Justice Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition (Prize: $2,500)

July 16, 20230

The Justice Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, which awards a student enrolled in an ABA-approved Philadelphia area law school for authoring a top-quality legal article.


The Justice Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition is open to full time and part-time students who completed their second or third year of study by the end of the 2022-2023 academic year at one of the following six institutions:  

  • Drexel University Thomas R. Klein School of Law, 
  • University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, 
  • Rutgers Law School,  
  • Temple University Beasley School of the Law,
  • Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, and 
  • Widener University Delaware School of Law. 

Part time law students who were in their third or later year study during the 2022-2023 academic year are also eligible. 

Students must be or have been in good standing at their institutions. 

Other than being published in a law review or journal at the student’s Law School, the submission may not have been previously published.  

This submission may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this competition. 

The submission must be the work of one author alone. Joint submissions will not be considered and the author must certify that the submission has been prepared without substantial editing from others.

Read: How To Win Every Case: 5 Tips For Lawyers


Candidates may submit the law review quality submission on any topic relating to rights, privileges, and responsibilities under federal law.


  • The author of the first place submission will receive a cash award of $2,500, and the publication of the winning submission in the Philadelphia lawyer and on the bar association’s website and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. 
  • The winner of the first place award will be invited to the annual meeting of the Philadelphia Bar Association, at which time the award will be presented.
  • If the Bar Association, in its discretion, determines that it is appropriate, it may also award second and third place prizes; They will announce the authors of the second and third place entries in the Philadelphia lawyer.
  • The bar association reserves the right to require editing of the first place submission if necessary to ensure that the submission is of publishable quality. The bar association also reserves the right to make no award. 


A committee of practicing attorneys, professors, and judges will evaluate  the submissions for the purpose of granting the Awards.

The submissions will be judged and  anonymously. 

All submissions will be transmitted to judges electronically, with Author and law school identifying information and related metadata removed. 

If nonetheless a judge recognizes a submission or its author, the judge shall refrain from evaluating the specific submission. With that exception, only each judge shall independently evaluate all submissions on the form provided by applying the following established criteria.

  • Originally an importance of topic
  • Thoroughness of research 
  • Depth of analysis
  • Organization of analysis 
  • Writing style
  • Form quality and placement of citations
  • Conformity with the rules of the competition

After all evaluation sheets are completed and returned by the judges, the Bar Association will average all scores and the submissions with the highest overall score will receive the first place award. 

If the bar association should choose to give second and third place awards, the submissions with the next two highest overall scores will receive those Awards


All submissions:

  • Must be no longer than 20 pages of 5,000 words, whichever is shorter. The 5,000 word limitation refers to the text of the submission. Footnotes may be a maximum  of 2,000 words in addition to the 5,000 word maximum for text. Do not use endnotes.
  • Must be in 12 points Times New Roman font. Footnotes must be in no smaller than 10 points Times New Roman font.
  • Must use citations that come from with either Derby Dickerson and The Association of Legal Writing Directors, ALWD  Guide to Legal Citation, (7th ed., Wolters Kluwer 2021) or Harvard Law review Association et al, A Uniform System of Citations (21st ed., 2020)
  • Must be in a seminar paper or law journal  article format only;  submissions in the form of a memorandum brief, judicial opinion, or other type of legal document will not be accepted.
  • May not be previously published or currently accepted for publication in any publication other than in connection with the Justice Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg Legal Writing Competition, other than a journal or law review of the participant’s School
  • Must have 1” margins on all sides
  • Must be submitted in electronic form via email to Communications@ philabad.org  with the subject line Ginsburg Writing Competition Submission. 
  • Unless submission of a hard copy is required and approved, request for submission of a hard copy should be made by emailing rkipp@philabar.org
  • Must be submitted with only the title on the first page of the submission. Each submission shall be accompanied by a separate one-page document stating the author’s name, law school, expected or actual date of graduation, telephone numbers, email address(es), mailing addresses, and an abstract of no longer than 100 words describing the thesis of the submission. 
  • This document shall be signed by the person submitting the entry, who shall also certify the word count of the submission and certify that the work is solely the work of the author. The author must also certify  that the text of the submission is no longer than 5,000 words and the footnotes are no longer than 2,000 words.
  • Other than, as noted on the one-page  document identifying the author and describing the submission noted above, the submission may not otherwise refer to the identity of the author or the author’s Law School. This includes direct identification by name or indirect identification by, for example,  reference to the size and location of the law school and the like.
  • Receipt will be acknowledged
  • A submission that does not comply with any of the above requirements will be rejected without further review.

Deadline for Submission

All submissions must be received by or later than Monday August 1st 2023.

Announcement of Awards

Determination of the first and, if chosen, second and third place awards will be made in September 2023 and winners would be announced shortly thereafter.  

The winner of the first place award is expected to be presented with the award at an event selected by the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

The bar association will waive the cost of attendance at the program for the recipient, however, the winner is expected to bear any travel and accommodation costs associated with attending the event.

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