Writing Competitions

Since 2005, the College has sponsored a writing competition for law students, to encourage them to learn about employee benefits. Papers may be on any legal topic in the employee benefits field and may be up to 40 pages (including footnotes). Up to two monetary prizes are offered, one funded by Susan Serota, in honor of her father, Sidney M. Perlstadt, an Emeritus Fellow, and the other funded by the College since 2016 by Dianne Bennett and other Fellows, in honor of Alvin D. (Al) Lurie, an Emeritus Fellow. If deemed suitable by the editors, one or more of the winning papers may be published by the Bloomberg Law, Benefits & Executive Compensation News or in the Bloomberg Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal.

The College's writing contest award winners are selected each year by the ACEBC™ Writing Competition Committee from among eligible submissions. Submissions have been received from a wide variety of law schools from across the nation.

Each year the eligible submissions are circulated among a group of initial reviewers consisting of ACEBC Writing Committee members and other ACEBC Fellows who volunteer to perform that task. Each initial reviewer provides his or her evaluation on the papers based upon the factors identified in the contest rules. Those factors are as follows: (i) Analysis (i.e., depth and creativity of legal analysis); (ii) Research (i.e., thoroughness of legal research); (iii) Writing (i.e., organization/writing style); (iv) Difficulty (i.e., difficulty of subject matter); (v) Policy (i.e., consideration of policy implications); and (vi) Overall impression.

Before we notify the winners, a committee member is selected to perform a rigorous check of the citations contained in the winning papers. Once the papers clear this cite check, the committee reports its recommendations to the Board of Governors for final approval of the awards. No one involved in the process other than the committee's chair is informed of the identity of the student author of any paper or of the author's law school until the committee completes its deliberations.

The writing competition has been successful in many ways, but one measure is that several of the competitors have gone on to practice employee benefit law after their graduation from law school.