The ABA Journal, the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association ("ABA"), sponsors the annual ABA Journal / Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction (the "Contest"). The Official Rules of the Contest follow.
The ABA Journal will accept entries for the Contest through May 15, 2024. Entries must be original works of fiction of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. The winner will receive a prize of $5,000. Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and 21 years or older by May 15, 2024. Winner is responsible for all taxes associated with receipt of the prize. As a condition of receiving the prize, winner must submit a completed IRS Form W-9.
Deadline for entries is 5 p.m. CDT May 15, 2024. The ABA Journal will accept only one entry by any individual author. Joint entries are not permitted. Entries must be submitted via email to [email protected]. Please attach your story as a .doc or .pdf file to your email with the subject line Ross Writing Contest Submission, and include your full name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and whether you are an ABA member. ABA membership is not necessary to win. ABA is not responsible for errors in transmission, computer errors, or similar problems.
Entries may be unpublished, or published no earlier than December 1, 2023. Entries posted publicly on the internet, regardless of the forum or venue, will be considered published for the purposes of the Contest, as would be any entry published in a print publication or literary journal of any kind. The ABA Journal will be the sole judge of an entry's eligibility.
The author of any work submitted will retain copyright to his or her entry. However, by submitting a work for consideration in the contest, the winning author grants the American Bar Association and/or the ABA Journal a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to publish the work in its periodicals, books, anthologies, e-books, audiobooks or any other publication platform, whether print or digital or hereafter developed, without further compensation.
Contest entries will be judged by a panel selected by the editor and publisher of the ABA Journal and the winner confirmed by the ABA Journal Board of Editors. All decisions are final. Entries will be judged on creativity, plot exposition, legal insight and character development. The winner will be notified on or before July 5, 2024. Winner will be notified by email prior to any public announcement. If winner does not respond within five business days, or email is returned as undeliverable, winner forfeits all right to prize and an alternate winner will be chosen.
ABA officers, directors, staff members, members of the ABA Journal Board of Editors and their immediate household or family members, and freelance writers for the ABA Journal who have been paid for articles published after January 1, 2023, are not eligible to enter or win.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The ABA prohibits the use of all generative artificial intelligence, including large language models, to create any portion of a contestant’s written submission for this competition whether in the research, writing, or editing phase. Generative AI in this context includes, but is not limited to, OpenAI’s “GPT” series, BLOOM, Jasper, BERT, Galactica, and Lex. Note that for these purposes, AI does not include basic tools for checking grammar, spelling, references, etc. Upon submission of the work product, contestants must affirm that they did not utilize AI in the preparation of their written work product. The ABA reserves the right to screen submissions for use of AI through an AI detector. Contestants utilizing AI to generate their work product in whole or in part will be disqualified. If it is determined after the winner is announced and the prize is awarded that the winning contestant utilized AI to generate the written submission in whole or in part, then the contestant will forfeit the winning designation and shall return the prize. A new winner will then be selected.
ODDS OF WINNING: Chances of winning will vary depending on the number and quality of entries. However, Sponsor reserves the right not to award any prize if the judges determine that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection that year.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS: For a list of prize winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope by August 31, 2024 to the American Bar Association Attn: ABA Journal, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.
LICENSE/GRANT OF RIGHTS: By entering, the winners grant to the ABA the following rights: (1) the exclusive worldwide right of first publication of their entry in any and all ABA media or form of communication; (2) the non-exclusive worldwide right, in ABA’s sole discretion, to use, transcribe, publish reproduce, distribute, sell (as part of an ABA publication) or display the entry, alone or in conjunction with other materials; (3) the right to edit the essay to conform to the publication’s standards of style, technological requirements, language, grammar and punctuation, provided the meaning of the essay is not materially altered; and (4) the non-exclusive worldwide right to use the winner’s name and likeness in connection with the essay or this Writing Competition without further compensation. Additionally, the winning entrant must execute a separate licensing agreement giving the ABA the publication rights enumerated above and the right to use the article for any other purpose related to the ABA mission. If the winner fails to sign the agreement within 10 business days of receipt, the prize will be considered forfeited and another winner named.
LAWS AND REGULATIONS: This contest is governed by U.S. law and all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. By entering, all participants agree that the competition shall be governed by the laws of the State of Illinois, that the courts of Illinois shall have exclusive jurisdiction, and that Cook County, Illinois shall be the venue for any dispute or litigation relating to or arising from the competition. Void where prohibited by law.
CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION: By participating, each entrant agrees to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, and releases and discharges the ABA, subsidiary and affiliated entities, and each of their respective officers, directors, members, employees, independent contractors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns (collectively “Sponsor”) from any and all liability whatsoever in connection with this promotion, including without limitation legal claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages, demands or actions of any kind (including without limitation personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation, or portrayal in a false light) (collectively “Claims”). Except where prohibited, acceptance of a prize constitutes a release by any winner of the Sponsor of any and all Claims in connection with the administration of this promotion and the use, misuse or possession of any prize. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Sponsor is not responsible for errors or for lost, late, or misdirected mail or email, or telecommunication or hardware or software failures, including by reason of any bug or computer virus or other failure. Sponsor may cancel, modify or terminate the promotion if it is not capable of completion as planned, including by reason of infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure or technical difficulties of any kind.
Sponsor: American Bar Association through its ABA Journal, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654