Rules 2017 cmba ethics and professionalism essay competition presented by AmericanLawRadio com and Malik Law

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Presented by and Malik Law
These Rules are effective as of September 1, 2016. The Rules may be subject to periodic modifications. Participants should check the Rules for updates.


The competition to open to all full-and part-time students enrolled in a JD or LLM program at an ABA-accredited law school. The law school is not required to be located in Ohio.


    1. Submission

Each contestant will electronically submit two documents to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association at 1) The completed submission form in .pdf format. 2) The contestant’s essay in Word format. All essays must be submitted on or before February 9, 2017.

    1. Topic

The topic for the essay is: What are the ethical considerations for law firms publishing law-related material on their websites and in their social media (e.g., blog posts) written by attorneys who are not members of the law firm (i.e., “ghost writing”)? You may presume that the firm has the author’s permission to publish the material.

    1. Essay format

The essays should be double-spaced in at least 12-point. Footnotes and endnotes may be single-spaced. All margins should be one inch from the side of the page.

The essay’s title must be included on the first page. All pages after the first page must include page numbers centered at the bottom as a footer.
Every page, including the first page, must have a header in the upper right corner. This header will be the last 3 digits of the contestant’s social security number, as stated on the submission form. This 3-digit number will be used to identify the essay’s author until after the final round of judging. On the submission form and on the essay, a contestant may provide a different 3-digit number identifier than the last 3 digits of the contestant’s social security number. However, winners of cash prizes will be required to submit a completed IRS Form W-9, including the contestant’s social security number, to the CMBA prior to the receipt of the cash prize.
Prior to submitting the essays, the authors should make sure that their names or other identifiers do not appear in the “Save As” dialog box. In the “Save As” dialog box, there is an option to identify the author directly underneath the “Save as type” drop-down menu box. The authors may want to identify themselves in this dialog box by their 3-digit identification number.
All submitted essays become the exclusive property of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and may not be published without the express written consent of the CMBA.


The essays must apply Ohio law, including the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct, in effect as of December 31, 2016, but may reference to the laws of other jurisdictions. Where Ohio and federal law conflict, the United States Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and related jurisprudence determines which laws should be applied.

  1. 1,600 WORD LIMIT

Every essay must be 1,600 words or less. Footnotes and endnotes are included in the word count. Titles and headings are not included in the word count.

If an essay exceeds 1,600 words, a judge may lower the judge’s ranking of the essay, or may reject the essay altogether. The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association may, in its sole discretion, disqualify the essay or decline to publish winning essays that exceed the 1,600-word limit.


Authors must include citations to all quoted and/or paraphrased sources. The citations must be in the format of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Writing Manual, Second Edition, effective July 1, 2013. There is a link to the Manual at If a citation is not in the proper format, a judge may lower the judge’s ranking of the essay.

Failing to provide a citation to a quoted and/or paraphrased source is plagiarism. All submitted essays will be reviewed for indications of plagiarism. If, in the sole discretion of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, an essay has too many indications of plagiarism, the essay will be disqualified.


Each essay must be the result of the student’s efforts only and must not have been published previously. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to have their work reviewed and critiqued by a faculty member or practicing lawyer, although the submission must be the student’s own work product. The name of the reviewing faculty member or lawyer must be listed on the submission form. If the faculty member or lawyer provides substantial editing to the essay, the essay will be disqualified.


    1. Preliminary Round

Volunteers from the CMBA Ethics and Professionalism Committee will serve as judges for the preliminary round. The Committee will set its own rules for judging the preliminary round. These rules will include dividing the essays amongst the volunteers for review and criteria for judging. The preliminary round judges will select five to ten essays for the final round.

No more than 10 essays will be selected for the final round of judging. The determination of the final-round essays will be made no later than March 10, 2017. The CMBA will notify by email each contestant as to the status of the contestant’s essay.

    1. Final Round

The judges for the final round are:

Jacqueline A. Johnson, Esq,

Federal Public Defender

Marvin L. Karp, Esq.

Ulmer & Berne, LLP

Richard S. Koblentz, Esq.

Koblentz & Penvose, LLC

Professor Robert P. Lawry

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Hugh E. McKay, Esq.

Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur

The judges for the final round are encouraged to judge each essay independently from the other judges. Each judge may develop his or her own judging criteria.
Each judge in the final round will rate the final essays and provide those ratings to the CMBA for compilation. The essay that the judge determines to be the best essay of those submitted to the judge will be rated a 1, the second-best essay will be rated a 2, etc. To determine the overall ranking of the essays, the CMBA will add up the ratings on each essay. The essay having the lowest rating sum will win first place in the competition. The essay having the second lowest rating sum will win second place. In the sole discretion of the CMBA, up to two essays from the final round may be selected for honorable mention.
A contestant shall not identify to a judge of the final round the contestant’s submitted essay. Failure to comply with this rule will result in the disqualification of the essay.


The CMBA will announce the first- and second-place winners no later than April 21, 2017. The first-place winner shall receive an award of $1,500.00. In the sole discretion of the CMBA, the first-place essay may be published in a future edition of Cleveland Bar Journal.

The second-place winner shall receive an award of $1,000.00. In the event of a tie, each winner will receive $1,250.00. In the sole discretion of the CMBA, one or both essays may be published in future editions of the Cleveland Bar Journal.


Schools and participants may direct their questions to the Competition’s director, Tom Horwitz, at 440-892-3331 or

2017 Rules, 9/1/2016

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