CLA DEI Law Student Writing Competition

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Distinguished Law Student Writing Competition

California Lawyers Association’s (CLA) Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach (DIOr) Committee is proud to announce its first annual CLA’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Distinguished Law Student Writing Competition.  Through this award, the Committee seeks to recognize law student authors of exceptional, literary works which advance the understanding and pursuit of increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Literary Focus

Each year, the Committee may designate a different literary focus.  In 2024, law students are directed to write on the topic below.

In Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 600 U.S. 181 (2023), the United States Supreme Court held that race-based affirmative action programs in college admissions processes violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • What impacts does this holding have on Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, programs, and grants in college and law school admissions and, by extension, employer DEI programs in law firms and legal departments?
  • What practical steps and efforts may voluntary state bar associations and organizations take to advance DEI programs and initiatives in the legal profession, in light of this holding?

Submission Deadline:  Submissions must be emailed in MS Word format to initiatives@calawyers.org by no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) on July 21, 2024.  Submissions received after this time will not be considered.  Questions may be directed to initiatives@calawyers.org.

For additional information on Submission Requirements, Award Criteria and Details, below:

Introduction

The California Lawyers Association’s (CLA) Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach (DIOr) Committee will endeavour to recognize law student authors of exceptional, literary works which advance and serve the understanding and pursuit of increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Award Eligibility, Criteria and Limitations

  1. The Committee may utilize this award program to motivate and recognize authorship by current law students (must be actively enrolled and in good standing with an ABA-accredited law school, and a current student member of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) of exceptional original, unpublished literary works having the literary focus, as designated by the Committee, which advance and serve the understanding and pursuit of increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the legal profession.  The Committee may discontinue, amend, expand, or revise the terms and conditions of this award program at any time.

  2. Papers prepared for classes, law review, journals, or for other purposes or publications are welcome but must be reworked as to be a new original paper and must not have been published or submitted for publication.  Failure to submit an original paper will result in disqualification.  Use of any generative artificial intelligence, including large language models, to create any portion of a submission whether in the research, writing, or editing phase, is prohibited.

  3. In addition, in order to be eligible for consideration, the original literary work must have the literary focus designated by the Committee, consist of between 1,000 – 1,500 words exclusive of footnotes/endnotes (winners must convert all footnotes to endnotes containing hyperlinks at time of publication), be typed and submitted double-spaced in Calibri (or similar) font.  All entries must be in English with Bluebook citations on American law, submitted in MS Word, and publication-worthy without the need for editing or rewriting.

  4. By entering, the winning entrant(s) consent(s) to the editing, publication and reprinting of their entry by the CLA and/or the Committee, understands that such publication/reprinting is not guaranteed, and grants to the CLA and/or the Committee the right of first publication and the perpetual right to publish and reprint the work in its periodicals, books, anthologies, ebooks, audiobooks, website(s), social media, or any other publication platform, whether print or digital, without further compensation.  Additionally, all winning entrants must execute a separate publication agreement giving the CLA, the Committee, and any publication partners (as identified and designated by the Committee), editing, first publication and reprinting rights described herein and the right to use the literary works for any other purpose related to the Committee’s mission.  Such publication agreement may contain specific formatting and/or other requirements which the winning entrants must meet as may be necessary for publication.  If the winning authors/co-authors fail to sign the publication agreement within seven (7) calendar days of being contacted, the award and prize will be considered forfeited, and another winner may be named.  Entrants who are not award recipients may submit their literary works for publication elsewhere after the contest is complete.

  5. Each entrant may submit only one literary work for consideration.

  6. By entering, the award recipients agree to allow the use of their names, photographs, likenesses, and biographical information for advertising, publicity and promotional purpose in all media without compensation.

  7. As determined by the Committee, awards may be in the form of any one or more of the following:
    • A monetary prize (1) not to exceed $2,500 USD (first place winner), and not less than $1,500 USD (runner up).  If a winning literary work is co-authored, the co-authors shall split the corresponding monetary prize; and/or
    • Recognition of award recipients (recipients’ names will be posted on the CLA and/or Committee’s public websites and/or social media accounts, with a copy of and/or link to their winning literary works); and/or
    • Publication and/or reprinting of the winning submissions; and/or
    • Recognition of the award recipients at a CLA-sponsored event, to be designated by CLA and/or the Committee (more details will be shared on the Committee’s webpage regarding this award program), where the monetary prize will be presented.  Please note: travel, transportation, accommodations, meeting and all other costs not included, except as expressly identified in writing by the Committee on its webpage.

      No prize substitutions or transfers will be permitted, and an award recipient may not receive the value of any portion of the award or prize in lieu of the award/prize.  Award recipients are solely responsible for reporting and payment of all taxes (federal, state, local or other) on prizes.  Award recipients will be required to complete a W-9, affidavit of eligibility, tax acknowledgment and liability release for tax purposes.

  8. No more than two awards (one first place winner and one runner up) shall be given during any single year, in order to preclude dilution of the award’s esteem.  There is no minimum number of awards that must be given every year or in any given year.  No award recipient will be eligible to receive more than one award.  No award recipient has a right to publication.

  9. Award recipients will be notified by email and must ensure that the Committee has a current email at which they may be reached.  Award recipients must acknowledge and confirm their agreement to the terms and conditions of winning the competition, including execution of the separate publication agreement described herein, no later than one week after they are contacted, after which they forfeit the award and another winner or runner up may be selected.

  10. No literary work which fails on vote of the Committee may be resubmitted or reconsidered the following year.

  11. If the submitted literary work is co-authored, all co-authors must meet these requirements in order to be eligible for consideration.

  12. Privacy Policy/Data Collection: Information provided by entrants in connection with this contest is subject to the CLA’s privacy policy, available at https://calawyers.org/policies/california-lawyers-association-privacy-notice/.

Voting Procedure

Submissions will be judged on depth of analysis, quality of writing, originality, and thoroughness.  Awards shall be authorized by affirmative vote of at least three Committee members or the Committee’s designee (in the case of a subcommittee designated for this award program, for example). At the discretion of the Chair, such vote may be taken by email, phone conference or at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee (or subcommittee). If a vote is taken at a meeting and fewer than three affirmative votes are not received, all absent members shall have the opportunity to vote by email, provided that their votes, if affirmative, might result in identifying the award recipients.  The Committee will endeavour to review all eligible submissions meeting the requirements above and vote within 30 days after the submission deadline, with award recipients to be contacted by email shortly thereafter.

About the Diversity Inclusion and Outreach (DIOr) Committee

The mission of the Diversity Inclusion and Outreach (DIOr) Committee is to promote and support the California Lawyers Association’s (CLA) deep commitment to diversifying the legal profession and bench to mirror the unique and broad diversity in our state and make sure that access can be achieved by all. The Committee provides policy recommendations and develops and conducts outreach initiatives to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of the legal profession, including its membership, leadership, education, and programming.

A major focus since the Committee’s formation in 2021 has been the crafting of policies to address the diversity of CLA’s volunteer leadership ranks (examples of which can be found here and here); its Visibility Through Publication series; and, beginning in 2024, its annual CLA Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Distinguished Law Student Writing Competition

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