Clarke Family Prize in Legal Ethics & Professionalism

About The Competition

Gonzaga Law School sponsors an annual writing competition on the topic of legal ethics. The competition was created in honor of Professor William H. Clarke, who taught at the Law School for 30 years, regularly coached the National Moot court team, and was a three-time recipient of the Most Distinguished Teacher award given annually by the Gonzaga Student Bar Association. Registration for the 2021 competition is closed. 

For more information on the CLE, visit the Clarke CLE webpage.

Competition Rules


The competition for the Clarke Family Prize in Legal Ethics and Professionalism (“the Competition”) is open to all Gonzaga University School of Law students who: (a) have completed 30 or more credits at the time of Competition competition registration; and (b) are in good standing from the date the Competition problem is posted through the time of the reception described in Section 7 below.

Competition Problem

Acting as a staff attorney for the Washington State Bar Association Office of Disciplinary Counsel, participants will be provided with a factual scenario involving one or more issues of legal ethics or professional responsibility. Participants will submit a brief memorandum (the Competition Paper), then engage in a simulated discussion of the problem with a mock group of deputy and chief disciplinary counsel (the Judges Panel).

Original, Individual Work

A contestant’s Competition Paper must be an original and unpublished work. The contestant must be the sole author of his or her Competition Paper; co-authorship and group submissions are prohibited. A contestant may submit only one Competition Paper. A contestant may not seek assistance or advice in connection with the Competition problem or the Competition Paper from any person, including other law students, practicing attorneys, or Gonzaga Law School professors and administrators. This rule does not prevent a contestant from consulting with Westlaw research assistants or librarians at Gonzaga Law School or elsewhere for assistance in locating databases, books and other resources but not for assistance in framing searches or with any other aspect of the Competition problem or Competition Paper.

Format; Length

Written entries must be printed on 8.5 x 11 paper, double-spaced, with one-inch margins and in Times New Roman 12-point font. The Competition Paper may not exceed 1700 words. The oral portion of the competition will consist of a 2-minute opening statement followed by 13 minutes of dialogue with the Judges Panel.

Competition Timeline

Competition problem distributed: March 5, 2021
Competition paper due:                  March 22, 2021
Preliminary Oral Presentations: March 25 & 26, 2021
Final Round Oral Presentations: TBA 
Winners announced: April 23, 2020


The competition is limited to 20 students; should more than 20 students wish to compete, a wait list will be maintained.

Judging Process

Both the Competition Paper and the oral presentation will be scored. The three competitors with the highest combined score (of their paper and oral presentation) will advance to the final round. The best paper and best oral presentation will be determined during the preliminary rounds. The three participants with the highest combined score will advance to the final found. The best overall score will be determined during the final round.


Best Paper Best Oral Presentation Best Overall
1st: $1,000 1st: $1,000 1st: $1,500
2nd: $750 2nd: $750 2nd: $1,000
3rd: $500 3rd: $500 3rd: $500

Compliance and Decisions

The Competition Committee may refuse to consider entries that do not comply with the Competition Rules. Competition Committee decisions will be final.

Rule Revisions

The Competition Rules may be revised or supplemented by the Competition Committee or Gonzaga Law School at any time before or during the Competition.


Questions regarding any aspect of the Competition should be directed to Bryn Boorman, Program Coordinator, either in person in the Dean’s Suite, 4th Floor, Gonzaga Law School or by email at Do not direct questions about the Competition to Gonzaga Law School faculty members or other personnel.