Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Environmental Law Writing Competitions for Students - A (Hopefully) Comprehensive List

If you’re a second- or third-year law student with an interest in environmental law, chances are pretty good that you’ll soon be writing an environmental law paper.  You might write a few.  And you might be pleased to know that once your paper is complete, there are many different writing competitions to which you might submit it (or a shortened version of it).  Information about those contests is spread around the web (many schools have pages listing contests, but they’re generally incomplete and often have broken links), so I thought a consolidated list might be helpful.

A few things are worth noting about the table below:

-   While this list is more comprehensive than any other that I’ve seen, I’m not sure I’ve captured everything.  If readers know of missing competitions, please let me know and I’ll add them. 

- The reason I don’t have exact deadlines is that many competitions haven’t yet announced their 2020 deadlines.   

- The length limits for the ABA competitions are based on last year’s requirements.  This year’s requirements haven’t been posted yet.

- I haven’t included columns that list prize money or publication opportunities and obligations.  But many of these competitions do have money associated with them.  For those details, as well as additional details about length, formatting, and submission procedures, you should follow the links to the web pages for each contest (and keep in mind that some contests will update this information later this year).


Subject Matter



ABA Endangered Species Writing Competition

endangered species


< 10 double-spaced pages (footnotes can be single-spaced)

ABA Energy Law Writing Competition



< 10 double-spaced pages (footnotes can be single-spaced)

ABA Public Land Law and Policy Writing Competition

public lands


< 10 double-spaced pages (footnotes can be single-spaced)

ABA Water Resources Law Writing Competition

water resources


< 10 double-spaced pages (footnotes can be single-spaced)

American College of Environmental Lawyers Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award

environmental law


Published student notes and comments are eligible.  Nominations made by journals, not authors.

California Water Law Writing Prize

water resources (California focus preferred but not mandatory)

December 6, 2019

under 5,000 words

ELI Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

constitutional and environmental law


50 double-spaced pages or less

IEL Hartrick Scholar Writing Competition

energy law


8,000 words or less

New York State Bar Association Animal Law Writing Competition

animal law


25 double-spaced pages or less

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

law and land use planning


45 double-spaced pages or less

White River Environmental Law Writing Competition

environmental law and related fields


15-30 double-spaced pages

- Dave Owen


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