Due: American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Writing Competition

DUE: June 1, 2017 — The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel is pleased to present the 13th Annual Employee Benefits Writing Prize.

SUBJECT:   Any topic in the field of employee benefits law.

OPEN TO:   Any J.D. and graduate (L.L.M. or S.J.D.) law students enrolled at any time between August 15, 2016 and August 15, 2017.

SUBMIT BY:   June 1, 2017

UP TO TWO PRIZES: Alvin D. Lurie Memorial Award  $1,500; Sidney M. Perlstadt Memorial Award $1,500

Winners will be honored during the College’s annual black tie dinner on October 14, 2017 in San Francisco, CA.  They will receive a plaque and an employee benefits treatise published by Bloomberg BNA Books. The winning papers will also be distributed to the Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, experienced attorneys who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the employee benefits field in a wide range of practice settings including law and consulting firms, universities, labor unions, advocacy organizations and government agencies throughout the United States.  The College will also use its best efforts to have one or more of the winning papers published in the Benefits Law Journal or another professional or scholarly publication, if deemed suitable by the College’s Writing Prize Committee and the editors of the publication.

For information concerning the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, contact Brian Dougherty at brian.dougherty@morganlewis.com or consult the website at www.acebc.com.

Writing Prize Rules

  1. Eligibility/Topics.  Except as provided in (6) below, applicants must be enrolled full-time or part-time in law school between August 15, 2016 and August 15, 2017 and seeking a J.D. or a graduate law degree (e.g., L.L.M. or S.J.D.).  Papers must deal with employee benefits topics.  As an illustrative example, a paper might address legal issues involving health benefits, pensions, 401(k) plans, severance, executive compensation, claims, appeals, current or former spouses’ or domestic partners’ benefits, collectively-bargained benefits, benefits in bankruptcy, ERISA litigation, fiduciary obligations or the tax treatment of benefits/contributions.

a. Papers should not exceed 40 pages (double-spaced, in 12 point type, with an inch margin on each side), not including footnotes.
b. Papers must be submitted as email attachments to brian.dougherty@morganlewis.com and should be submitted as Word or pdf documents.  No information identifying the author or law school should be included in the text, the footnotes, or the filename.  That information, an address, a telephone number and enrollment status information should be provided in the email message.
c. Submissions may include papers prepared for class assignments, law journals or other purposes, as well as those written especially for the Prize.
d. Student papers submitted for publication in law reviews or other law school journals or periodicals but not yet published are eligible for the Prize, provided that (i) the version submitted for the Prize does not reflect any changes made to the paper after submission of the manuscript to any publication and (ii) the College receives any consents necessary to publish or republish the article.

2. Selection of Winners.  Winning papers will be selected by the Writing Prize Committee based on the factors they deem relevant.  Among other factors, the Committee will consider: (i) depth and creativity of legal analysis; (ii) thoroughness of legal research; (iii) organization and writing style; (iv) difficulty of subject matter; and (v) consideration of employee benefits policy implications.  A focused, in depth analysis of a discrete topic generally is considered more favorably than a broad survey piece.  Presentation (e.g., organization, proofreading, proper grammar, etc.) also carries substantial weight.  The Committee may decline to consider a poorly organized paper or one laden with grammatical errors for those reasons alone.  The determination of the Committee is final.  It is anticipated that winners will be notified by July 21, 2017, or shortly thereafter.

3. Publication of Winning Articles(s).  The College will use its best efforts to arrange for publication of the winning papers in a professional or scholarly publication, if deemed suitable by the Writing Prize Committee and the publication’s editors.  In addition, the winning papers will be posted on the College’s website.

4. Prizes.  There are cash awards for two winning papers.  However, the College may, in its discretion, decide to split prizes, to award additional prizes or to award fewer than two prizes.  Winners will be guests of the College during its annual black tie dinner to be held on October 16, 2017 in San Francisco, CA.  The College covers the travel and lodging expenses for the prize recipients.

5. Deadline.  Papers must be submitted in the manner described in paragraph 1(b) above and must be received no later than Midnight, Eastern Time, on June 1, 2017.

6. Disclaimer.  The College disclaims responsibility for any failure to give due consideration to any submission due to any email or other electronic transmission, storage or archival errors, regardless of the cause.  However, the Committee may waive the eligibility requirements applicable to any student whose submitted paper was not afforded due consideration on account of such an error in a prior year’s contest.

Questions concerning the Competition should be directed to Brian Dougherty, Chair of the ACEBC Writing Prize Committee at brian.dougherty@morganlewis.com.

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