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Enter the Section of Family Law Schwab Essay Contest

Enter the Section of Family Law Schwab Essay Contest

With law school enrollment down, and a glut of lawyers in the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for law students and young lawyers to find meaningful employment as a lawyer.  While it may seem like an overwhelming task to network and market yourself, the ABA can help.

Students and young lawyers should consider ABA membership and meeting attendance to be a necessary investment in their legal careers. Not only will they get significant educational opportunities, but they will meet lifelong colleagues and friends. The ABA also provides myriad ways to publicize your name as a competent professional in your field of practice.

One excellent opportunity in the ABA is the Schwab Essay Contest, operated by the ABA Family Law Section each year.

While a law student, I got involved in the ABA Family Law Section in a variety of ways. The first was to take my upper level writing requirement – an article on the conflicts of laws issues inherent in same sex marriage recognition (an issue of more controversy when I was in law school) – and submit it to the section to consider as part of its yearly essay contest.

To my surprise, I was selected as the second place winner, and my essay was published in the ABA’s Family Law Quarterly, a law review journal circulated to all section members, which include many of the top family lawyers in the country.  A law student can rarely get that type of publicity.

After participating in the essay contest, I started attending conferences. While the cost of registration and travel can be expensive for a student, it was the most worthwhile investment I made in my career.  I have met colleagues that have given me opportunities that lawyers my age (and lawyers who are my senior) will never get – being a published author, running my own law firm, teaching at a top tier law school, consulting for the Hague Conference, helping craft ABA policy, participating in drafting uniform laws, and meeting some of my very best friends.

To find out more about the 2016 Schwab Essay Contest, visit

If you win …


  • You’ll receive $1,500 (1st place); $750 (2nd place); or $350 (3rd place)
  • Your work could be published in the American Bar Association Section of Family Law’s scholarly journal, Family Law Quarterly and/or the Section’s website.
  • Your dean will be notified of your achievement.
  • You’ll receive a certificate of recognition, and a one-year complimentary membership to the ABA Section of Family Law. You’ll also be invited to attend the annual awards luncheon at our Annual Meeting in the summer.

Essays must be postmarked by April 29, 2016.