Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition
2010 Rules and Frequently Asked Questions
WHO MAY ENTER
All current students of the James E. Rogers College of Law may enter the
Competition. J.D. students, advanced-degree students, visiting students, and transfer
students may enter.
DATES AND TIMES
The Competition runs from Friday, October 22 to Monday, November 1. The
problem will be posted on the College of Law web site no later than noon on
October 22. All entries must be submitted by e-mail no later than 8:00 a.m. on
November 1. No late entries will be accepted.
Prior to Monday, November 1 at 8:00 a.m., please submit your finished entry
electronically firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put your name only on the first
page of your submission. After assigning a Competition number to your submission,
Mr. Arevalo will remove your name - and all metadata - so that the submissions can
be evaluated anonymously.
Please send your entry as an email attachment in Word, WordPerfect, pdf, or Rich
Text Format only. If you submit an entry more than once, we will accept the e-mail
with the latest time listed.
If a question arises about this Competition, you may choose to resolve it yourself by
including an explanatory note with your entry. If you need to speak to someone to
resolve a question, please send an email to both Professor Suzanne Rabe
(email@example.com) and Professor Lorraine Gin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Include your phone number in the email. Professors Rabe and Gin will check their email
regularly and answer questions within a reasonable amount of time.
Important: If you feel that disclosure of your identity with your question might in
any way - no matter how remotely - compromise the anonymity of your entry, please
send your question to Professor Susan Salmon (email@example.com).
Professor Salmon, who will not be involved in the judging of the Competition, will
either (1) answer your question herself or (2) remove all indications of your identity
before she seeks an answer from Professors Rabe and Gin.
JUDGING AND AWARDS
Entries will be judged for accuracy, clarity, brevity, and persuasiveness. A winning
entry will be well-written, well-reasoned, and interesting. Professors Suzanne Rabe
and Lorraine Gin will evaluate the student entries and choose five finalists. Then, a
panel of outside judges will rank the finalists to determine the order of the awards.
The awards will be announced in January 2011.
1. Submit your entry anonymously. Only include your name on the first page of your
entry when you email it to Mr. Arevalo. He will then assign you a Competition
number and remove your name.
2. Although the problem will include links to some explanatory materials, you are not
limited to these materials. You may consult newspaper or magazine articles or even
outside legal sources. You may consult sources on the Internet or on Westlaw and
Lexis. You may consult a dictionary, thesaurus, citation manual, legal-writing text, or
style manual. You may use the spell-check and grammar-check features on your
word processor. There is really no limit to the outside sources that you may consult
except Rule #3, which prohibits participants from discussing the problemâ€”either
orally or in writing - with anyone other than Prof. Rabe, Prof. Gin, Prof. Salmon or
3. The work must be entirely your own. You may receive no advice from anyone
concerning the Competition. No one else may read, proofread, or critique your
writing for this Competition. Do not discuss the problem with anyone other than
Professors Rabe, Gin, and Salmon or with Mr. Arevalo until the Competition is
officially terminated at 8:00 a.m. on November 1.
4. Your entry must be your own original work prepared exclusively for this
Competition. You may not enter work that was written - in part or in full - prior to
the beginning of this Competition.
5. All entries must be typed and double-spaced, using 13-point font or larger. Block
quotes may be single-spaced. The maximum length of the paper is eight pages.
Margins must be one inch or larger on all four sides of the paper. Papers that exceed
these limitations will not be judged. Include page numbers on every page of the
6. If you choose to cite cases or other sources in your entry, we recommend that you
cite them in footnotes or endnotes. It would be unusual to have in-text citations in
an editorial, even an editorial for an audience of lawyers. To the best of your ability,
use proper citation form - either ALWD format or Bluebook format.
7. If you are not fully familiar with proper ALWD or Bluebook citation form (i.e. if
you are a 1L), you may either (a) choose not to cite sources formally in your entry, or
(b) use a more informal system of citation that includes, at a minimum, the name of
the source and the page number.
8. Several copies of the ALWD Manual are available in the legal writing office (Room
260) for 72-hour check-out.
9. While we ask that your entry be neat and carefully proofread, please know that
your entry will be judged primarily on its substantive content. Focus on your
argument and your analysis. Be accurate, succinct, clear, and persuasive. Look at the
big picture. Dare to be interesting.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: How long do you think it will take to write an entry for this Competition?
Answer: We think an excellent entry can be written over a weekend in one to two
days - or maybe even less time. We do not anticipate that you will spend all your
extra time during the 10 days of the Competition writing and working on your entry.
Question: How important is proofreading, punctuation, spelling, and the like?
Answer: Those things are less important than the argument you make and the
persuasiveness of that argument. But we do hope you will proofread your entry.
Professors Rabe and Gin will look primarily for an interesting, persuasive, well
written entry. Their decisions will not be influenced by minor proofreading errors.
We cannot guarantee, however, that the five outside judges - the ones who determine
the order of the awardsâ€”will not take minor proofreading errors into account when
making their decisions.
Question: What kind of writing style are you looking for?
Answer: We anticipate that we will read and enjoy a variety of writing styles among
the entries submitted. We are looking for good writing - effective and interesting
writingâ€” and not for any particular style of writing. Your chosen audience and the
subject of your profile will likely inform the style that you adopt. Your own
personality may also come into play.
Question: Do you recommend any particular style manual? Should we use the New
York Times Manual of Style? The Chicago Manual of Style?
Answer: For this Competition, we neither require nor recommend any particular
style manual. You will be fine if you follow the general conventions of American
English. Most serious writersâ€”and nearly all publicationsâ€”do use a style manual.
Style manuals answer questions about punctuation, grammar, numbers, abbreviations,
spelling, capitalization, spacing, and more. Here in the legal writing office, we use The
Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style by Bryan Garner. You will find copies of The Redbook
on reserve in the library.
Question: I have a spelling question and a punctuation question. May I ask someone
in the legal writing office?
Answer: No. All writing and style decisions must be your own. You may, however,
consult online sources or print sources to help you answer your questions. A
dictionary, thesaurus, or style manual may be helpful.
Question: May I use metaphor, simile, and literary references in my entry? What
Answer: Absolutely. You may use literary devices to capture the interest of your
reader and to communicate your argument in vivid, memorable prose. You may tell
stories - in first, second, or third person.
Question: Do you recommend that I cite cases and other sources in the editorial -
or do you think it would be more effective to write it in the style of a newspaper
editorial with no formal citations?
Answer: This is entirely up to you. Whatever you do, though, strive for readability
in your editorial. Sometimes you can be more persuasive and more compelling if you
include citations. With footnotes and formal citations, though, you have to be careful
that the editorial doesn't become too dry and academic. Remember, this is a writing
contest. Your entry should be readable and interesting.
Question: The problem gives links to sample editorials from the Arizona Attorney
magazine. Should we follow the style in these editorials?
Answer: Not necessarily. These links are included because every year we receive emails
from students asking for samples. You need not write your editorial for a bar
journal. You could instead write it for a newspaper, a newsletter, or even an online
blog of some sort. You may write in a more conversational or informal style. Just
keep in mind the requirement that your target audience must be made up of lawyers.