Rule of Law Writing Competition 2019-09-16T13:45:17-07:00

Rule of Law Writing Competition 

Historically, the Beverly Hills Bar Association and Bar Foundation and have been closely tied to Rule of Law issues. The Beverly Hills Bar Foundation’s Tenth Annual Rule of Law Competition will culminate at the Bar’s 65th Annual Supreme Court Luncheon on June 4, 2019 with the awarding of a $2,500 prize to the winning law student, plus honorable mention prizes.

This competition encourages law students to integrate Rule of Law concepts into their writings. Papers may be on any topic either directly discussing an aspect of the Rule of Law, demonstrating how the Rule of Law affected the topic, defining the Rule of Law, criticizing the Rule of Law, or demonstrating the economic social or political effects of the Rule of Law.

As Justice Anthony Kennedy said about The Rule of Law: “I want lawyers to be once again advocates for the Rule of Law. And this involves a reassessment by lawyers of very fundamental principles of democracy and of our culture and of our history, and freedom. So, I think of this in part as a way to re energize the Bar so that the Bar can reaffirm and rededicate itself to these first principles…”

Your participation in this competition is an important step in that direction. For more information contact Kenneth

Rule of Law Competition Timeline

September, 2018:   Formation Meeting/ Committee Forms
October 1, 2018:     Entries Open
April 1, 2019:     Entries Close Judging of Entries Begin
May 1, 2019:   Winners Announced Invitations to Supreme Court Luncheon Sent
June 4, 2019: 65th Annual Supreme Court Luncheon Rule of Law Awards Presented

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10th Annual Rule of Law Writing Competition Winners (2019)

Grand Prize – Cameron Sheldon , UC Irvine School of Law 2019 – Using 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2) to Challenge Dragnet ImmigrationEnforcement at State Courthouses

Honorable Mention – Elica Zadeh, Pepperdine University School of Law, 2020 – A Beautiful Fork in the Familiar Road: Restorative Justice as Diverting the Path of Schools to Prisons | A fresh perspective of mass incarceration and the short-comings of the criminal justice system, zeroing in on the cause of the problem, rather than the symptoms. 

Honorable Mention – Danielle Kassatly, UC Davis School of Law – The Rule of Law in the Patentability of Technology:  How the Checks and Balances of the Courts in a Software Patent Suit Pathway Promote a Fair Judicial System

9th Annual Rule of Law Writing Competition Winners (2018)

Grand Prize 

Sandra Farzam, University of Southern California Gould School of Law 2018 
Judicial Nonintervention as a Form of Religious Exemption?

Honorable Mention 

Brittany Litzinger, University of Southern California Gould School of Law 2019 
Technology and the Rule of Law: How Technological Advances Will Affect the Rule of Law in Developed Countries  

7th Annual Rule of Law Writing Competition Winners (2016)

Grand Prize
Laura Alexander, UCLA School of Law
The Rule Of Law And The Media

Honorable Mention 
Jena MacCabe, Loyola Law School
Can You Hear Me Now: Court Interpreters for California Civil Cases

Honorable Mention 
Ricardo Lopez University Of California, Irvine Law School
Terminally Ill Minors and the Right to Refuse Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment: How Specialized Health Care Courts Restore the Rule of Law

The Rule of Law Writing Competition Donor is Goodson Wachtel and Petrulis APC


The Beverly Hills Bar Foundation announces the Tenth Annual Rule of Law Competition to promote appreciation and understanding of the rule of law. Entries are due no later than April 1, 2019. Prizes will be awarded at the 65th Annual Beverly Hills Bar Association Supreme Court Luncheon in June 4, 2019. Grand Prize is $2,500.00 with two Honorable Award prizes of $500.00 each.

