WACO, Texas -
Baylor Law is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 The Paper Chase Legal Writing Competition, the most competitive legal writing contest in Texas, with $7,000 in cash prizes. The Paper Chase is hosted by Baylor Law and entrants are judged by members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA). The 2021 winner is Avery Rios of Texas Tech University School of Law. Second place was awarded to Daniel Ludmir of the University of Texas School of Law, and Spencer Lockwood of Texas A&M University School of Law took third place. The winners were selected from 35 qualifying entries from seven of the law schools in Texas. Entries were received from St. Mary's University School of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, University of Houston Law Center, University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law, and University of Texas School of Law. Baylor Law students are ineligible to participate.
The Paper Chase Legal Writing Competition is the third competition in Baylor Law’s ‘Triple Crown’ of intense intramural legal competitions, alongside Top Gun, the nation’s most challenging mock trial competition and The Closer, Baylor Law’s demanding, invitation-only transactional law competition.
The 2021 Paper Chase Competition focused on a complex scenario ripped from current legal headlines designed to test contestants’ abilities to review a packet of materials and draft a real-world document. This year, competitors were challenged to prepare a legal memorandum discussing whether “admissions by silence” while in custody, are admissible in federal court. Do persons under arrest implicitly admit their guilt by remaining silent after being confronted with incriminating statements? Current legal opinions are widely contradictory regarding the admissibility of “admissions by silence,” but competitors in The Paper Chase are prohibited from using third-party research and must draft the memorandum on their own.
"When developing legal writing competitions, it can be difficult to find issues for students to write about that are challenging, timely, and, for lack of a better term, ‘interesting,’" stated Director of Baylor Law’s Legal Writing Program and Professor of Law Matt Cordon. "We hit on a fantastic topic this year and we received more entrants to this year’s competition than any prior years. The caliber of submissions was excellent, and the volunteers from the Texas Young Lawyers Association faced their own challenges in choosing this year’s winners"
FVF Law generously sponsors the competition’s prizes. “FVF Law is proud to sponsor the Paper Chase legal writing competition in partnership with Baylor Law and the Texas Young Lawyers Association,” said FVF Founder Aaron von Flatern. “Legal writing is a critical but difficult skill that every practicing lawyer should work to master. Learning to simplify complex concepts is a cornerstone of exceptional lawyering, and The Paper Chase Competition is a wonderful platform where Texas law students can demonstrate and apply those skills,” added Josh Fogelman, FVF Law Founder.
The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) and Baylor Law sponsor the competition. Baylor Law hosts and administers the competition while select TYLA members (who are practicing lawyers) are the sole judges of all entries. For the 2021 competition, TYLA had five panels of two judges (10 judges total) review seven anonymized papers each, during the first round, and then selected the top seven papers that were reviewed each by a final panel of four judges. Students at all Texas law schools (except Baylor) are eligible to participate. Plans are underway to host a reception for the winners at Texas Tech University School of Law once COVID-19 precautions allow.
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ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,600 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as number two in the magazine’s 2021 edition of "America’s Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and one of the 'Best Law School Facilities' in the country. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu