Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Competition @ Public Citizen Inc. [Prizes Worth $5,000]: Submit by April 30


Public Citizen is organizing a Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Competition on the Topic ‘Non-disclosure provisions in Settlement Agreements: Should courts enforce public policy disfavoring them?’

Essays may focus on these or other related questions:

  • The impact of nondisclosure agreements on claims of harassment or discrimination.
  • Political and/or constitutional limitations.
  • Differences among states.
  • Strategies for challenging nondisclosure agreements.
  • Impact on public safety of non-disclosure or non-disparagement clauses in product liability settlement agreements.
  • Ethical and public policy arguments against settlement agreement provisions which hide safety defects from the public.

The Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Competition is sponsored by R. Ben Hogan III of Hogan Law Office, PC, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Gerson H. Smoger of Smoger & Associates in Dallas, Texas, and Oakland, California. It is administered by Public Citizen.



Submission Deadline:

Submissions must be emailed on or before Saturday, April 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, to Amanda Fleming at afleming@citizen.org. Papers emailed after this date will not be considered.


The competition is open to all current law students and all masters of law students. Co-authored submissions are eligible; if selected, the co-authors will share the prize.

Each submission must be an original, unpublished academic work, but simultaneous submissions will be accepted.


Essay submissions are sought on the topic “Non-disclosure provisions in Settlement Agreements:  Should courts enforce public policy disfavoring them?”


Submissions must be emailed as Microsoft Word documents. They may be full-length law review articles or shorter academic essays and should use footnotes (not endnotes). The word count may be between 6,000 and 25,000 words, not including footnotes.

Judging Process:

A panel of lawyers, including law professors and practitioners, will judge the submissions based on depth of analysis, quality of writing, originality, and thoroughness.

Winning Submission and Prizes:

The winner will be notified by email. The winner will receive $5,000. Only one winning paper will be chosen and only one prize awarded.


  • Main office: (202) 588-1000
  • Capitol Hill office: (202) 546-4996
  • Texas office: (512) 477-1155
For the Official Website, click here.

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