Essay Contest




Essay Contest Topic

 Immigration Situation


Grand Prize - $2000

Two Runner-Up Prizes - $1000


Essays judged by Federal and State Court Judges, Law Professors, and Lawyers

Award Ceremony held at the Connecticut Supreme Court


Entries Due February 21, 2020


The Connecticut Bar Foundation is pleased to announce the Twentieth Annual James W. Cooper Fellows Quintin Johnstone Essay Contest.  The contest is open to all Connecticut students under the age of 21 who are enrolled in grades 9-12, or their equivalent, at an accredited high school, vocational-technical school or adult high school credit diploma program located within the State of Connecticut.  The contest is also open to all Connecticut homeschooled students in grades equivalant to 9-12. See below for complete Contest Rules.


Topic Summary:


Tina Kelly teaches at a local public high school in Connecticut. One day she overhears a conversation between students in her after-school group that leads her to suspect that one of her students is an undocumented immigrant. She suddenly finds herself confronted with a dilemma – whether to comply with a district policy that may violate a student’s rights or face possible employment consequences for not complying. She turns to an attorney for advice on what to do. You are that attorney. Click here to read the full topic prompt.


Contest Materials


Full Topic

Contest Rules

Judging Criteria & Procedures


Entry Forms

(Note: forms must be opened in Adobe Acrobat if you wish to sign electronically)


Teacher Submital Form (Form 1)

Homeschool Submittal Form (Form 1-H)

Student Entry & Release (Form 2)

Homeschool Student Entry & Release (Form 2-H)

Parent Release (Form 3)


Essay submissions are judged on content/originality, organization, use of resource materials and writing. The Connecticut Bar Foundation and the James W. Cooper Fellows do not represent or endorse the accuracy or the reliability of any of the information, content, sources, or statements contained in any student essay contest entry in the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Quintin Johnstone 2019-2020 Statewide High School Essay Contest.


To access winning essays from previous years, 

follow the links below and click on the names of contest winners.


2018-2019 contest winners

2017-2018 contest winners

2016-2017 contest winners

2015-2016 contest winners

2014-2015 contest winners

2013-2014 contest winners

2012-2013 contest winners