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The Public Law Section is seeking entries for its annual Public Law Writing Competition. Historically, the competition has been open to law students. Now, lawyers who have been practicing for 8 years or less can submit entries. Two entries will be recognized, including a $2,000 cash prize for the winner and a $500 cash prize for the runner up. The author of the winning piece will be recognized at an awards reception sponsored by the Public Law Section. Submissions will be accepted until June 1, 2023. Please read below for more information.

2023 Winner of the Public Law Writing Competition: Timothy L. O’Hair

The Writing Competition Committee awarded Timothy L. O’Hair as the winner of the Public Law Writing Competition.  Timothy’s submission presented a compelling analysis of the firearms restriction issue.

For information on past winners, click here.

What Articles Are Eligible?

Articles must be 2,000-3,000 words (not including endnotes) and must be on a topic related to public law — a field that covers areas such as administrative law, constitutional law, municipal law, open meetings/open records law, political/election law, education law, state and federal legislation, public employment and labor law, government contracts, government tort liability and regulations, land use/environmental issues, public law ethics, public finance, and water law.  Articles should be written in a style suitable for publication in the Public Law Journal and should include citations in either Bluebook or California Style Manual format, with citations included in endnotes, not footnotes.  Articles should be the original work of the submitting students without substantial editorial input from others.

Who Can Enter?

Law students who enter must be enrolled in good standing at a California law school’s Juris Doctor program that is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Lawyers who have been practicing for 8 years or fewer can also submit entries. Entrants need not be Public Law Section members to enter the competition.

Method of Submission

Articles must be submitted, by email, in Microsoft Word documents in Times New Roman 12-point font, single-spaced. Citations must be included in endnotes, not footnotes.  Articles may include headings and subheadings, but excessive headings are discouraged.  A member of the Public Law Section’s Executive Committee will notify the winner.

By submitting an article as part of this contest, the author grants the Public Law Section the right to edit (as necessary) and publish any article in the Public Law Journal.

All materials must be emailed to


The winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize from the Public Law Section and will have his or her article published in the Public Law Journal. The winner also will be recognized at an awards reception sponsored by the Public Law Section. The Public Law Section will pay the winner’s reasonable transportation and hotel accommodation expenses to attend the award reception. The runner-up will also receive a $500 cash prize.


Articles will be judged by the Executive Committee of the Public Law Section based on the following criteria:

  • Relevancy to one or more areas of public law (see description of eligible articles and examples of past winners)
  • Quality of writing
  • Complexity of topic
  • Timeliness of topic to current developments in public law
  • Originality
  • Compliance with contest rules

Questions & Submissions

Please contact the section manager with questions at

About the Public Law Section

The Public Law Section seeks to ensure that laws affecting the public sector are clear, effective and serve the public interest; to advance public service through public law practice; and to enhance the effectiveness of public law practitioners.  With more than 1,300 members, including law students, the Public Law Section focuses on addressing issues related to all areas of public law – including administrative law, constitutional law, municipal and county law, open meetings/open records laws, political/election law, education law, water law, state and federal legislation, public employment, government contracts, government tort liability, agency regulations, land use/environmental issues, public lawyer ethics, and public finance.

The Public Law Section provides educational programs, seminars and resource materials; presents the annual “Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year Award” to public law practitioners who have made significant contributions to the profession; sponsors the annual Student Writing Competition; and publishes the quarterly Public Law Journal.

See More Under Public Law Writing Competition

Public Writing Competition Winners

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