Skip to main content

Essay Contest

2022-2023 Essay Contest Awards Ceremony, CT Supreme Court, June 2023

L-R: Justice Steven D. Ecker, Justice Gregory T. D’Auria, Hon. Barry F. Armata, Runner-up Danielle Cabassa,
Statewide Winner Benjamin Nolan, Statewide Winner Siddharth Krishnan, Attorney Justine Rakich-Kelly,
CBF Interim Executive Director Steve Eppler-Epstein, and Justice Andrew J. McDonald 
(Photo credit: Tricia Rose, Tricia Rose Photography)


Welcome to the 2022-2023 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 2023-2024 contest will be available in October 2023.

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 2022-2023 Essay Contest winners!


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

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


Winner: $2,000
(2) Runner-up: $1,000

*Note: there was a tie in the 2022-2023 contest, resulting in the Foundation awarding prizes to two winners and one runner-up.

Essay Topic

"Out with the Books"
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 23rd 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.

The 2022-2023 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 6, 2023, 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, judges, and attorneys who participated in the final round of judging for the 2022-2023 contest were: Justice Richard Palmer, Judge Alexandra DiPentima, Judge Ingrid Moll, Judge Maureen Dennis, and Attorney Robert Harris.

Click here to view a complete list of the 2022-2023 Essay Contest Judges

2022-2023 Essay Contest Committee

Justine C. Rakich-Kelly, Chair
Hon. Claudia Baio 
Jeff Blumenthal 
Sheila Charmoy 
David R. Chipman 
Matthew Cholewa 
Ann-Marie DeGraffenreidt 
Susan Freedman 
Gary Giaimo 
Emily Gianquinto 
Gary R. Gold 
Hon. Ernest Green, Jr. 
Gail Hardy 
Rob Harris 
Hon. Maureen Keegan 
Tamara Kagan Levine 
Bill Logue 
Ernest Mattei 
Yamuna Menon 
Colleen M. Murphy 
Sara Nadim 
Dean Eboni Nelson 
Hon. Cesar Noble 
Hon. Maureen Price-Boreland 
Linda Randell 
Hon. Angela Robinson (Ret.) 
Dan Schwartz 
Carolyn Signorelli 
Jack G. Steigelfest 
Hon. James Tancredi 
Hon. Erika Tindill 
Hon. Dave Vatti 
Gayle Wintjen