Notre Dame Program on Church, State & Society Writing Competition


The Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School is pleased to announce a writing competition on topics and questions within the Program’s focus. This writing competition requests student-authored scholarly papers and will honor winners with cash awards. The purpose of this writing competition is to encourage scholarship related to the intersection of church, state & society, and in particular how the law structures and governs that intersection.


Topic and Form: Papers should be focused, broadly, on topics related to church, state & society. For guidance on selecting a topic, students may wish to view our Program website and mission statement:

Papers must be between 9,000-13,000 words, including footnotes and/or endnotes. Papers should be double spaced and use Bluebook citation rules.


Eligibility: The competition is open to law students in good standing, enrolled in a traditional law degree (J.D. or LL.B.), a Master’s degree (LL.M.), or a doctoral degree (S.J.D./J.S.D. or Ph.D.) program at an ABA-accredited law school within the United States. The competition is also open to recent graduates not yet practicing law (those completing clerkships or engaged in similar pursuits are eligible). Co-authored papers will not be accepted.


Submissions: Papers must be submitted by February 15th, 2021. Winners will be announced on or before May 7th, 2021. Papers must be e-mailed to the Program Director on Church, State & Society in .pdf form. Each submission must include a cover letter and resume in a separate .pdf document. Papers should not include author names in order to ensure that the Program Director can deliver submissions to judges and have them scored with anonymity. Emailed submissions should be sent with “2020 Writing Competition” in the subject line, and addressed to: Jonathan Hannah, J.D. at


Judges: Papers will be judged by Church, State & Society Director, Richard W. Garnett, other faculty members at Notre Dame Law School, and possibly law & religion scholars from other U.S. law schools.

Prizes: First Place, $4,000 cash award; Second Place, $3,000 cash award; Third Place, $2,000 cash award; Honorable Mention, $1,000 cash award.