Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition (Prize: $5,000)

June 22, 20230

The Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition (“Competition”) was created in 2006 to honor the memory of Ernest Gellhorn, a distinguished law dean, administrative law professor, and practitioner who was Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice (“Section”); and Thomas Sargentich, a distinguished administrative law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law who was a great friend of the Section. 

The Competition is sponsored by the Section, located at 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 (the “Sponsor”). If you want to build a career in legal writing, check out this article: How To Build A Legal Writing Career.

The Goal of The Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition 

The goal of the Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition is to encourage law students to become involved in the Section, attract students to the administrative law practice fields, and to encourage scholarship in these fields. 

Each entrant must follow the rules of the Competition detailed herein. Topic The entry must discuss any topic relating to administrative law. 

Eligibility for The Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition

The Competition is open to law students who are, at the time of entry, 

(a) enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school, 

(b) members of the ABA and the Section, 

(c) at least 21 years old, and 

(d) U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. 

Employees of the ABA, its affiliates, and immediate family or household members of such employees are not eligible for the Competition. 


  • Submissions must be in Microsoft Word. 
  • The text of the essay must be double-spaced, in twelve-point font, with one-inch margins; footnotes should be single-spaced, also in twelve-point font and with one-inch margins and page numbering. 
  • Citations may be embedded in text or set out in footnotes and should conform to the current edition of the Uniform System of Citation (Bluebook). 
  • End-notes are not permitted. 
  • Submissions may not exceed 14,000 total words including footnotes and appendices, but not including the title page, and table of contents, if any. (At the discretion of the Section, the winning student may be asked to prepare a shorter version for inclusion in the Administrative and Regulatory Law News.). 
  • If the submission has been previously published or submitted for publication, and , the cover page must indicate to which publication the work was submitted and if relevant the actual or anticipated publication date. 
  • Essays must be the work of the submitting student without substantial editorial input from others. Co-authored papers are ineligible. 
  • Failure to submit an original essay will result in disqualification and may result in the selection of a new winner. 
  • Only one essay may be submitted per entrant. 

Entry Procedure 

  • There is no entry form. 
  • Entrants must submit two files to Section Director Anne Kiefer via email to 
  • The first file should consist only of a cover page showing the paper’s title and the entrant’s name, law school, year of expected graduation, mailing and email address, phone number, and ABA Membership ID number. 
  • If the essay was previously submitted for publication, the cover page should also indicate to which publication the work was submitted, and if relevant, the actual or anticipated publication date. 
  • The second file consists of the entire paper with a cover page that includes nothing but the title; the contestant’s name and other identifying information, such as school name, MAY NOT appear on any page within this file. 
  • Entries must be received by 7:00 pm Eastern time on June 30, 2023. 
  • Staff of the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section will assign a random number to each entry. 
  • Neither the contestant’s identity nor his/her law school will be known to the selection committee. 
  • The Sponsor is not responsible for errors or for lost, late, or misdirected email, or telecommunication or hardware or software failures, including by reason of any bug or computer virus or other failure. 

Judging The Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition

The entries will be judged anonymously by Fellows and leaders of the Section. Entries will be judged on the following criteria: 

  • Creativity and clarity of the proposal or thesis
  • Organization
  • Quality of the analysis and research
  • Grammar, syntax and form
  • Decisions of the Sponsor (including the committee judging the entries) are final. 
  • The winning entry will be notified by email by September 15, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
  • The winner must acknowledge and confirm agreement to the terms and conditions of winning the Competition no later than September 30, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern Time, after which he/she forfeits the prizes and another winner may be selected. 

Prize for The Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Award Competition

A single winning entry, as judged by the selection committee, will receive 

(a) a $5,000 cash prize and 

(b) complimentary registration for the Virtual Live Administrative Law Conference being held in October or November 2023. 

  • The Sponsor may substitute a prize of equal or greater value in its sole discretion. 
  • Prizes are non-transferable and cannot be substituted by the winner. Cash equivalent for prizes is not available. Winners will be solely responsible for reporting and payment of all taxes (federal, state, local or other) on prizes, which will include the value of any accommodations and airfare. 
  • Winners will be required to complete a W-9, affidavit of eligibility, tax acknowledgment and liability release for tax purposes. 
  • All forms must be completed and returned via email to Anne Kiefer at: within 15 business days of receipt, or prizes will be considered forfeited and another winner may be named. 
  • The decision of the Sponsor, including the judging committee is final. At the sole discretion of the Section and the respective editorial boards, the winning entry may be selected for publication in the Administrative and Regulatory Law News and/or the Administrative Law Review. 
  • If selected for publication, the winner will be required to sign a standard publication agreement giving the ABA the right of first publication. 

License/Grant of Rights 

By entering, the winning entrant consents to the publication of her/his entry by the ABA, understands that such publication is not guaranteed, and grants the ABA the following rights: 

(1) the exclusive worldwide right of first publication of their entry in any and all ABA media or form of communication (unless previously published in a law student publication and disclosed at the time of entry pursuant to these rules); 

(2) the non-exclusive worldwide right, in ABA’s sole discretion, to use, transcribe, publish reproduce, distribute, sell (as part of an ABA publication) or display the entry, alone or in conjunction with other materials; 

(3) the right to edit the essay to conform to the publication’s standards of style, technological requirements, language, grammar and punctuation, provided the meaning of the essay is not materially altered; and 

(4) the non-exclusive worldwide right to use the winner’s name and likeness in connection with the essay or this Competition, in each case, without further compensation. 

Additionally, the winning entrant must execute a separate publication agreement giving the ABA the publication rights enumerated above and the right to use the article for any other purpose related to the ABA mission. 

If the winner fails to sign the agreement within 30 calendar days of receipt, the prize will be considered forfeited and another winner may be named. Please direct any questions about the contest to the Section Director at 

Entry Deadline 

All entries must be emailed by 7:00 pm Eastern time on June 30, 2023. 

Odds of Winning Chances of winning may vary depending on the number of entries. However, Sponsor reserves the right not to award any prize if the judges determine that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection that year. 

Laws and Regulations 

This Competition is governed by U.S. law and all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. By entering, all participants agree that the Competition shall be governed by the laws of the State of Illinois, that the courts of Illinois shall have exclusive jurisdiction, and that Cook County, Illinois shall be the venue for any dispute or litigation relating to or arising from the Competition. Void where prohibited by law. 

Opt-Out Option 

Any individual may elect to opt out of receiving future contest or competition mailings from the ABA by calling the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221. 

Privacy Policy/Data Collection 

Information provided by entrants in connection with this Competition is subject to the ABA’s privacy policy, available at . 

Sponsor The ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 662-1690

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