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The Environmental Law Section is pleased to announce the winner of the first annual Student Environmental Law Writing Competition. First place goes to Leehi Yona at Stanford Law School for her article “Poor Greenhouse Gas Accounting Exacerbates Environmental Injustices: A Stockton, California Case Study.” Congratulations Leehi!  The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, free registration to the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, and publication of her winning article in a future issue of Environmental Law News.  

Please stay tuned to the Section’s website for details of the 2023 Student Environmental Law Writing Competition next year.     

About the Writing Competition

The competition is free and open to all law school students currently enrolled at any law school located within California.  Entries may be on any issue of legal and/or policy significance relating to the field of environmental law, and must be 5,000 words or less.

Entries must be submitted to, with the subject line “Law Student Writing Competition Submission,” and comply with all instructions in the Official Rules below.  Entries will be judged anonymously.   

Up to three prizes will be awarded, including a first-place prize of $1,000, complimentary registration for the Environmental Law Section’s October 2022 “Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite” (location subject to change), and recognition at the Yosemite Conference. 

Entries must comply with and are subject to all Official Rules below.  For any questions, please email, with the Subject line “Law Student Writing Competition Question”. 

Official Rules

1. DESCRIPTION: This Competition (“Competition”) is sponsored by the Environmental Law Section (“Section”) of the California Lawyer’s Association (“CLA”), 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 650, Sacramento, CA 95814 (the “Sponsor”). The goals of the Competition are to encourage law students to become involved in the Section, and to raise awareness of and foster dialogue regarding legal issues related to environmental law and encourage scholarship in the field. Each entrant must follow the rules of the Competition detailed herein.

2. ELIGIBILITY: The Competition is open to any current law school students who, at the time of entry, are enrolled at any law school located within California. Directors, officers, and employees of the CLA are not eligible.

3. TOPIC: Entries for the Competition should demonstrate original thought on a question of legal and/or policy significance relating to the field of environmental law. A broad range of topics will be accepted such as, for example, climate change, species protection, pollution control, oil and gas, mining, impact analysis, water law, or environmental justice. The decision of whether an essay qualifies as to subject matter is within the discretion of the judges selected to evaluate submissions.


a. Entries must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant. Any relevant writing or essay may be submitted for the Competition, including writing submitted for academic credit. An entry must not have been previously published or scheduled to be published in any media. Only one entry may be submitted by each entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.

b. Entries must be submitted in Word document format, with 1-inch margins.  The main text must be double spaced, with 12-point type. Footnotes must be single-spaced, 10-point type, and must use Bluebook format.  Entries must not exceed 5,000 words, including footnotes. Each page must have a header that includes the title of the paper and a footer that includes page numbers.

c. To enable anonymous evaluation of the entries, no information that could identify the author should appear anywhere in the body of the paper, including in the header or footer.

d. Entries must also include a separate cover sheet in a separate electronic word file. The following information must be presented on the cover sheet: competition title; submission title; author’s name; 1-2 sentence professional biography; law school; expected year of graduation from law school; mailing address; telephone number(s) and email address.

e. Entries and coversheets must be submitted electronically in two separate word files, as email attachments. Entries must be submitted via email to, with the Subject line “Law Student Writing Competition Submission” by Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. (pacific). The Sponsor is not responsible for errors or for lost, late, or misdirected email, or telecommunication or hardware or software failures, including by reason of any bug or computer virus or other failure.

f. All participants retain full copyright to their entries except that the winner(s) is/are required to license certain rights to the CLA (see paragraph 7 below) as a condition of entry.

5. SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNER(S): The format of this Competition has been selected to stimulate creativity of thought and legal research. Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: (1) writing quality; (2) analysis and legal reasoning; (3) originality; (4) quality and use of legal research, including citation to primary authority; (5) the topic’s timeliness and relevance to environmental law and policy issue(s); and (6) compliance with these Rules. The entries will be judged anonymously by a committee of judges selected by leaders of the Section’s Executive Committee substantive committee(s) (“Judging Committee”). The selection of winner(s) will be made by the Judging Committee based on the above criteria. The Section will notify the winner(s) by email of their selection no later than September 15, 2022. The Section reserves the right not to award any prizes if the Judging Committee determines that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection. If a potential winner does not respond within ten (10) business days after the Section’s first attempt to contact them, or if the contact is returned as non-deliverable, the potential winner forfeits all rights to be named as winner or receive a prize, and an alternate winner may be chosen.

6. PRIZES: CLA will award up to three prizes, including a first-place prize of $1,000, complimentary registration for the Section’s October 2022 “Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite” (location subject to change), and recognition at the Yosemite Conference.  The first-place winning essay may also be published in the Section’s Environmental Law News publication.  Second and third place prizes may be awarded, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor after consultation with the Judging Committee, depending on the number and quality of entries received.  The winner(s) will be announced on the Section’s website, and may be announced in other Section communications.  Sponsor reserves the right not to award any prize, or to award less than three prizes, if the judges determine that entries are of insufficient quality to merit selection that year. Prizes are non-transferable and cannot be substituted by the winner.  Winners will be solely responsible for compliance with all applicable tax laws (federal, state, and/or other) on prizes. The decision of the Sponsor, including the Judging Committee, is final. If a winner’s entry is selected for publication, the winner will be required to sign a standard publication agreement.

7. LICENSE/GRANT OF RIGHTS: By entering, an entrant consents, if selected as a winner, to the publication of their entry by the CLA; understands that publication is not guaranteed; and grants the CLA the following rights: (1) the non-exclusive right of publication of their entry in any and all forms of CLA media, including that the entry’s first publication must be in the CLA publication “Environmental Law News”; (2) the right to edit the entry, with the entrant’s knowledge and participation, to conform to the publication’s standards of style, technological requirements, etc., provided the meaning of the entry is not materially altered; and (3) the non-exclusive right to use the winner’s name and likeness in connection with the entry or this Competition without further compensation.  By entering, entrants warrant that their entry is original and not subject to any third party copyright, that publication of the entry will not libel anyone or infringe on or invade the rights of others and that the entry has not been published and is not currently scheduled to be published elsewhere in whole or in part.

8. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Entries must be submitted by e-mail on or before Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. (pacific).

9. LAWS AND REGULATIONS: This contest is governed by U.S. law and all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. By entering, all entrants agree that the competition shall be governed by the laws of the State of California, that the courts of California shall have exclusive jurisdiction, and that Sacramento County, California shall be the venue for any dispute or litigation relating to or arising from the competition. Void where prohibited by law.

10. CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION: By participating, each entrant agrees to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, and releases and discharges the CLA, subsidiary and affiliated entities, and each of their respective officers, directors, members, employees, independent contractors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns (collectively “Sponsor”) from any and all liability whatsoever in connection with this Competition, including without limitation legal claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages, demands or actions of any kind (including without limitation personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation, or portrayal in a false light) (collectively “Claims”). Except where prohibited, acceptance of a prize constitutes a release by any winner of the Sponsor of any and all Claims in connection with the administration of this Competition and the use, misuse or possession of any prize. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Sponsor may cancel, modify or terminate the Competition if it is not capable of completion as planned, including by reason of infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure or technical difficulties of any kind.

11. SPONSOR: California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section, 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 650, Sacramento, CA 95814

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