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2020 MWL Equal Justice Award

All Minnesota law students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice.  The writer(s) of the selected article or essay will be awarded a cash prize of $1,000.00 (total) at MWL’s 48th Annual Meeting luncheon (April 24th, 2020).

All topics related broadly to law, liberty, justice, and equality are eligible, whether or not related to women's rights or feminist theory. 



A paper is eligible for the 2020 MWL Equal Justice Award if it was completed by the student while attending law school.  Papers written by individuals or with student co-authors are accepted.  Papers completed by members of the class of 2019 while attending law school are also eligible if they  were completed after the deadline for submitting for the 2019 Equal Justice Award (February 28, 2019). A paper may only be considered once for the Equal Justice Award. 


Submissions will be accepted at any time but must be made by February 28, 2020 at 4:30 p.m..  


Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

1. Significance: Does the work address an important legal and social issue of justice and equality?

2. Originality: Does the work make an original contribution to the topic? For example, does it reinterpret an issue, offer new solutions to a problem, or suggest new connections between areas of analysis? Does it draw on materials that shed new light on a topic? Does it offer a new perspective, solution, or approach to an issue?

3. Presentation: Is the scholarship factually accurate? Is the paper well written? Does the author address the issue using appropriate methodology, well designed to serve the author’s purpose? Does the paper display appropriate depth of research? Does the paper place its analysis appropriately in the scholarly field?

4. Persuasiveness: Does the paper present a cogent defense of the position taken? Does it give appropriate attention to competing views? Does the author’s argument persuade the reader?

5. Impact: Does the work present ideas that are applicable in practical contexts? Are the ideas useful to the educated reader?


Submissions should include:

1. A cover letter—separate from the paper or article being submitted—with the writer’s name, address, phone number, school of attendance, month and year of law school graduation (actual or anticipated) and date (month and year) when paper was completed. 

2. In an accompanying, separate document, the paper or article submitted for the competition. This document must NOT include the student’s name, school, or other identifying information. Any identifying information MUST be deleted from the article’s title, cover page, header, footers, and footnotes before submitting the paper or article.

3. If the essay or article as submitted has been edited by or with the assistance of a third party, provide a detailed description of the editing process (for example, who provided the editing assistance, what changes were made as the result of the third party editing, how many drafts went through the editing process, etc.).


Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Submissions should be sent by February 28, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. via e-mail to

Failure to comply with the instructions for submission detailed above may result in disqualification of the paper from the competition.  Please contact MWL (; 612/338-3205) with any questions.


To be considered for the 2020 MWL Equal Justice Award, complete submissions must be received at MWL by Friday, February 28th, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.






2019 Alicia Granse (University of Minnesota Law School) “Gun Control and the Color of the Law.” 

2018  Rebecca Rosefelt (University of Minnesota Law School) "Empowerment to Breastfeed as a Right: Making Minneapolis a Global Leader in Women's Rights". Honorable mention: Trevor Matthews (University of Minnesota Law School) "Most Integrated Setting: Omstead, Fry and Segregated Public Schools for Students with Disabilities"

Jon Hoffman and Kathleen Sprague (University of Minnesota Law School) “Contemporary Notions of Human Rights in South Korea."


Honorable Mention: Emily Flesch (Mitchell Hamline School of Law) "Elder Law & Feminism:  Moving Toward Equity in Aging."


 2016  Amanda Mangan (Mitchell Hamline School of Law) “A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out: An Approach for Minnesota to Enact a Homeless Bill of Rights."

2015 Andrea Miller (University of Minnesota Law School) "The Use (And Misuse) of the Same-Actor Inference in Family Responsibilities Discrimination Litigation: Lessons from Social Psychology on Flexibility Stigma."

2014 Brittany Mitchell (University of Minnesota Law School) "Expanding the Integration Mandate to Employment: The Push to Apply the Principles of the ADA and Olmstead Decision to Disability Employment Services."


