Each year the Law School awards several prizes for the best papers written by Harvard Law School students in particular areas of the law. Graduating prize winners are noted in the Commencement Program and prize-winning papers are eligible to be published in the School’s public paper series.
For more information on how to apply, please see the Writing Prize Submission Instructions. You can also view a full list of this year’s prizes with corresponding reviewers.
Writing Prize Opportunities:
Addison Brown Prize
The bequest of Addison Brown, LL.B. 1855, established a prize to be awarded annually or biannually for the best essay written by a student on a subject related to private international law or maritime law. This year the award is $9,000. A paper can be submitted in accordance with the instructions above or nominated for consideration by any instructor under whose supervision the paper was written during the academic year.
Animal Law & Policy Program Writing Prize
The Animal Law & Policy Program awards, annually, up to two prizes to the Harvard Law Students writing the best papers in the field of Animal Law and Policy, or in a related field addressing a topic that directly pertains to animals (such as Environmental Law, Food Law, International Law). The papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, in conjunction with a course, seminar, clinic, graduate degree, or as an independent study project at the Law School. The amount of each prize is $1,000.
The Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies Writing Award
The Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies will award two prizes for the best student papers in the following categories: 1. Biblical Law or 2. Judeo-Christian Legal Thought/The Intersection of Faith & Law. On the writing prize submission form, please designate which category fits your submission best. Eligible papers will be those written under faculty/instructor supervision or recommended by faculty/instructor. Students who submit papers written without faculty supervision must include a cover letter stating their efforts in securing such supervision – including faculty members that were approached. The prize is $1,500 each.
Victor Brudney Prize
This prize was established by the Program on Corporate Governance in honor of Professor Victor Brudney, Robert B. and Candice J. Haas Professor in Corporate Finance Law, Emeritus. This prize may be awarded annually to the best student paper on a topic related to corporate governance. The amount of the prize is $1,000.
Roger Fisher and Frank E.A. Sander Prize
This prize was established in 2007 by the Program on Negotiation in honor of Professors Roger Fisher, the Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, and Frank E.A. Sander, the Bussey Professor of Law, Emeritus. This prize may be awarded annually to the best student paper on a topic related to negotiation, dispute systems design, mediation, dispute resolution, or ADR. The amount of the prize is $1,000. The winner’s name will also be engraved on a wall plaque to be displayed at the Program on Negotiation.
Program in Islamic Law Writing Prize
The Program in Islamic Law will award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law School student writing the best paper in the field of Islamic legal studies or at the intersection of Islamic law and related fields. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, addressing any topic in Islamic legal studies, drawing on approaches of legal history, law and society, and/or comparative law.
Yong K. Kim ’95 Memorial Prize ***(Special Submission Instructions)***
This prize has special submission instructions. Please check the Prize Submission Instructions page for more information.
This prize was established by the East Asian Legal Studies program in memory of Yong K. Kim A.B. ’92, J.D. ’95 through the generosity of his parents, Professor and Mrs. Joe H. Kim, his family, and many friends at and beyond the Law School. The award has two components: authorship of a paper, as well as contributions to the life of the Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies program. The prize recipient should also possess Yong Kim’s interest in and enthusiasm for fostering U.S.-East Asian understanding and plan a career that will further advance these interests.
A prize of $1,500 is awarded to the student author of a paper concerning the law or legal history of the nations and peoples of East Asia, or legal issues concerning international relations in the region or with the United States. This should be accompanied by a brief statement as to how he or she contributed to the East Asian Legal Studies program and endeavored to foster understanding at Harvard Law School regarding East Asia and its interaction with the U.S.
Papers may be written in conjunction with a course or seminar or as an independent study project at the Law School.
Writing Prize of the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World
The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School will award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law Student writing the best paper on the topic of law and society or law and social change in a Muslim majority or minority context. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year at Harvard Law School.
The Laylin Prize was established in memory of John Gallup Laylin, J.D. 1928, by his firm, Covington & Burling LLP. A prize of $4,000 is awarded for the best paper written by a student in the field of public international law. To be considered, a paper must be nominated by the faculty supervisor. A paper is eligible for nomination if it was written during the current academic year for Law School credit (or to fulfill a Law School degree requirement) and if the supervisor deems it to be the best paper that he or she has supervised on the topic during that same year.
Legal Profession Paper Prize
The purpose of this prize is to encourage deeper reflection and consideration by HLS students about their chosen profession, its role in society, and the many challenges that lawyers face in a rapidly-changing world. Paper topics must relate to the legal profession itself or to a related aspect of the delivery of professional services. This could include (but is not limited to) topics such as legal careers, the management of law firms, legal departments, and other legal service providers, diversity or gender-related issues, the impact of globalization or other social trends upon the profession, the role of lawyers and legal institutions in society, changes in the profession over time, comparisons between lawyers and other professional service providers, and the like. The amount of the prize is $1,000.
LGBTQ+ Writing Prize
The funding for this prize is donated annually to honor the memory of HLS graduates who died of AIDS. Many of these graduates from the 1970s and 1980s played important roles in the legal movements aimed at addressing HIV disease and developing LGBTQ+ rights. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, addressing any topic in LGBTQ+ law. Papers may be written in conjunction with a course or seminar or as an independent study project at the Law School, and significant writing undertaken as part of work at the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (such as an amicus brief or advocacy paper) is eligible for submission. The amount of the prize is $1,000
Established in honor of Federico Mancini, a judge of the European Court of Justice, the Mancini Prize is awarded annually to the student writing the best paper in the field of European law and European legal thought. The paper should be one written during the current academic year and must relate to European law. The prize is $2,000.
Irving Oberman Memorial Awards
The bequest of Isabel B. Oberman established this award in 1973 in memory of her husband, Irving Oberman, A.B. 1917. It provides for an annual prize of $1,000 to be awarded by the dean for the best paper by a student of the School on each of seven current legal subjects. Papers addressing topics in the following subject areas will be eligible for Oberman Awards: Bankruptcy; Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism and the Fourteenth Amendment; Environmental Law; Equal Justice Under Law; Family Law; Intellectual Property; and Legal History. For more details visit the Irving Oberman Awards webpage.
John M. Olin Prize in Law and Economics ***(Special Deadline and Submission Instructions)***
This prize has a special deadline and submission instructions. Please check the Prize Submission Instructions page for more information.
This is a $2,000 prize awarded for an outstanding paper written by an HLS student analyzing a legal topic from an economic perspective. Prior to submitting a paper for consideration, a student must request that the professor under whom the paper was written email a statement of evaluation of the paper directly to Professor Steven Shavell by the deadline below. Upon fulfillment of that requirement, the paper should be submitted by email to Irina Goldina, Program Administrator, by midnight on Friday, April 22, 2022. The prize is generally awarded in May. For further information, please contact Irina Goldina.
Project on the Foundations of Private Law Prize
Established in 2011 by the Project on Private Law at Harvard Law School. This prize may be awarded annually to the best student paper on a topic related to private law. The amount of the prize is $1,000.
Sidney I. Roberts Prize Fund
This prize was established by Roberts & Holland LLP in honor of its founding partner and his significant work in the area of tax law. The fund provides an annual prize of $5,000 for the best student paper in the field of taxation. The papers can be written in conjunction with a course or seminar or as an independent study project at the Law School.
Klemens von Klemperer Prize
The Klemens von Klemperer Prize Fund was established in 2013 by the von Klemperer family as a tribute to the late Professor Klemens von Klemperer and his many decades of dedication to teaching and motivating students. The fund provides support for the Klemens von Klemperer Prize, to be awarded annually to the Harvard Law School student who writes the most compelling essay on the subject of Resistance. Students are encouraged to consider a broad range of issues and ideas; interdisciplinary links to subjects outside the strict study of law such as History, Literature, Religion, Art, Philosophy, and Technology are encouraged. Consideration will also be given to Resistance issues as they arise in other countries, including those which involve international relations. The amount of the prize is $3,000.
Stephen L. Werner Prize
Through a bequest made by Edith L. Fisch, in memory of her late husband from the HLS class of 1932, the Steven L. Werner Prize was established in 2009. The Werner Prize will be awarded annually to the Harvard Law School Student writing the best paper in the field of criminal justice, including (but not limited to) criminal law theory, substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, legal ethics in the criminal context, and comparative and international criminal law and institutions. Students may submit only one paper each for this prize. The prize is $1000. A paper can be submitted in accordance with the instructions above, or nominated for consideration by any instructor under whose supervision the paper was written during the academic year.