Law School Writing Competition
Taxpayers Against Fraud is sponsoring a national writing competition that will recognize a law review article written in support of whistleblower laws and programs that expose fraud on the government and the financial markets. These include the federal and state False Claims Acts, and the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission whistleblower programs. The author of the winning article will receive a $5,000 cash award.
Competition Rules & Guidelines
One of TAF’s program goals is to increase awareness about and expertise in whistleblower statutes and programs among the nation’s attorneys and law students. TAF’s goal is to assist members of the bar by generating information, analysis and advocacy materials that will add to the compendium of information accessible to qui tam practitioners and students. The competition is intended to encourage law students to consider this topic for their law review submission and to recognize an article that demonstrates an understanding of and support for federal and state programs that fight fraud and protect the people who report it.
Congress has allocated trillions of dollars for COVID-19 relief and billions more are being spent on coronavirus-related healthcare. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for fraud. Whistleblowers are among the most effective tools America has to ensure that taxpayer funds are not lost to fraudulent business practices. TAF wants to call attention to statutes and programs that discourage fraudulent business practices and sanction the people and corporations that engage in them. It is also dedicated to supporting citizens who come forward to report fraud and often suffer personal and financial hardship as a result.
Eligibility | You may submit an article for consideration if:
- You currently attend or have attended a US law school accredited by the American Bar Association and have had an article accepted by or published in its law review or journal while enrolled.
- For the 2022 competition, the article submitted to TAF must have appeared in a law journal or review during the 18-month period January 2021 through June 2022. If the law journal or review has not yet been published, you must certify that your submission has been accepted for publication in a law review or journal dated during that period.
- TAF wants to encourage the submission of articles that address topics in both federal and state False Claims Acts as well as the administrative programs that support whistleblowers and sanction fraudulent claims in government programs. Topics that fall within these parameters are eligible.
- To be considered for the 2022 award, articles must be emailed to TAF Director of Legal Education Jackie DeMar at [email protected] by midnight on Friday, July 15, 2022. Your email submission must also include, as a separate attachment, the official Competition Submission form, available at the top of this page. Submissions must be in JPEG or PDF format. While the Submission Forms will include identifying information, the articles themselves should not contain any identifying information about the author or law school associated with the submission.
How the Winning Article Will be Selected:
Eligible submissions will be read and assessed by a committee of attorneys with significant experience in qui tam litigation, government programs that identify and sanction fraudulent business practices and/or protect whistleblowers and/or academics with an interest in False Claims litigation. The names of members of the selection committee will not be made publicly available until after the award is announced. Articles will be reviewed anonymously. Selection committee members will not know the name of the author, the name of the law school he/she attends, or the name of the law journal or review in which the article appears until after the selection has been made.
Assessments of academic excellence and legal acuity are, by their nature, subjective. Committee members will assess submissions with an eye to (a) demonstrated understanding of the False Claims Act(s) and the administrative programs that protect and support whistleblowers, (b) case law that supports or undermines these programs or statutes, (c) federal and state legislative initiatives that address citizens’ ability to report fraud in government programs and (d) protections that have been or could be extended to protect whistleblowers. Submissions that exhibit innovative approaches to identifying fraud in government programs and that encourage cooperation between qui tam attorneys and federal and state officials charged with preventing and prosecuting government fraud are strongly encouraged. Committee members will weigh these factors and the overall academic quality of submissions to arrive at their decision. It is possible that the committee may not identify a submission that meets its standards for academic excellence and topical relevance. In this instance, it may decide not to make an award. The committee’s decisions about whether to make an award and to whom the award is made are final.
The author of the article selected will receive a cash award in the amount of $5,000. The winner of the award will be announced at TAF’s annual conference, held in October 2022. The winner will be invited to make a presentation, based on his/her article, at this conference. The winning article will also be posted on TAF’s website and it, or portions of it, may be used to support TAF’s educational initiatives.
Questions and requests for clarification should be directed to TAFEF Director of Legal Education Jackie DeMar at [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I submitted an article to my law review on one of the topics included in this competition. It was accepted for publication while I was a student, but appeared after I graduated. Can I still submit it for consideration?
A: YES. The article you submit for consideration in this competition must have been accepted for publication or actually appeared in the law review while you were enrolled in law school. If it appeared after you graduated, it is still eligible for consideration.
Q: There is more than one author on an article we would like to submit for consideration. Is this permissible?
A: YES, but every author must complete the competition application and certifications. Submissions by only one of the listed authors will not be considered. The cash award will be divided equally among all listed authors.
Q: My law review publishes articles of interest from people who are not students. Are these articles eligible for consideration?
A: NO. The article submitted for consideration must have been written by a student enrolled in law school at the time the article appeared or was accepted for publication.
Q: I did not write an article addressing one of the topics covered by the competition, but I did write a case note. Can I submit a case note for consideration?
A: YES. Case notes spotlight important developments in the law. We encourage students to dissect emerging relevant legal issues through case notes.
Q: My law school publishes a law review and I wrote a relevant article that was accepted for publication. However, my law school is not ABA-accredited. Can I submit the article for consideration?
A: NO. This competition is open only to students enrolled in ABA-accredited law schools.
Q: Are there parameters involving length, format or citation for the articles submitted?
A: NO. If your article adheres to the standards established for publication by an ABA-accredited law school’s law review or journal, it is eligible for consideration.
Q: My article does not directly address one of the statutes or programs listed in the competition’s announcement. However, it does address issues involving the rights of whistleblowers, the protections afforded to them and the importance of programs or initiatives that prevent fraud against the government. Can I submit this article for consideration?
A: YES. One of the purposes of this competition is to develop a platform for the legal community to consider ways it can further anti-fraud and whistleblower protection initiatives and programs. Articles that suggest new ways to do that will be considered.