Posted in: Public


The SC Bar Senior Lawyers Division is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 HonorableJ. Mark Hayes, II Law Day Essay Contest. David White of Pickens High School took the top spot for his essay addressing the theme “Advancing the Rule of Law NOW.”  

“The chance for students to interact with members of the law community through this contest is a fantastic opportunity for further education and interest in the profession,” said Judge Hayes, who organizes and oversees the annual contest and this year had the competition re-named in his honor by the Senior Lawyers Division and SC Bar Board of Governors. “With that being said, the contest would not be possible without the support from the SC Bar Senior Lawyers Division and the volunteer circuit court judges who served as essay graders.”

White’s essay was titled "Courts and the Advancement of the Rule of Law." The piece earned David a $1,000 award and an American Bar Association medallion and certificate. 

“Rule of Law is defined as ‘the restriction of arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well defined and established’ (“Rule of Law”). Imagine that our justice system is a house,” White wrote. “Our judges, jurors, prosecutors, and defense attorneys make up the walls to keep the structure standing; without each wall holding its weight, the rule of law collapses. In order to have justice, each player in the case must do his/her job, no matter how unpleasant or unpopular it may be." 

The contest also recognizes grade-level entry winners with a $500 prize and ABA medallion and certificate. Grade-level winners were: 

  • 12th grade: Amber Saitta, Pickens High School, Pickens  
  • 11th grade: Erin Vander Ploeg, Dorman High School, Spartanburg 
  • 10th grade: Jacqueline Perez Bravo, Spartanburg County Early College High School, Spartanburg 
  • 9th grade (ties): Harry Ding, Academic Magnet High School, Charleston and Vera Brooks, Spartanburg County Early College High School, Spartanburg 

This project could not have been possible without the volunteers from the Senior Lawyers Division and especially Seventh Circuit Court Judge Hayes for coordinating the contest. Here’s to another successful contest and congratulations to the winners!