTA’s Annual Meeting, where they are recognized before the outstanding volunteers and leaders of the Association. The student winner also receives a travel and lodging stipend of up to US $ 1,000 to attend the Gala.

Contest rules: here (pdf)

Hat tip: University of Idaho Writing Contest page

Image: wikipedia creative commons

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Employment Law; January 19, 2010; $3,000 (first place) and $1,000 (two awards)

The Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law is an annual law student writing competition that honors the memory of Louis Jackson, a founding partner in Jackson Lewis LLP. The Jackson Lewis law firm has been engaged in the practice of employment, labor, and benefits law on behalf of management for over 48 years. With offices in major cities throughout the United States, the firm has a national perspective and an awareness of local business environments. Jackson Lewis pioneered the concept of preventive employee relations to help employers shape a positive and productive workplace. The Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition honors the memory of Louis Jackson, who provided inspiration, guidance, friendship and good humor for 39 years to all associated with Jackson Lewis.

The competition is administered by Chicago-Kent Institute for Law and the Workplace, a national center for research, training dialogue and reflection on the law that governs the workplace. It pools the resources of leading academic scholars and the practicing professional community to train students and professionals, monitor policies and trends, and reflect upon issues confronting the labor and employment law community in a neutral setting.

2009-10 details here (pdf)

$3,000 first place prize; $1,000 for second and third place prizes.

Only the first two essays from each participating law school will be accepted. Deadline is January 19, 2010. A list of previous winners appears at the competition website.

Image: Wikipedia; Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Saturday, October 3, 2009

About Scholarly Writing (and avoiding attribution problems)

How does any scholar write original (i.e., non-plagiarized) scholarly writing?

I'd like to share some highlights from an article I found while researching that question. This article was written for teachers of ESL graduate students, and it contains excellent insights for any scholarly writer: Matthew A. Edwards, Teaching Foreign LL.M. Students About U.S. Legal Scholarship, 51 J. Legal Educ. 520 (2001). It's an article that has utility for both foreign LL.M. students as well as anyone writing scholarly writing for academic credit in the United States -- it hits a range of topics including what is originality, what types of scholarly writing are written, how to develop a thesis, why his thoughts for LL.M. students apply to U.S. students, etc. It's a quick read and well worth the effort; you can find it at HeinOnline, and in a text and periodicals search through your computer assisted legal research sources (e.g., Westlaw, Lexis, etc.)

Both Matthew Edwards and other authors I have read on this subject have given me the general insights I develop below:

Writers of seminar papers, papers for competitions, and law journal articles must "own" their material, bringing their own mind and insights to bear on the writing. Academic integrity standards require it.

Scholarly insight does not develop in one day's work. It's important to begin and continue a steady scholarly writing schedule, to allow the insights to develop, and to allow the mind to process the new content. It's also important to use draft opportunities to clearly delineate any content you have borrowed from other scholars' writing -- this will keep your teacher and student editor focused on helping your improve your own thinking and writing, rather than on wondering whether they should uncover sources not attributed in your draft. Be very clear about what part of the paper is your thinking, and what part of the paper is derived from another source. You need to provide citations for both exact phrases (which must be quoted) and for general organizational and structural ideas (which must be cited). In a draft mode, give the citation your best shot, but clearly footnote, end note [or note in a bracket, highlight, etc.] what you are borrowing and from where.

Make sure that any draft clearly identifies those pieces of the article that are the result of "cut and paste" research, which is a method that is fraught with some considerable danger. Only gingerly, and with great care, should a writer use a word processing cut and paste feature as she conducts computer research. Writers who do use the cut and paste feature should develop the habit of placing that material in some sort of red-letter format (and quote it) to keep clear of any claim that someone else's scholarship appears in work submitted for academic credit or for publication. The very best practice is to print out a hard copy of the material and read it carefully, noting in the margins the insights you bring to your reading of the text. Identify on the front page of the source how you have learned of the source, and find a way to acknowledge both sources in your submitted work product. Even from the hard-copy reading and handwritten notes, take care to note the source of quoted and paraphrased language, because U.S. attribution practice requires that these sources be acknowledged as well.

The very reading of the article, especially when coupled with the reading of additional articles, will prompt your own insights and develop scholarly questions that will be exciting and stimulating and conducive to original thinking. You will begin to see themes and differences and begin to synthesize the material that addresses your thesis. This is the start of thinking that is unique to you.

For a good discussion of how this process works, see: Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk, Against the Tyranny of Paraphrase: Talking Back to Texts, 78 Cornell L. Rev. 163 (1993).


Two book publications focus on legal scholarly writing: one is by Eugene Volkh, Academic Legal Writing and the other is by Elizabeth Fajans and Mary R.Falk, Scholarly Writing for Law Students. Both are available on Amazon.

For something on the internet focused on scholarly writing for new scholars, check out:

Donna E. Arzt, Writing a Research Paper: A Guide (Syracuse University)

For a considerable store of information about what plagiarism is and how anti-plagiarism standards are enforced, check out:

the Legal Writing Institute's Plagiarism Resources.


image: wikipedia