Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Health Law Section

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Law Student Writing Competition

The Health Law Section of the Virginia State Bar has a total membership of over 500, including both lawyers and members of the judiciary.  The VSB Health Law Section sponsors this Law Student Writing Competition (the “Competition”) to promote academic debate and the dissemination of ideas and scholarly writing in the field of health law.  All articles submitted will receive consideration for publication in the December 2011 issue of Virginia Lawyer magazine, which will focus on current health law issues.  Student authors entering the competition thereby authorize such publication.  The Section’s publication committee and the editorial staff of Virginia Lawyer magazine reserve the right to make editorial revisions to the author’s article.

$750 cash and publication in the December 2011 issue of Virginia Lawyer magazine.   

The Competition is open to all students enrolled and in good standing during the 2010-11 academic year (including December 2010 graduates) at (i) any Virginia law school, or (ii) a law school outside Virginia as a resident of Virginia (with proof of Virginia residency).  Articles must have been written solely by the entrant while enrolled in law school.  

Topic & Format
Articles must relate to issues in the practice of health law and/or litigation.  Preference may be given to topics demonstrating particular relevance to contemporary events, addressing unsettled issues of law, or presenting novel and unique perspectives.  Articles should be at least 2000 words and no more than 2500 words.  Entries must be double-spaced, in at least 12-point font, with one-inch margins, numbered pages and endnotes (rather than footnotes).  Citations should conform to the Bluebook.  Entries must be submitted electronically in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format.   Entries should also include the student’s name, address, telephone number, law school, expected graduation date, and the following signed statement: “I declare that during the 2010-11 academic year, I was enrolled and in good standing (i) at a Virginia law school, or (ii) at a law school outside Virginia as a Virginia resident.  I further declare that this entry was written solely by me while enrolled and in good standing in law school.”  The student author’s inclusion of this statement in the transmittal email, together with his or her typed name between two forward slashes (i.e. /Jane M. Doe/) shall constitute a signature for the purpose of the signed statement requirement.

All entries must be sent by email to and must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. eastern daylight time on Friday, April 15, 2011.  For problems with transmission, please contact Elizabeth Robertson at 804-565-5957.

Entries will be judged initially by members of the Section, in their sole discretion, who will select no more than five finalists. The final judge will be the Honorable Elizabeth B. Lacy, Senior Justice, Supreme Court of Virginia.  Senior Justice Lacy will select the winner, in her sole discretion, from among the finalists.  Criteria for judging include:

•    Subject matter originality
•    Relevance to health law practice
•    Quality of topic development
•    Analysis of the subject matter
•    Quality of writing
•    Proper reliance on cited authorities
•    Clarity of expression
•    Grammar, spelling and vocabulary

The winner will be announced no earlier than May 16, 2011 and no later than June 1, 2011.  

Presentation of Award
The winner will be notified by telephone and electronic mail and will be invited to the Virginia State Bar 2011 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia (held June 16-19, 2011) for an award presentation ceremony.  

Other Terms & Conditions
No article submitted as an entry in this competition may be published in any other forum until the competition has ended and the winner has been announced.  After that time, articles submitted but not selected as the winning article may be published without limitation.  The author of the winning article grants the Section and Virginia Lawyer magazine a non-exclusive license to publish the article at their discretion.  Other publications of the article by the author must include a footnote acknowledging the award from the Section.  By submitting an article in this competition, the student author agrees to be bound by the rules, terms and conditions governing the competition and the award of any prizes therein. The Section reserves the right not to make an award in this competition if no entries of acceptable quality are received.