Public Law

Public Law Writing Competition

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. Three entries will be recognized, including a $2,000 cash prize for the winner. The author of the winning piece will be recognized at an awards reception sponsored by the Public Law Section, and their reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the reception will be included. Read bios of past winners here.


image of Wendy Hernandez

Wendy M. Hernandez earned her law degree from the University of California (UC), Hastings, mid-pandemic in May 2020, and earned her bachelors degree from UC Berkeley in American Studies, with departmental honors. At Berkeley, she published innovative scholarship twice and was selected as the sole recipient of the 2014 Chancellor’s Mather Good Citizen Award for Public Service. At Hastings, Wendy served as the first Latina Editor in Chief of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, a Student-Mediator at the San Francisco Superior Court, Student-Counsel and thereafter Teaching Assistant for the Social Enterprise & Economic Empowerment Clinic, and Co-President of La Raza Law Students Association. During law school, Wendy also externed for the United States District Court – Central District of California, Phillips Black, and the UC Office of the President – Office of General Counsel. Wendy seeks to become in-or-outside counsel for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises dedicated to the public and social good. Currently, Wendy is studying for the California 2020 bar exam and can be found at an Oakland Black Lives Matter protest during her bar exam study breaks. 

2020 Public Writing Competition Runner-upHenry Castillo

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?

Students 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.  Students need not be Public Law Section members to enter the competition.

Now, lawyers who have been practicing for 8 years or less can submit entries.

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.


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 coordinator 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.

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