Law Student Writing Competition


The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and
American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law
Annual Law Student Writing Competition for 2024

The ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers are pleased to announce their 2024 writing competition. This competition is open to articles written while the author is an active student at an accredited law school in the United States. Authors may not have graduated from law school prior to December 1, 2023. Graduate students in law school (LLM candidates) are not eligible.

Prizes are as follows: First Place: $3000; Second Place: $1000, and Third Place: $500. The first-place winning article may be selected for publication in the ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law. In addition, the author of the first-place paper will be a guest at the ABA Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference and honored at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The College and the Section reserve the right not to select any article for publication or award any prizes if, in their judgment, the submissions do not meet their standards for outstanding legal writing.

Competition rules are also available as a PDF HERE. Click here to review the Judges’ Scoring Guide.

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Law schools, scholars of labor and employment law, labor and employment law historians and students can benefit greatly from the intellectual and practical value available through the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The College’s primary mission includes supporting creative and thoughtful teaching of Labor and Employment Law, supporting and enhancing the existing curriculum, bringing depth of real life experience to law students through visiting professor and mentoring programs, and pushing the traditional boundaries to bring the current and dramatically changing legal environment into clearer focus.

For more information, please contact our administrative office at 410-972-4711 or email our Executive Director, Susan Wan.

The College does not provide legal counsel or advice. Fellows of the College may be available to provide legal counsel in their individual capacities as labor and employment lawyers.

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The College sponsors a Writing Competition for Law Students, in conjunction with the ABA’s Section of Labor & Employment Lawyers. A distinguished panel of attorneys from around the country will review the submitted papers written on current and relevant topics of labor and employment law. Please click HERE to view the Announcement and Rules for this Competition.

Read the winning submissions from previous years from The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s annual Writing Competition for Law Students on the right. The papers cover current and relevant topics of labor and employment law.

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A scoring rubric, used by the competition judges, can be found on the CLEL website and details the five areas judges focus their review. In addition, the rubric shows the standards for each category and the score associated with those standards. Students are strongly encouraged to review this guide before submitting their paper.

1. Students should choose a subject which can be written about through the legal lens with a balanced full spectrum legal analysis. Judges will be grading on the following points and as such, will pay specific attention these questions:

2. Entries will also be evaluated on clarity, including on syntax, grammar and spelling. 

3. Students are required to confer or consult with a labor or employment law professor or practitioner on topics.

4. Manuscripts must be the original work of a single author and may not have been written for paid employment. The manuscript may not be under review for publication anywhere at the time it is submitted to this competition and may not be submitted for publication anywhere between the date of its submission and September 15, 2024. If you have not heard from a CLEL representative by September 15, 2024, you should contact the office to determine if you are eligible to submit your paper for publication elsewhere.

5. The text should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper with one-inch margins on all sides.  Footnotes should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, but can be single spaced.  The manuscript, exclusive of the cover page, must be between 20 and 30 pages.  Do not submit an abstract, endnotes, a table of contents, or table of cases.  Articles must be submitted as two attachments, one in Microsoft Word and one in PDF format.  

6. All citations should conform to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th Edition).  Footnotes should be instructive and not merely cite a case or secondary source.  For secondary sources, law review articles are preferred sources over online encyclopedias, blog posts, and social media, unless they are directly relevant to the topic (for example, a situation where a worker was fired for writing a blog post).  If an online source mentions or cites a case, please cite directly to the original case.  

7. Submissions must have been written while the author was a student at an accredited law school in the United States. Authors may not have graduated from law school prior to December 1, 2023.

8. No person may submit more than one entry.

9. The judges reserve the right not to award any prizes and to reject any or all submissions.

10. Articles must be submitted to Susan Wan, using the subject line “Writing Competition,” by midnight (EDT) on June 15, 2024. To assure that competition judges are not provided information on authors’ identity, a separate cover page must be submitted with your manuscript (see last page of rules). No personal information should appear on the manuscript itself; however, the title should appear at the top of the first page and pages should be numbered. Do not include your name as part of the file names of your Word or PDF documents; instead use a descriptive name related to the subject matter of your article, such as “Free Speech and the National Labor Relations Act,” or “Religion and Employment Law.”

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The winning paper will be ineligible for publication in the Journal if the paper has been or will be accepted for publication elsewhere at any stage of the judging process which starts with the submission of the paper and continues through the announcement of the competition winner.