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Martin/Carnes Competition for Excellence in Writing: 2016 Competition

Winners Announced - October 12, 2016

Congratulations to Martin award recipient, Destiny Crimes and to Carnes award recipient, Shannon Wormald.  Congratulations as well to Professor Weeks and Professor Miller who advised these two students.

Thank you to all the students who participated in the Martin/Carnes Competition for Excellence in Writing and also to the faculty who invested their time in advising the participating students.

The Martin/Carnes Competition for Excellence in Writing, named after law school alumnae and U.S. Court of Appeals Judges Beverly B. Martin (J.D.’81) and Julie E. Carnes (J.D.’75), gives each student the opportunity to analyze a legal problem and work with a faculty adviser, who assist in editing, refining and strengthening the competitor’s writing skills and legal arguments.

Awards are given to the person whose submission reflects the greatest improvement over the course of the competition as well as for the best overall submission as judged by a panel of experienced lawyers and judges.

Thank you again to all who participated in this competition.

Hon. Beverly B. Martin

Announcement from Dean Rutledge - May 2016

Dear Students,

Congratulations on completing your classes!

I am writing to let you know about an exciting opportunity for this summer that will occur after the journal write-on process concludes.  This summer, the Law School will conduct the second annual Martin/Carnes Competition for Excellence in Writing (named after Judges Beverly Martin and Julie Carnes, two distinguished Law School alumnae who now serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit).  This writing competition is open to any interested rising 2L (that means you!) and will result in the award of two $500 cash prizes, the Martin/Carnes Prizes for Excellence in Writing. 

Here are the basics of the competition and the reasons you should do it.

Any interested rising 2L is eligible.  During June and July, participants in this competition will analyze and write about a legal problem.  The problem will be distributed on June 6 and will be due on July 18.  You will be given all of the background legal material needed to complete your submission, so you will not need to do any independent research.  The work product you generate will not involve academic writing (such as a law journal note).  Instead, it will require you to engage in the kind of writing that you will do as lawyers working in law practice. 

Once you sign up, you will be matched with a faculty advisor who has committed to working closely with you to help you edit, refine, and strengthen your writing and your legal arguments.  Over the course of the competition, you will keep revising and editing until you have a writing product in which you feel confident. 

At the end of the competition, two $500 cash prizes will be awarded.  The first will be awarded to the person whose written submission reflects the greatest improvement when compared to the final brief for Legal Research and Writing.  The second will be awarded to the best overall submission.

Here are some reasons you should participate.  One reason is that we believe participating may help you become employed!  Here is how. First, at the end of this competition, you will have another writing sample that you can use as you enter the critically important market for a post-2L summer job.  We have heard many times from all kinds of employers that they care deeply about writing ability.  For this reason, it is important that you have a strong writing sample.  Second, and of equal importance, having a faculty member who is very familiar with your writing and who is willing to serve as a reference can help you a great deal.  The first question employers often ask when they do reference calls is about the student's writing ability.  If a professor has had you as a student only in an exam class, that is a hard question for the professor to answer.  In contrast, if a professor has worked with you closely on a writing project, the professor will be able to talk about your skill as a writer, as well as your analytical ability and level of effort.   

Finally, you will be a better writer at the end of this process.  You will know, much more than you already do, how good legal writers write.  And, of course, a $500 cash award (along with being able to list on your resume that you have won that award) never hurts!

If you are interested, the only thing you need to do for now is to email Nikki Clarke at to let her know that you plan to participate in the writing competition.  In your email, please let Nikki know if you will need to work with your faculty advisor remotely (via email or phone) because you will not be in Athens this summer.  It will be fine if you later decide that you don't want to participate, but we would like to know how many people are interested. The deadline for entering the competition is Thursday, June 2 at 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Professor Mroz at

Professor Mroz will email further details as the beginning of the competition approaches.

Thanks so much and good luck with finals!

Hon. Julie E. Carnes

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