The Yale Law Journal

Announcing the Fifth Annual Student Essay Competition

Rachel Sommers
26 May 2021

The Yale Law Journal is excited to announce its fifth annual Student Essay Competition. The Journal’s Student Essay Competition challenges the next generation of legal scholars and practitioners to reflect on emerging legal problems. The Competition is open to current law students and recent law school graduates nationwide. Up to three winners will be awarded a $300 cash prize. Winning submissions will be published in the Yale Law Journal Forum, the Journal’s online component. All Forum Essays are fully searchable and available on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and our website. Information on the winning Essays from last year, as well as the Essays themselves, can be found on our website.

Competition Topic: Emerging Issues in Employment and Labor Law

This year, we invite submissions focusing on novel developments in employment and labor law, broadly understood. We encourage submissions on a range of topics, including: antidiscrimination law; workplace equity and inclusion; the digital workplace; free speech at work; workplace safety; employment and labor in the gig economy; legislation and policy proposals involving the workplace, such as the American Jobs Plan and the Green New Deal; unemployment benefits; whistleblower laws; union organizing; and critical labor theory. We welcome topics in related areas as well, and we hope to receive both clinical and academic submissions.

Eligibility and Submission Details

The competition is open to all current law students and recent law school graduates (JDs and LLMs from the Classes of 2017-2024) from any ABA-accredited law school. Each individual may submit only one piece. Submissions must be previously unpublished Essays and may not be submitted to other publications during the competition period.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to September 8, 2021. Submissions must be no shorter than 4,000 words and no longer than 8,000 words, including footnotes. 

Essays must be submitted via the Journal’s online submissions portal. If this is your first time using our new submission system (launched in February 2021), please make a new account by clicking “Not a member?” on the login page. When asked to select “Submission Type,” please select “Student Essay Competition” (do not select “Forum Essay (Students)”). Please submit your Essay as a Word document. Your submission file should be titled “YLJ Essay Competition - [ESSAY TITLE]” and include a header with “YLJ Essay Competition” in the main text of your document. To ensure anonymized review, please do not include any identifying information, including name, class year, or institution, in your Essay’s body or metadata. Failure to anonymize your Essay may disqualify it from consideration by the Selection Committee.

A Selection Committee will consider all submissions anonymously. Winners will be announced in October 2021. Authors who submit winning Essays commit to publication in the Yale Law Journal Forum and agree to participate in our full editing process. This process involves both structural and substantive suggestions, as well as sourceciting for content and adherence to Bluebook style.

Disbursement of the cash prize to each winner is subject to any applicable tax reporting and withholding requirements.

Please direct questions about the Student Essay Competition to the Managing Editors, Josh Altman ( and Sammy Bensinger ( We look forward to reading your submissions!