Honorable Mention" Nic Puechner (William Mitchell College of Law) " No Clean Slates: Unpacking teh Complications of Juvenile Expungements in teh Wake of J.J.P.—In Re Welfare of J.J.P."

2013  Jessica Alm  (Hamline University School of Law) "The Privacies of Life: Automatic License Plate Recognition is Unconstitutional Under the Mosaic Theory of Fourth Amendment Privacy Law."

2012 Missy Golke (Hamline University School of Law) "The Age of Consent: How Minnesota’s Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act of 2011 Falls Short of Fully Addressing Domestic Child Sex Trafficking."

2011 Award Not Presented

2010 Rebecca Fritz (University of St. Thomas School of Law) "The Goals and Current Application of the Minnesota Task Force’s Recommendations for the Juvenile Justice System." AND Ron Walter (University of St. Thomas School of Law) "Why Not the Establishment Clause?"   

2009 KrisAnn Norby-Jahner (Hamline University School of Law) "’Minor’ Online Sexual Harassment and the CDA section 230 Defense:  New Directions for Internet Service Provider Liability."

2008 Bryan Seiler (University of Minnesota Law School) "Moving from “Broken Windows” to Healthy Neighborhood Policy: Reforming Urban Nuisance Law in the Public and Private Sectors."

2007 Shawn D. Stuckey (University of St. Thomas School of Law) "Decreasing The Accessibility To Criminal History Records To Diminish The Devastating Impacts Of Collateral Effects On African Americans in Minnesota."

2006 Jennifer C. Johnson (University of Minnesota Law School) "Race-Based Housing Importunities: The Disparate Impact of Realistic Group Conflict."

2005 Amy Draeger (Hamline University School of Law) "The Asylum Narrative: Retelling Torture in America."

2004 Jennifer Fischer (University of Minnesota Law School)" The Americans with Disabilities Act: Correcting Discrimination of Persons with Mental Disabilities in the Pre-Trial Process."

2003 Award Not Presented

2002 Maura Shuttleworth (University of Minnesota Law School) "No Remedy:  The Underrepresentation of Women in Political Office and the Absence of a Voting Rights Act for Women."

2001 Nicole Saharsky (University of Minnesota Law School) "Consistency as a Constitutional Value: A Comparative Look at Age in Abortion and Death Penalty Jurisprudence."


2000 Heidi Johnson (University of Minnesota Law School) "Against Their Will:  The Trafficking of Women for Prostitution in Southern Asia."

1999 Jill C. Robertson (University of Minnesota Law School) "Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace: An Employer’s Responsibility."

1998 Cynthia Frost (University of Minnesota Law School) "Shahar v. Bowers: that girl just didn’t have good sense!"


1997 Sandra R. Levitsky  (University of Minnesota Law School) "Footnote 55: Closing the 'Bisexual Defense' Loophole in Title VII Sexual Harassment Cases."

1996 Nancy Brasel  (University of Minnesota Law School) "Taking Back Equal Protection:  Virginia Military Institute, Real Women, and Real Choices."

1995 Robin Preble (University of Minnesota Law School) "Famliy Violence and Family Property: A proposal for Reform" AND  Johanna Bond  (University of Minnesota Law School) "Postmodern Insight into the Rigidity of Gender Categories: The Case for Prohibiting the Sexual Harassment of Gay Men and Lesbian Women."

1994 Margaret Hobday  (University of Minnesota Law School) "A Constitutional Response to the Realities of intimate Violence: Minnesota's Domestic Homicide Statute."


1993 Karen A. Brooks (Hamline University School of Law) "The New Stalking Laws: Are They Adequate to End Violence?"


1992 Award Not Presented

1991 Kent Williams  (University of Minnesota Law School) "Property Rights Protection Under Article I, Section 10 of the Minnesota Constitution:  A Rationale for Providing Possessory Crimes Defendants with Automatic Standing to Challenge Unreasonable Searches and Seizures."


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