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2014 Morris Cohen Student Essay Competition

2014 Morris Cohen Student Essay Competition

The Legal History and rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries announce the sixth annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.

The purpose of the Competition is to encourage scholarship in the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint students with AALL and law librarianship.

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) promotes the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, fosters the profession of law librarianship, and provides leadership in the field of legal information. The Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section (LH&RB) promotes the study and appreciation of legal history and rare books among members of the law library profession.

The Competition is named in honor of the late Morris L. Cohen of Yale Law School, one of the founders of LH&RB and an eminent scholar of legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography.

The Competition is jointly sponsored by LH&RB and Gale, part of Cengage Learning, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and business.

2014 Morris Cohen Student Essay Competition


Essays may address any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The subject should be explored in depth with appropriate reference to sources.  


The Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries


The author of the first-place essay will receive a $500 prize from Gale Cengage Learning, and a joint LH&RB-Gale Cengage award of up to $1000 for travel, lodging, food and other AALL annual meeting attendance expenses.

The author of the runner-up essay will have the opportunity to publish the essay in LH&RB’s online annual scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.


17 March, 2014.


  • Full- and part-time students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, or related fields are eligible to enter the competition. Membership in AALL is not required.
  • The competition is open to students attending graduate school either in the United States or abroad, and students need not be U.S. citizens to enter.
  • Students attending foreign graduate schools who submit entries to the competition may be asked to provide evidence of current accreditation of their schools by the appropriate government or administrative entities.
  • Entrants must provide evidence of current enrollment by submitting one of the following: official or unofficial transcript, registrar’s written confirmation of enrollment, or faculty member letter on school letterhead confirming enrollment.
  • Previous winners of the competition are ineligible.
  • Previous contestants may submit papers in succeeding years if they continue to meet eligibility requirements.
  • Members of the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition Committee and current officers of LH&RB are ineligible to enter the competition.
  • Other members of AALL are eligible if they meet the qualifications above.
  • There is no minimum or maximum required length for the essay.
  • As a guideline, the Committee anticipates essays of approximately 20 to 35 double-spaced pages in length, including footnotes (preferred) or endnotes.
  • Authors should follow a consistent format appropriate for a research paper such as that set forth in The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., 2010).  Footnotes should follow The Chicago Manual of Style, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed. 2010), or the AALL Universal Citation Guide (1999).
  • The essay must include an abstract not to exceed 250 words, placed either at the head of the essay or on a separate sheet, and must include a bibliography of works consulted at the end.
  • No essay, or portion of an essay, that has been published, or submitted or accepted for publication before March 17, 2014, will be eligible for consideration.
  • Before submitting an essay, authors are responsible for having conducted a search to ensure that a substantially similar paper has not been published elsewhere.
  • Students may submit more than one essay to the competition.
  • Essays may be co-authored if each author meets the eligibility requirements.
  • Co-authors of a winning paper will share the cash prize and the award for travel expenses to attend the AALL Annual Meeting.
  • The entry package consists of:
  • 2013/2014 entry form
  • Evidence of current enrollment
  • Abstract of essay
  • Essay
  • Bibliography of Works Consulted
  • Submit the entry package electronically to:
  • The essay review process is anonymous.  Before submitting your entry package, please ascertain that your name does not appear on any page of your essay or abstract or in the document’s file name.
  • You will receive confirmation that your submission has been received. If you do not receive a confirmation within 5 days, please contact Rob Mead at
  • Essays are reviewed by the Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition Committee, and are judged on quality of research and analysis, as well as style and clarity of writing. Decisions of the Committee are final.
  • The Committee, at its discretion, reserves the right to not award a prize or prizes in any year.
  • LH&RB and AALL do not assume responsibility for incomplete, lost, stolen, late, misdirected or misplaced entries.
  • Attendance at the 2014 AALL Annual Meeting is encouraged, but not required (July 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas).  The Committee will recognize the both the first- and second-place winners at the LH&RB meeting. The first-place winner will have the opportunity to present the winning paper at the LH&RB Roundtable.
  • The author of the winning paper is invited to submit the first-place entry to Law Library Journal, the official journal of AALL, for publication (if chosen, the essay must be edited to follow the guidelines set forth in AALL’s “Law Library Journal Author’s Guide,” available at:  If the essay is not chosen for publication, the Committee may suggest other publication venues to the first-place winner.
  • Cohen Essay Contest Application form, 2013-14


Please direct Questions to Marguerite Most,, or Sabrina Sondhi,, Co-Chairs, Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition Committee.


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