The American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize is a writing competition designed to promote scholarship in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence.


The American Inns of Court invites judges, lawyers, professors, students, scholars, and other authors to participate in the competition. Please submit an original, unpublished, essay of 10,000 to 20,000 words on a topic of your choice addressing issues of legal excellence, civility, ethics, and professionalism.


Authors should address one or more aspects of excellence in legal skills, civility, ethics, or professionalism within the legal profession. The selected issue(s) should be of contemporary significance with clear relevance to the legal community at large.

Important Dates:

  • Submission deadline: Postmarked no later than July 1
  • Winner Announced: August 31

Submission Details:

  • Submissions must be original and unpublished works of 10,000-20,000 words including footnotes.
  • Either independent or collaborative submissions are allowed.
  • Please designate co-authors if more than one participant drafted the final submission.
  • Research assistants shall be acknowledged by name in an appropriate footnote.
  • Each author or co-author may participate in only one entry per year.
  • A complete submission includes an electronic file containing both the completed cover page and the essay.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Submissions should be sent by e-mail to Cindy Dennis at

Cover Page:

An electronically-signed cover page should be attached to the submission. The completed form should be typed or printed legibly.

Review Criteria:

Entries will be reviewed according to a uniform system of evaluation. Review criteria includes:

  • Incorporation of the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and civility in the paper
  • Perspective and objectivity
  • Organization in a clear and logical manner
  • Appeal and persuasiveness
  • Presentation and quality of literary construction
  • Originality


 In October during our Celebration of Excellence, which is held annually at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.


  • The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $5,000
  • The essay will be published in the South Carolina Law Review
  • The prize will be presented to the recipient at the American Inns of Court annual Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States

Burger Prize Procedures:

  • Review and follow the Warren E. Burger Prize Rules by clicking here.
  • Complete the Warren E. Burger Cover Page before submitting your essay
  • Send the completed cover page and essay no later than July 1 by e-mail to to Cindy Dennis

The winning essay will be announced on or before August 31


For additional information, contact Cindy Dennis at (571) 319-4703 or by e-mail to

For the Official Website, click here.