The H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition is intended to encourage law students interested in the areas of law affecting FDA-regulated industries: food, drugs, biologics, cosmetics, dietary supplements, medical devices, and tobacco.

Students currently enrolled in a JD Program at any of the nation’s ABA-accredited law schools or a 2016-2017 academic year graduate are eligible to participate.

A committee comprised of FDLI members who are practicing attorneys and law professors will judge the papers. Top papers will receive a monetary prize, FDLI membership, and will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal.


  • Papers should provide an indepth analysis of a current legal or regulatory issue concerning FDA regulated industries: food, drugs, animal drugs, biologics, cosmetics, diagnostics, dietary supplements, medical devices or tobacco. FDLI welcomes the submission of papers prepared for course work, but entrants must pay attention to competition details and edit such papers accordingly.
  • Students must register for submission through the online competition portal; all papers must be submitted within the portal.
  • Students will submit an abstract.
  • No author identifying information may be included in the body of the text. The author’s name should only be shared when registering.
  • Papers may not exceed 100 pages (double spaced, one-inch margins).
  • Papers must be unpublished.

Judging Considerations:

  • Thoroughness and depth of legal analysis
  • Originality and difficulty of topic
  • Evaluation of judicial precedents, statutes, and regulations
  • Quality of thesis/argument
  • Quality of legal research
  • Writing style
  • Conciseness; quality will be valued over quantity
  • Form and quality of citations
  • Conformity with requirements of competition


Winners are awarded: $750 for first place, $500 for second, and $250 for third, and a complimentary one-year FDLI membership. Top papers will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal.

Submission Details:

The 2018 competition is now open. Submissions will be accepted through June 11, 2018.

To submit, click here.

Contact Details:

(T) 202-371-1420 or 800-956-6293
(F) 202-371-0649

For the Official Website, click here