The Duke Law Journal (DLJ) is excited to announce its first-ever online essay competition! The competition is open to all current Duke Law students (including LLMs) and recent graduates (Classes of 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021). Up to two winning submissions will be selected for publication in the Duke Law Journal Online in Spring 2022. Authors of the winning submissions will be awarded a $500 cash prize,* funded by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and eligible** winners will also be awarded DLJ membership.

Essay Topic:

Over the past few years, the United States has confronted a new chapter in an ongoing racial reckoning. For example, the public conversation around race has shifted with an increased awareness of police brutality against Black Americans and an onslaught of COVID-related hate crimes against Asian Americans. Please write an essay about the role the law plays in this conversation. This topic is intentionally broad, but submissions should focus on the intersection between race and the U.S. legal system. For instance, essays may comment on a specific case or law, consider presidential administration priorities, posit potential law reforms, or share personal anecdotes relating to law. By no means are essays limited to this illustrative list.


  1. The essay should be no longer than 5,000 words (including footnotes). Please note, this is an essay, not a student note.
  2. Essays must be emailed to in both PDF and Word formats.
    a. The subject of the email must start with “2022 Essay Competition Submission.”
    b. The body of the email must include a word count (both with and without footnotes) and the title of the essay.
  3. The author’s name should not be included in the document.
  4. Each individual may submit no more than one piece, and submissions must be previously unpublished. Jointly written pieces will be accepted.

Any submissions that fail to follow the above instructions will be automatically disqualified.

Deadline: All pieces must be submitted by Friday, January 21, 2022, at 11:59 pm EST.

For any questions regarding the competition, please email Senior Online Editor, Chorong Song (

*The $500 cash prize, provided by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, will be administered through the law school and is subject to tax. If a prize is awarded to a jointly authored submission, the amount will be divided among the credited authors.

**DLJ membership offers are limited to second-year students who do not already hold membership in an exclusive-membership journal (Alaska Law Review, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Law and Contemporary Problems).