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Essay Contest

2023-2024 Essay Contest Awards Ceremony, CT Supreme Court, June 4, 2024

L-R: Attorney Justine Rakich-Kelly, CBF Executive Director Angela Schlingheyde, Runner-up Ioannis Oikonomou,
Statewide Winner Joseph Coppinger, Runner-up Delaney Russell, and Justice Gregory T. D’Auria
(photo credit: Tricia Rose, Tricia Rose Photography)


Welcome to the 2023-2024 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 (collectively “schools”) located within the State of Connecticut (“Connecticut school”).  The contest is also open to all Connecticut homeschooled students in grades equivalent to grades 9-12.

We are no longer accepting submissions for this year's contest - thank you to all the students who participated! Materials for the 2024-2025 contest will be available in October 2024.

Please be sure to review all of the contest rules, including those found at the submission link below. 
Students should be mindful of the contest topic, and should review the full fact pattern carefully;
essays not responsive to the topic will be disqualified.


Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Essay Contest winners!


To access the winning essays, please click on the name of each student.

To read the press release announcing the winners, please click here.


Winner: $2,000
(2) Runner-up: $1,000


Essay Topic

"Battle of the Bytes: AI vs. Academic Integrity"*
*title generated by ChatGPT
Click here for a detailed description of this year's topic and fact pattern.


Contest Materials

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 Statewide High School Essay Contest.


About the Essay Contest

Now in its 24th year, the Essay Contest was started by the Foundation’s James W. Cooper Fellows in 2000.  The purpose of the essay contest is to get young people in Connecticut thinking about and exploring legal issues relevant to them.

In 2011, the Essay Contest was named after Quintin Johnstone, who was a professor at Yale Law School before his death in 2014.  Johnstone served as past president of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, participated in a variety of Fellows projects for many years, and was a longtime member of the Fellows Education and Program Committee, which helps to organize Fellows projects like the annual Essay Contest.

This year's contest generated over 100 entries from across Connecticut.  The Foundation thanks the student essayists, and the schools and teachers who supported them, for their participation.

We also wish to thank the Connecticut Supreme Court for their continued support of the Essay Contest, and for welcoming us back to the court on June 4, 2024, for our awards ceremony.

Finally, we want to thank the over 140 attorneys and judges from across the state who reviewed and scored the essays this year. Justices and judges who participated in the final round of judging for the 2023-2024 contest were: Justice Richard Palmer, Justice Raheem Mullins, Judge Alexandra DiPentima, Judge Ingrid Moll, and Judge Maureen Dennis.

Click here to view a complete list of the 2023-2024 Essay Contest Judges

2023-2024 Essay Contest Committee

Justine C. Rakich-Kelly, chair

Hon. Claudia Baio
Jeff Blumenthal
Sheila Charmoy
Matthew Cholewa
Ann-Marie DeGraffenreidt
Susan Freedman
Gary Giaimo
Emily Gianquinto
Gary R. Gold
Hon. Ernest Green, Jr.
Sara Greene
Gail Hardy
Rob Harris
Hon. Maureen Keegan
Noah Kores
Tamara Kagan Levine
Bill Logue
Ernest Mattei
Yamuna Menon
Colleen M. Murphy
Sara Nadim
Hon. Maureen Price-Boreland
Linda Randell
Hon. Angela Robinson
Dan Schwartz
Carolyn Signorelli
Hon. Nada Sizemore (Ret.)
Jack G. Steigelfest
Hon. James Tancredi
Hon. Cecil J. Thomas
Hon. Erika Tindill
Dave Vatti
Gayle Wintjen