1101 Market Street, 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: 215-238-6300 •

May 07, 2008

Bar Association Announces the Sixth Annual Legal Writing Competition in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Philadelphia Bar Association is pleased to announce the sixth annual Legal Writing Competition in honor of the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In so doing, the Bar Association recognizes the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills, and seeks to award a student enrolled in an ABA-approved or provisionally approved Philadelphia-area law school for authoring a top-quality Competition submission. The following information is provided to encourage your participation in the Competition.

This Competition is open to full- and part-time law students who are in their second or third year of study during the 2007-08 academic year at one of the following six institutions: Drexel University College of Law, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers (Camden) School of Law, Temple University School of Law, Villanova University School of Law, Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus). Part-time law students in their third or later year of study are also eligible. Students must be in good standing at their institutions. The submission may not have been published previously, although it may have been prepared in connection with a law school course or for a law journal. The submission also may not have been submitted for any other competition during the time when it is under consideration for this Competition, until after the time when awards are announced. 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.

Candidates may submit a 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 $2500, the publication of the winning submission in The Philadelphia Lawyer, on the Bar Association’s web site and/or in an appropriate Bar Association publication. The winner of the First Place award will be invited to the Quarterly Meeting of the Bar Association in October, 2008, at which time the award will be presented.

If the Bar Association, in its discretion, determines that it is appropriate, the Bar Association may also award Second and Third Place prizes. The authors of the Second and Third Place entries will be announced 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 or to issue fewer than the maximum number of available awards if no submission is qualified.

Previous Award Winners

Joshua Mankoff, Temple University, "Can Military Commissions Impose the Death Penalty on "Enemy Combatants""?, The Philadelphia Lawyer (Fall 2007)

Nicholas G. Kondraschow, Villanova University School of Law, Class of 2006, "A Private Civil Litigant's Right of Access to Wiretap Evidence Disclosed at an unrelated Suppression Hearing in the Third Circuit," The Philadelphia Lawyer (Fall 2006)

Joey Shabot, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Class of 2006, "Transacting Terror: The Regulation of Terrorist Financing and Procedural Due Process," The Philadelphia Lawyer (Fall 2005)

Regina Cocco, James E. Beasley Temple University School of Law, Class of 2005, "Does the Actual Innocence Exception Apply to Non-Capital Sentencing?" The Philadelphia Lawyer (Summer 2004)

Kimberly Bartman, James E. Beasley Temple University School of Law, Class of 2003, "Not Exactly What Congress Intended," The Philadelphia Lawyer (Fall 2003)

A committee of practicing attorneys, professors and judges will evaluate the submissions for the purpose of granting the awards. The submissions will be judged anonymously. The following criteria will be evaluated by the Competition judges:

  • Originality and importance of topic
  • Thoroughness of research
  • Depth of analysis
  • Organization of analysis
  • Writing style
  • Form, quality and placement of citations
  • Conformity with rules of the Competition

All submissions:

  • Must be no longer than 20 pages or 5000 words, whichever is shorter. The 5000-word limitation refers to the text of the submission; footnotes may be a maximum of 2000 words (in addition to the 5000 word maximum for text). Do not use endnotes.
  • Must be in 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Must use citations that conform with either Darby Dickerson & the Association of Legal Writing Directors, The ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation (3rd ed., Aspen Law & Bus. 2006) or Harvard Law Review Association, et al. A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed. 2005)
  • Must be in seminar paper or law journal article format only; submissions in the form of a memorandum, brief, judicial opinion or other type of legal document are not acceptable.
  • May not be previously published or currently accepted for publication in any publication other than in connection with the Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg "Pursuit of Justice" Legal Writing Competition
  • Must have 1" margins on all sides
  • Must be submitted in hard copy and disk form, by sending ten (10) hard copies and one 3-1/2" floppy disk, in Word or WordPerfect format, to:
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg "Pursuit of Justice Legal Writing" Competition
c/o Ms. Dawn Burger
Philadelphia Bar Association
1101 Market Street, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2911
  • The electronic and hard copies of the submission must be formatted identically. For example, if the hard copy of the submission is 18 pages, the electronic copy must be 18 pages long and contain the identical text, page for page. Submissions for which the electronic and hard copies are not identical are not acceptable.
  • Must be submitted with only the title on the first page of each copy of the submission. Each set of submissions shall be accompanied by a separate one-page document stating the author’s name, law school, expected date of graduation, telephone number(s), email address(es), mailing address(es) and an abstract of no longer than 100 words describing the thesis of the submission. This document, which shall be signed by the person submitting the entry, 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 5000 words, and the footnotes are no longer than 2000 words. The author must also certify that the electronic copy is identical to the hard copies of the submission.
  • 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 or location of the law school, and the like.
  • Receipt will be acknowledged, but submissions will not be returned.
  • A submission that does not comply with any of the above requirements will be rejected without further review.
  • Must be received by no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, May 9, 2008.

Determination of First, Second and Third Place Awards will be made in July 2008, and winners will be announced as soon as possible thereafter. The winner of the First Place award is expected to be presented with the award at a luncheon held in connection with the Bar Association's Quarterly Meeting in October, 2008. The Bar Association will waive the cost of attendance at the Meeting and luncheon; however, the winner is expected to bear any travel and accommodation costs associated with attending this event.


  • Professor Chapin Cimino Cody, Drexel University College of Law
  • Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Esq., University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Sydney Howe-Barksdale, Esq., Director, Public Interest Resource Center Widener University
  • Professor Sheila Rodriguez, Clinical Assistant Professor Rutgers University School of Law - Camden
  • Professor Ellie Margolis, James E. Beasley Temple University School of Law
  • Mitchell Nathanson, Associate Professor of Legal Writing Villanova University School of Law
  • Hon. Abraham Gafni, Villanova University School of Law
  • Bruce Merenstein, Esq., Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
  • Linda Perkins, Esq., District Attorney's Office
  • Hon. Gene Pratter, 7614 James A. Byrne United States Courthouse
  • Judy F. Berkman, Esq., Managing Attorney Regional Housing Legal Services
  • Karen Detamore, Esq., Friends of Farmworkers

Any questions about the competition should be directed to Diane Penneys Edelman or Kathleen D. Wilkinson.

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