Guide to Student Writing for Publication & Prizes

Student writing competitions are one way to hone your legal writing skills. There are over a hundred competitions on many different topics and some offer substantial prize money.

The library has put together a list of current competitions arranged by topic so you can look for those in your areas of interest. Note that some competitions allow you to submit previously written papers, so you may be able to use something you've written for a class.

If you want to publish an article you've written, consider using the ExpressO online delivery service to submit it to law reviews and journals. With prior approval, students can use ExpressO to submit an article to up to 100 journals.

Many Suffolk students have won prizes in writing competitions and been published in outside journals and other publications. The lists of published students and writing competition prize winners show these past successes and will surely continue to grow.

The following resources are suggested to help you write your winning article and get it published.

Writing Resources

  • Belcher, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, PN146 .B45 2009 (topics include designing a writing plan, writing your article, and editing)

  • Fajans and Falk, Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition Papers, Law Reserve KF250 .F35 2011 (topics include choosing a topic, the research phase, the writing process and ethical use of materials)

  • Goldstein and Lieberman, The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well, Law Reserve KF250 .G65 2002 (general guide to writing)

  • Hacker and Sommers, A Writer's Reference, Law Reserve PE1408 .H2778 2011 (general resource that covers composition, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more)

  • Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, Law Reserve KF250 .V65 2010 (topics include how to find a topic, tips on researching, editing, and entering writing competitions)

  • Meeker, Stalking the Golden Topic: A Guide to Locating and Selecting Topics for Legal Research Papers, 1996 Utah L. Rev. 917 (available on Lexis, Westlaw, and HeinOnline and in print in the library)

  • Richard Delgado, How to Write a Law Review Article, 20 U.S.F. L. Rev. 445 (1986)

  • iWrite Legal: This free app was created by Professor Vinson and designed to help legal writers improve their writing skills. The app provides writing tips and legal writing checklists to overcome writer's block and to thoroughly revise, edit, and proofread a legal document.

  • Beginning Steps and Productivity Tips

  • Writing Schedules

  • Student Writing Lockdowns. The Lockdown is a time for students to dive into writing projects with concentrated time, effort, and support. Student Writing Lockdowns are generally held at least once each semester; watch for an announcement or check this page to see when the next one will be held. For more information, see Student Writing Lockdowns: Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Examples of Good Student Writing

Publishing Resources

As you're working on an article for a competition or publication, keep in mind that most competitions and journals will check to see that you've properly attributed the sources on which you base your work. See the following sources for tips and advice on how to adhere to the ideals of academic integrity in your writing:

If you would like guidance on writing for publication and prizes, please contact Professor Kathy Vinson.

If you need assistance with legal research, you can also set up an appointment with a legal reference librarian at 617.573.8516 or

If you have questions or comments, please email: Liza Rosenof, Electronic Services & Legal Reference Librarian.