Rules, topics and materials are available at

  1. Eligibility: This competition is open to juris doctorate and LLM candidates currently enrolled at an ABA or California State accredited law school as of January 1, 2018.
  1. Limit on Entries: Each author may submit one entry.
  1. Topic: Entries should relate to the Rule of Law and may address any or all of the following:
  1. Define the Rule of Law or comment upon the attached definition; or
    b. Comment on the importance or the effects of the Rule of Law, any of its elements, or the lack of a Rule of Law on society.
  1. Criteria: Eligible entries shall meet standards of academic worthiness determined by the Selection Committee and be judged on an overall merit basis.
  1. Due Date: Entries for the awards are due April 1, 2019 and shall be submitted electronically in Word or Word converted to searchable pdf form to Late submissions and hard copies will not be considered.
  1. Format: Title Page: Entrant”s names shall not appear on the manuscript, but shall appear on a separate title page to be removed when a number is assigned to the entry. The title page shall also contain the entrant”s address, telephone number and email address as well as a a one or two line synopsis of the entry. Each entry shall include a two page executive summary. Entries should be 4,000-5,000 words in length, not including footnotes/endnotes. Entries must use the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, for citation style.
  1. Certification: Each entry shall be accompanied by a letter from the author in which the author certifies the work submitted has not had prior publication, or if published previously, a letter from the previous publisher giving the author permission to submit the work to this competition and to provide a non-exclusive unrestricted license to republish and or provide other such licenses for the work.
  1. Selection Committee: Shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members chosen by the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation Board of Governors representing the community at large, the academic community and practicing attorneys, who have a demonstrated interest or expertise in the Rule of Law.
  1. Submitted Materials: Submitted materials become the property of the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation. The BHBF/BHBA , their successors and or designees, shall have the non-exclusive right to publish any submission in any form, electronic or otherwise.
  1. Announcement of Recipient: The award recipients will be announced on May 1st each year to be presented at the Supreme Court Luncheon of the BHBF/BHBA held in June of each year.
  1. Rule of Law Awards: Awards shall include a $2,500 prize for the winner and two $500 honorable mention awards to be chosen from eligible entries. Each award recipient will receive a ticket to the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation’s Annual Supreme Court luncheon where the awards will be presented. Winning and honorable mention entries shall be published by the BHBF and Beverly Hills Bar Association on their website or other forums to be selected by the BHBF/BHBA, its successors and or designees.
  1. Submission Checklist: Completed Manuscript Separate Title page with contact information Transfer of Ownership Letter Submit to on or before April 1, 2019.

Additional Information or Questions: Contact Kenneth G. Petrulis at


The Rule of Law is not well defined. It needs to be. The lack of a definition lends to its use as an epithet for whatever the speaker wants it to mean. It also inhibits the study of the rule of Law, its aspects and its effects. Study will test and refine the rule. Study will allow predictions of its effects to be tested. Assuming its benefits can be predicted and verified the Rule of Law will be validated as the fundamental value which sets one nation above another in its recognition of both human rights and economic success.

A fair justice system founded in tolerance and integrity guarantees the rights of individuals against the government, the powerful, and the many. The Rule of Law provides that tolerance and integrity. It gives respect to both personal rights and property rights. Because these rights are the primary incentive for achievement, they bring to the nations that follow the Rule of Law economic and political success as well.

Essential Elements of the Rule of Law Process The Rule of Law is a process consisting of five essential elements:

1) Fair Access. The justice system is reasonably open and available to all, and does not impose oppressive burdens on the participants;

2) Fair courts. The courts exhibit tolerance and integrity. They are competent, and efficient. Judges are impartial and independent, randomly assigned, and not subject to political influence or manipulation

3) Fair Laws. The laws are public, clear and reasonable when applied to human experience;

4) Fair Administration. The administrative branch, prosecutors, and police, are reasonably fair, competent, and efficient; and

5) All are subject to the law. Government officials including the President, Supreme Court and the Congress, consent to being subject to the law. The Rule of Law process depends on the constant application of tolerance and integrity through a political system founded on these five necessary elements. Each country implementing the Rule of Law will produce its own legislation, administrative methods and judicial decisions. Each system while based upon the same five elements will be formed to the particular time, culture and circumstance where it is implemented. By fostering and promoting the process which is the Rule of Law, no matter what the place or time, all societies can benefit from its implementation.

Some challenge the Rule of Law as peculiar to the Western world or not suitable to all cultures. Some see the current success of the nations which follow the Rule of Law as chance, good fortune or a mere shifting in the vagaries of history. If the process (the Rule of Law) has inherent value, it should be possible to show a direct relationship between the integrity with which a nation enforces the Rule of Law and the success, economic and otherwise, of that nation. For example, one might predict a correlation between the number of attorneys in a country and that country”s economic standing. The extent of the independence of the judiciary or of individual rights could also be tested to see whether they correlate to economic success.

© Kenneth G. Petrulis

Rule of Law Competition Resource Materials are available  here.

Rule of Law Competition Submission Forms:

Certification and Transfer of Rights

Title Page and Contact Information

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