Call for Submissions: California Supreme Court Historical Society 2023 Selma Moidel Smith Student Writing Competition

We have the following call for submissions: 

The California Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS) is pleased to announce its call for submissions to the 2023 Selma Moidel Smith Student Writing Competition in California Legal History. 

The $5,000 first-place, $2,500 second-place, and $1,000 third-place prizes will be awarded to the best papers on California or pre-California legal history, broadly considered. Acceptable topics include, but are not limited to, those addressing constitutional, judicial, social, and/or cultural aspects of California’s legal past, as well as the evolution of California law, such as water law or criminal law. A larger region than just the state would also be eligible, if there is a sufficient focus on California.

Examples of papers that have impressed past evaluation committees include a study of the history of the death penalty in California, the evolution of California law governing the transfer of juveniles to adult court, the effectiveness of constitutional amendments in western states, a study of the San Fernando Valley’s effort to secede from Los Angeles, a gender-based analysis of California tort law, and a survey of California’s vagrancy and racial exclusion laws. 

While we have no maximum length, we generally encourage papers of at least 7,500 words, counting notes and other explanatory matter.

The competition is open to all students and recent graduates in history and/or law, provided that they did not have full-time academic employment at the time the paper was written. The paper must also be unpublished, and all prize winners will be published in California Legal History, CSCHS’s journal.

Papers may be self-nominated or sent in by a professor or supervisor. To ensure anonymity, the author’s name should appear only on a separate cover page, along with the author’s mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the name of their school.

Submissions are due no later than May 1, 2023 and should be sent to with the subject line “Smith Prize.” The winners will be announced on June 30, 2023.

For the Prize Committee
Christian Fritz
Sarah Barringer Gordon
Laura Kalman

More information about the competition is available here

-- Karen Tani




Ask Us About...

  • How To Send Money to an Inmate
  • General Research Mail for Inmates
  • Finding The Right Legal Defense

Inmate Deposit Form


Email *

Message *