Public Resources

Law in Society Competition Rules

The entry deadline is Thursday, February 12, 2015

Electronic submissions are preferred. Please do not duplicate your entries by e-mailing and sending hard copies. 

Who may enter?

Entrants must be enrolled in grades 9–12 in a Virginia high school. Private school and home-schooled students at equivalent grade and age levels also are encouraged to enter.

Although teachers and other individuals can assist students in thinking about the essay, each essay must be written solely by the student named on the entry application. 

What should my essay be about?

Your essay must be in response to the given hypothetical (2015). Please structure your response by answering the following questions.

  1. Do Susan and ARC have the right to stop Ms. Bradford from speaking due to her controversial (but legal) practices?
  2.  Does Ms. Bradford and/or the principals have the right to insist on her speaking? 
  3.  Should Ms. Bradford be able to sue Susan and ARC for defamation?

Craft a position that addresses the concerns of all sides, and explain how that position squares with the rights of free speech and assembly enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Essays will be judged on presentation — including grammar and spelling — and how well students apply their own understanding and reasoning to the topic. Students need not have a deep knowledge of legal concepts and theory, and no extra research beyond what is suggested above is necessary. 

How long does my essay need to be?

The essay must be between 750 and 1,000 words. Essays with less than 750 words or more than 1,000 words will not be judged. Word count must be included on the entry form.

Entries must be typed and double-spaced. All essays must have a title.

Very Important: Your name and school name should appear ONLY on your entry form/e-mail. Do not include name on page headers or footers. The title should be the heading for the document.

What is the deadline?

The essay and entry form must be received at the offices of the Virginia State Bar by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, 2015.

Please keep in mind that the deadline in previous years has fallen on days of inclement weather, hindering students’ ability to submit their essays on time. It is recommended that you submit your essay before the deadline date and time.

How will I know if I’m a winner?

You will be contacted by the VSB if you are an award winner. A list of winners will be available in May 2015 on the Law in Society winners webpage, or by written request. 

Email Twitter handle: #lawinsocietyessay

Updated: Nov 03, 2014