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Essay Contest

2021-2022 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.

Essays are due by February 22, 2022.


Winner: $2,000
(2) Runner-Up: $1,000

Essay Topic

"Throwing Away Our Shot?"

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 it its 22nd 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.

Last year’s contest generated 139 entries from 53 schools across Connecticut. The Foundation thanks the student participants, and the schools and teachers who supported them, for participating in this year’s contest.

We also wish to thank the Connecticut Supreme Court for their support of the Essay Contest each year and the over 140 attorneys and judges from across Connecticut participated in reviewing and scoring the essays this year. Justices and judges who participated in the final round of judging this year were: Justice Raheem Mullins, Judge Richard Palmer, Judge Alexandra DiPentima, Judge Maureen Dennis, and Attorney Molly LeVan.