2021 Law Day essay contest is now open! Download the essay packet. The deadline to submit essays is Friday, June 4, 2021 at noon.

2020 Law Day essay winners announced

The Senior Lawyers Division’s annual Law Day essay contest saw record participation this year as essays were submitted from two dozen different education institutions and programs from across the Palmetto State. This year’s theme was based on the American Bar Association’s Law Day 2020 theme, “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy,” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. The overall winning essay was submitted by Jacob Price, a senior at Spartanburg High School. Read Jacob’s essay and more about the annual contest.

The Senior Lawyers Division would like to thank Fifth Circuit Court Judge Mark Hayes, Law Day Essay contest coordinator, for another successful contest and all volunteer circuit court judges who served as essay graders.

The Senior Lawyers Division sponsors an exciting statewide Law Day Essay Contest and encourages all local Bars to participate!

Read Judge J. Mark Hayes, II's letter on Law Day Essay Contest.

For the past several years the Spartanburg County Bar Association, under the leadership of Judge Mark Hayes, has sponsored an essay contest on constitutional issues. Over 1,000 students in grades 9-12 in the public schools of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties have participated. Teachers in each school choose the best student essays from each grade. The winning essays were then submitted to the Spartanburg County Bar Association, which, in turn, chose the best essay from each grade and the best overall essay.    

On Law Day the county bar invited the winning students, their teachers, parents and friends to the courthouse, where all of the students were publically honored and each grade winner presented a $100 check and the overall winner a $500 check. In addition, each student was given a plaque and a medal. The event generates media attention and excitement among the participants. More importantly, the students are involved in the study of the rule of law, our judicial system and the U.S. Constitution.

For the statewide contest, the Senior Lawyers Division will receive submissions from each participating county or group of counties. From these essays, a winner will be chosen for each grade, as well as an overall winner. The winning students will be recognized and presented with a $500 check and the overall winner with a $1,000 check. Appropriate plaques and medals will also be presented. Homeschooled students are also encouraged to participate.

This is a marvelous opportunity for lawyers to interact with the community and, more importantly, to stimulate the interest of our youth in our judicial system and the rule of law. The packet for next year and winning overall essays are below. The theme for next year is Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society. If you are interest in participating in this project, please contact Judge Mark Hayes at (864) 562-4144 or mhayesj@sccourts.org.

2020 Winning Essay 2019 Winning Essay 2018 Winning Essay 2017 Winning Essay 2016 Winning Essay