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Aba Levit Essay

Contest Overview

Sponsored by: ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability and Long & Levit, LLP

Deadline for Submission

ONLINE entries MUST be submitted by 11:59 PM CST on March 9, 2018.

MAILED entries MUST be postmarked by March 9, 2018.

Contest Mission

The contest encourages original and innovative research and writing in the area of legal malpractice law, professional liability insurance and loss prevention.


* Cash award of $5,000.

* All-expense-paid trip to the Spring 2018 National Legal Malpractice Conference in Washington, DC.


The Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest is conducted by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability and the San Francisco law firm of Long & Levit LLP.

The 2018 contest is administered and judged by a subcommittee designated by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability.

The Assignment

The 2018 Contest Essay Hypothetical involves the ethical concerns arising under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct where a law firm seeks to affiliate itself with litigation funding companies, including undertaking representation of one such company and, in turn, recommending its services to the firm's clients.

Contest Rules

Essay Requirements

Entries should be written as scholarly essays. All entries must be prepared for this contest and not previously published. Each entrant is required to assign to the ABA all rights, title and interest in the essay submitted. It is the policy of the ABA, however, to release all assigned rights in all but the winning essay.

Essays should not exceed 3,000 words, including quoted matter and citations. Footnotes are not permitted and citations should be incorporated into the main text.

Entrants may seek general feedback on their draft essays from professors, colleagues, and the like. An essay submitted to the competition, however, must be entirely the entrant's own work product and may not be written or edited by any other person.

The essay should be typewritten, double-spaced on 8 1/2" x 11" pages. The number of words on each page should be entered on the bottom right hand corner of each copy. The total number of words should be entered on the last page. In computing the number of words, all articles and prepositions should be counted. Count numbers and abbreviations as words. For example F.2d = 1 word; 746 F.2d 619 = 3 words.

Complete and sign one of the paper entry forms (PDF or Word) or you can use the Online Contest Entry & Agreement Form, providing your full name, address and telephone number as indicated.


For identification, an entry number will be assigned on receipt of the entry, and the entrant will be advised of the number. One cover sheet showing the name, address and telephone number of the entrant, together with the entrant's title for the entry, should be submitted with the essay. No identification other than the title should appear on the essays themselves. The cover sheet will be removed before the essay is read by the judges to assure objectivity in the judging process.


The contest is open to Young Lawyers Division or Law Student Division members of the ABA, in good standing as of March 9, 2018 according to the membership records of the Association. Excluded from the competition are previous winners; current ABA officers and members of the Board of Governors; employees of the ABA or its sections, divisions and committees; and officers and employees of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Endowment. Only one essay may be submitted by each entrant, and no co-authored essays will be accepted.


Essays will be judged by a subcommittee designated by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability and the San Francisco law firm of Long & Levit LLP, whose decision will be final and whose names cannot be divulged. The ABA and the judges reserve the right to award no prize.

National Legal Malpractice Conference

The winner of the contest will receive round-trip coach airfare to the American Bar Association 2018 Spring National Legal Malpractice Conference in Washington DC,  lodging for up to two nights during the conference, and will be a guest at conference meals and events.

Additional Information

For further information, contact Marcia Yarbrough at or (312) 988-5763.

How to Submit Entries

Electronic Submissions

If you would like to submit your entry electronically, you will need to fill out and submit the Contest Entry & Agreement Form (Online) with your essay attached. Your essay should not exceed 2.5 MB and should be in one of the following formats: MS Word,  PDF, TXT, RTF, or HTML. Your entry must be submitted by 11:59 pm Central time on March 9, 2018.

Paper Submissions

If you would prefer to submit your entry by mail, you will need to download, print, and fill out one of our paper Contest Entry & Agreement Form (PDF or Word). The completed form and two copies of your essay should be mailed first-class, without folding, on or before March 9, 2018. U.S. Postal Service postmark will determine mailing date. The materials may also be sent via an express delivery service and shipped on or before March 9, 2018.

Entries should be mailed to:

American Bar Association
LPL Mendrzycki Essay Contest
ATTN: Marcia Yarbrough
FL 17
321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654

For Innovative Research and Writing on Lawyers' Professional Liability

2017 Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest Winner
Leslie Minora
of Philadelphia, PA

Read the 2017 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2017 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2016 Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest Winner
Nora Wong
of New York, NY

Read the 2016 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2016 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2015 Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest Winner
Rikkilee Moser
of DeKalb, IL

Read the 2015 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2015 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2014 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Caroline Leonard
of Brighton, MA

Read the 2014 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2014 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2013 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Michael Stramiello
of Tuscaloosa, AL

Read the 2013 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2013 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2012 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Aileen M. McGill
of New York, NY

Read the 2012 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2012 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2011 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Alexandra Lee Newman
of Chicago, Illinois

Read the 2011 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2011 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2010 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Michael Goodwin
of St. Anthony, Minnesota

Read the 2010 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2010 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2009 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Alanna O’Rourke
of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan

Read the 2009 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2009 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2008 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Shira Forman
of New York, New York

Read the 2008 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2008 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2007 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Andrew King
of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Read the 2007 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2007 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)

2006 Levit Essay Contest Winner
Cassandra Burke Robertson
of Austin, Texas

Read the 2006 Winning Entry (PDF)
Read the 2006 Contest Hypothetical (PDF)