The James E. Beckley Securities Arbitration and Law Writing Competition is a writing contest for law students interested in Securities Arbitration and Securities Law. The PIABA Bar Journal Board-of-Editors will publish the first place paper, and may, at their option, elect to print additional submissions. Winners will be announced at the PIABA Annual Meeting and posted on The PIABA Foundation and PIABA websites. Stipends are awared as follows: First Place – $1000; Second Place – $750; and Third place – $500.
Topic. The submission may address any aspect of Securities Law; Securities Arbitration; The Federal Arbitration Act, Title 9, US Code, Section 1-14; or FINRA Code of Arbitration, effective April 16, 2007 and any changes or proposed changes to that Code. The writing can be based in theory or practice, but should ultimately advocate a position on the topic area chosen.
Eligibility. The competition is open to all students who attend a law school in the United States. Full-time students who are not law students but who write law-related papers as part of a course at an American law school are also eligible. Employees of The PIABA Foundation and PIABA, except for students working less than 20 hours per week, are not eligible to enter the competition.
Authorship. The author must have performed all the key tasks of researching, writing, and revising the paper for himself or herself, but may have received a reasonable amount of advice from academicians or practitioners. Except for any discussions or other activities that occur as part of course activities approved by the student’s professor, the author must avoid collaboration with other students. If the paper is written as an assignment in a legal writing class and if the student was assigned to produce the paper along with a partner, the student may submit the paper but must identify the portions for which the student was the sole author. Only those parts of the paper will be evaluated. Under no other circumstances may any of the written product be produced by another.
Criteria and Judging. All entries will be judged anonymously by the Competition Judges, who will select the winning submission(s). Robin Ringo will notify the award winner(s). The Judges reserve the right not to award any prizes if it is determined that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection that year.
Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: quality of research and authority provided; accuracy and clarity of the analysis; compliance with legal writing standards and technical quality of writing, including organization, grammar, syntax, and form. Strong preference will be given to articles that advocate pro-investor positions, provide updates on or surveys of securities or ADR law, and/or are consistent with The PIABA Foundation’s mission of promoting financial literacy by educating public investors about abuses in the financial services industry and the securities dispute resolution process.
Purposes of the James E. Beckley Securities Arbitration and Law Writing Competition. The purposes of the competition are to promote greater interest in and understanding of the fields of securities arbitration and securities law and to encourage excellent legal writing skills in law students.
Format. Submissions should be on one of the topics listed above. The text of a submission must be double-spaced, with twelve-point font and one-inch margins. Any Question(s) Presented section, the Statement of the Facts / Statement of the Law section, the Argument section, and/or the Conclusion together are limited to 25 pages. If the submission covers both a topic among those listed above and a topic not listed above, only the topic listed above will be evalfuated. Submissions will be penalized for arguing a position that would limit investor rights rather than expand them.
To Enter. Entries must be submitted no later than 5 pm CDT on September 20, 2013 through The Foundation Competition Submission Form. The contestant’s name and other identifying markings such as school name are not to be on any copy of the submitted entry. Ms. Ringo will assign a random number to each entry and will record this number on all copies of each submission. Neither the contestant’s identity nor his or her academic institution will be known to any Competition Judge. Each entrant may submit only one entry.
Submission Deadline. September 20, 2013. The first place winner is invited to accept the James E. Beckley Student Writing Competition Award in-person during the PIABA Annual Meeting President’s Dinner on October 18, 2013. Second and Third places, as well as, Honorable Mention(s) are announced at that time as well. Upon receipt of any entry, confirmation of receipt will be sent by email. If you do not receive a confirmation, please contact The PIABA Foundation at (405) 310-2444.
About James E. Beckley. A passionate securities arbitration activist and an accomplished scholar, Mr. Beckley was well known for defending and promoting the rights of public investors. Along with his advocacy skills, he was as a prolific and outstanding writer. Mr. Beckley served on the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration, an organization created at the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain and update the Uniform Code of Arbitration for securities arbitration, and to serve as a sounding board on issues of fairness in arbitration. At the time of his death in 1999, Mr. Beckley was the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (“PIABA”) President. This competition and award has been established to honor his legacy.