Due: 2017 Founders First Freedom Law Student Writing Competition

Due: June 23, 2017, 5:00 pm PST — Founders First Freedom is pleased to announce our first annual Law Student Writing Competition.

The competition is open to current J.D. and L.L.M. students who are enrolled in law schools in the United States, including students who graduate in the spring of 2017. The writer of the first place entry will be awarded $1,500 and the writer of the second place entry will be awarded $750. All winning entries and selected runner-ups will be posted on the Founders First Freedom website.

Draft a model “Supreme Court majority opinion” addressing the issue before the Court in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley.  Keep in mind that the “question presented” was drafted by the attorneys for Trinity Lutheran Church in the “Petition for a Writ of Certiorari” and makes legal and factual assumptions that were rebutted by the respondent and addressed by amici. Arguments presented therein should not be considered authoritative.

The document should weigh both sides of the argument and reach a persuasive conclusion. Winners will not be determined based on their conclusions, but rather on the strength of the reasoning. If the Supreme Court issues a ruling in advance of the conclusion of the competition, it will not affect the judging in this competition.


The primary documents in the case are the briefs of the petitioner and respondent.  Secondary documents are the amicus briefs. You may reference any relevant case law.

Many of the briefs are accessible at ScotusBlog.com

Eligibility Rules

Submissions must be original works of publishable quality written by a student currently enrolled full- or part-time in a law school in the United States and those graduating in the spring of 2017.

Entries may be adapted from a student’s coursework, and participants are encouraged to communicate with professors and others for assistance but the work presented must be the student’s original work.

Citations and Footnotes

All submissions must comply with the current Harvard Law Review Association’s Bluebook Uniform of Citation and in conformity with legal briefs and Supreme Court opinions as opposed to research papers, in-text case citations are preferred to footnotes or endnotes. However, footnotes may be used for explanatory asides in the tradition of the Court.


Entries should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word or a compatible format, double-spaced in 12-point type with a 1 to 1.5″ margin. The first page should be a title page with the name of the law student, and the name of their law school. Students who wish to acknowledge the assistance of a faculty member or other person may identify them on the title page. No personally identifying information should appear on the subsequent pages for purposes of neutrality in judging.

A word count of 2,000 to 3,500 words is suggested although shorter or longer documents may be considered. Word count does not include footnotes.


Articles will be judged by a panel of law professors and attorneys.

Winning essays will be persuasive, adequately researched and properly supported by citations, well organized and articulate, and demonstrate an understanding of both sides of the issues.


Submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. PST on June 23, 2017. The winner will be announced by August 25, 2017.

Submit documents via email to writingcompetition@foundersfirstfreedom.org

Founders First Freedom is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to promote quality education and scholarship in matters involving the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

For more information, please see: foundersfirstfreedom.org

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