2022 Essay Contest Rules

The Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association
Short Essay Contest
Official Rules

2022 Essay Topic
The 2022 Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is now open for entries. This year’s essay topic is: “Please identify a civil rights leader, past or present, who is connected to Maryland, and discuss their impact on society and how they have inspired you.”

Who May Enter
The contest is open to high school students enrolled in public, private, parochial and charter schools and homeschooled students of equivalent grade status (grades 9-12) in Maryland.

Essay Length and Format

Essays must be a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 750 words, not including title and contact information. While not required, proper use of endnote citations and bibliographies is encouraged. If used, endnote citations and bibliographies will not included in the word count or considered in judging. Essays must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document or PDF file.

The following formatting guidelines are required:

  • Use 12 pt. Cambria or Times New Roman font, double-spaced text, with one-inch margins
  • DO NOT include a title page, page headers, or footers
  • Include your name, address, telephone number, high school, and grade on the first page only
  • Include page numbers on each page
  • If used, place all intext, numbered citations at the end of your essay as endnotes, followed by a bibliography
  • Name your file as follows: Firstname Lastname.ext (example: John Smith.doc; John Smith.pdf)

Entry Submission and Deadline
Essays must be submitted online at [email protected]. Entries will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 15, 2022. Late submissions will not be considered. Winners will be notified no later than April 30, 2022.


A judging committee comprised of federal judges and FBA board members will decide on the top three essays submitted. Each student is limited to one (1) essay submission.

Essays will be evaluated based on the following criterion: originality (30%); language arts skills (30%); faithfulness to the theme (30%); and clarity (10%).

The first-place winner will have their essay published on the FBA MD website and in the FBA MD newsletter. Cash prizes will also be awarded as follows:

First place: $1,000; Second place: $500; Third place: $250

Publication Release
As a condition of entry acceptance, all publishing rights are retained by the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the association reserves the right to copyright material in its name and to reprint it in any publication or media as it sees fit.

Adherence to all U.S. copyright laws and fair use practices is required.

Reasons for disqualification include: incomplete or improperly formatted entries, offtopic essays, providing false information, committing plagiarism, not meeting the submission deadline, and not providing a release form if requested. Evaluators must recuse themselves from any entry that would present a potential conflict of interest (i.e., submissions from a friend or family member).