American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security National Security Law Student Writing Competition

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Deadline: August 15, 2017


The Standing Committee on Law and National Security, founded in 1962 by thenABA President and later Supreme Court Justice Lewis J. Powell, conducts studies, sponsors programs and conferences, and administers working groups on law and national security-related issues. The Committee’s activities assist policymakers, educate lawyers, the media and the public, and enable the Committee to make recommendations to the ABA. The Standing Committee provides research and advice on such subjects as the legal responses to terrorism, the restructuring of the intelligence community, the conduct of military operations and issues addressed to the national security challenges in cyber space. In furtherance of this mission the Standing Committee is pleased to announce a writing competition for law students to provide their perspective and insight on some of the most important questions our country faces in the field of national security. This year’s writing competition encourages scholarly debate on any one of the pressing issues facing national security practitioners, including but not limited to issues of electronic surveillance, cybersecurity, regulation of crypto-currency, law of armed conflict, legality of the use of force in various contexts by the United States and foreign nations, and the complex risks of sharing secret or confidential information among agencies and/or between governments, among other subjects. Many experts agree that the existing legal frameworks should be modified to adapt to new challenges in technology and to reflect changes in warfare and intelligence practices. Papers should consider one or more among many constitutional, statutory, and other legal responses that will prepare us for these changing paradigms.


The competition is open to all students who are in attendance at an ABA accredited law school between January 1, 2016 and July 15, 2017. Only original and previously unpublished papers are eligible. Papers prepared for law school credit are eligible provided they are original work. Papers may have multiple authors, provided that all of the authors are eligible students. Entrants can have a faculty member or practicing lawyer review and critique their work, but the submission must be the student’s own work product. The name of the reviewing professor or lawyer must be noted on the entry. Committee members, staff, and selection committee members shall not participate in the contest or review process. Only one essay may be submitted per entrant, including joint papers.


Essays may not exceed 5,000 words, including title, citations, and footnotes. Essays over 5,000 words will be rejected. The text of the essay must be double-spaced, with twelve-point font and one-inch margins. Entries may make use of any citation style, as long as all sources are cited properly and consistently. Entry Procedure: Each submission must include a SEPARATE COVER PAGE with the name, law school, year of study, mailing and email address, and phone number of all entrants. The contestant’s names and other identifying markings, such as school name, MAY NOT appear on any copy of the submitted essay.


Submissions must be postmarked no later than August 15, 2017 and mailed to: American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Law and National Security, 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; or sent via email to The Winner will be notified by October 15, 2017. Judging: The winning entry will contain an original analysis of a national security law issue that is substantively accurate and persuasive, supported by citations, and clearly written. The entries will be judged anonymously by a subcommittee made up of members of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.


The winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500 and free registration to the 27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference to be held in Washington, DC on November 16 and 17, 2017. In the case of a co-authored paper, the winners will split the cash prize and each co-author (up to two) will receive free registration to the Annual Review Conference. In addition to registration for the conference, the prize will include partial reimbursement for travel, up to $200 if the winner is outside of the DC metro area. If the winning essay is a co-authored paper, the partial reimbursement shall be split between the co-authors. Additionally, the essay will be published by the Standing Committee. Winner must be present at the conference to receive the award.


By submitting an entry in this contest, regardless of whether the entry is accepted for publication or in any other way chosen or selected by the ABA or the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, the entrant grants the ABA and the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security permission to edit and publish the entry in the Committee’s National Security Law Report, online, and in any other ABA approved forum at the discretion of the ABA or the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. By submitting an entry to this contest, the entrant retains the copyright in his or her submission and grants the ABA and the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security license to publish the submission in perpetuity. The entrant additionally grants to the ABA and the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security the right to first publication of the entry. This license includes the right to publish the submission online and in a manner that is individually searchable.


Please direct any questions about the contest to the Committee Staff Director at

August 15 2017


Date: 15 August, 2017
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