The American College of Legal Medicine’s 2014 Student Writing Competition in Law, Medicine and Bioethics

Every year, the American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) presents an award for the outstanding original paper on legal medicine. All students studying Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Podiatry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Science, Healthcare Administration or Public Health are encouraged to compete.

Hirsh Award Winner – $1,000

2nd Prize – $500

3rd Prize – $250

The first place paper will be named the Hirsh Award Winner. In addition, the ACLM will pay the Hirsh Award Winner’s costs of travel and lodging to present his or her paper at the ACLM 2014 Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX.

What is Legal Medicine?

Legal medicine is the professional and academic discipline that concerns itself with legal aspects of medical science, medical practice and other healthcare delivery. Practitioners of the specialty have sufficient training, knowledge and expertise to address the scope of the specialty from a scholarly, scientific and practical perspective. As the subject matter of legal medicine is broad, we are looking for quality papers that cover any aspect of legal medicine.

Applicant Criteria:

  1. All authors must have previously achieved a baccalaureate degree or equivalent from an accredited institution and must be currently enrolled in an accredited Law, Medical, Podiatric, Nursing, Dental, Health Science or Healthcare Administration program in the United States or Canada.
  2. No paper that has been previously published in any form will be considered; however, papers written for scholarly classes will be allowed as long as they have not been published.
  3. All papers submitted will receive consideration for publication in the Journal of Legal Medicine or other medical legal publications.


  1. The format rules below must be followed exactly. PAPERS THAT DO NOT FOLLOW ALL OF THESE RULES WILL NOT BE GRADED.
  2. The paper’s length must not exceed 5000 total words, and must not exceed 15 pages. The word count is applicable to the total paper; the words on the title page, footnotes, figures and tables are to be included.
  3. All papers are to be submitted in Word document format, using 12 point Times New Roman font for all text. Papers must be typed double-spaced, with one-inch margins and all pages are to be numbered. All citations are to be as footnotes, which should be in 10 point Times New Roman font, single-spaced, and with one-inch margins.
  4. The first page must be the cover page, which must include the following information: the author’s name and contact information, including a telephone number, email address and the name of the author’s school. The cover page must also contain the final word count obtained from Word.
  5. At the top of page #2 the author must place the title of the paper all in capitals. After the title, two lines must be skipped and the text of the paper should begin.
  6. If tables or figures are included, they are to be placed after the text according to the following rules: On the first page after the end of the text, a list of all tables and figures will be provided. Each table and figure will then be placed on a separate page. 

If an author wishes to acknowledge an individual or institution this can only be done on the cover page.


  1. Papers must contain only uncollaborated original work.
  2. Papers may relate to research done by the author.
  3. Papers may deal with any aspect of legal medicine, including medical licensure and regulation of the profession, business aspects of medical practice, liability of physicians, hospitals, managed care organizations, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, public health law, the physician-patient relationship, care of special patients, food and drug law, medical research, forensic science, and the history of legal medicine.
  4. Although papers may have been submitted for a grade at the author’s school, the author may not have submitted the paper elsewhere for publication.
  5. It is assumed that the author has no financial interest (direct or indirect) with the material presented. If the author does have a conflict this should be disclosed on the last page of the document.


  1. All papers will be judged by the Student Awards Committee of the American College of Legal Medicine in a blinded review process. The decision of the judges is final.
  2. All prizes may not be awarded each year if the ACLM and/or the Student Awards Committee determines that no entry meets the standards of a winning paper.

Papers will be judged in the following areas:

  1. Appropriateness of subject matter for the contest
  2. Originality, thoughtfulness
  3. Quality of legal and bioethical, medical, law, dentistry, podiatry, nursing, pharmacy, health science, healthcare administration or public health analysis
  4. Quality of writing
  5. Citation of authority/support for arguments

Deadline and Submission:

  1. The papers must be submitted only via email to Papers transmitted or sent in any other form will not be considered for the writing competition.
  2. Authors must submit their papers by the end of the business day, January 6, 2014. Under no circumstances will any paper be considered unless it is submitted by the deadline and in the required format.
  3. Winners other than the Hirsh Award Winner will be announced at the ACLM 2014 Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, and may appear personally at their own expense if they wish to be recognized.
  4. Direct questions to:
Student Writing Competition
American College of Legal Medicine
Two WoodfieldLake, 1100 E. Woodfield Road
Suite 350
Schaumburg, IL 60173  

For additional information, please visit the website.