As Justice Anthony Kennedy said about The Rule of Law: "I want lawyers to be once again advocates for the Rule of Law. And this involves a reassessment by lawyers of very fundamental principles of democracy and of our culture and of our history, and freedom. So, I think of this in part as a way to re energize the Bar so that the Bar can reaffirm and rededicate itself to these first principles... "

Your participation in this competition is an important step in that direction.
For more information contact Kenneth Petrulis:

Rule of Law Competition Timeline

October 1, 2014: Entries open and may be submitted to a designated website for receiving competition entries which will validate qualification (1 entry per person, etc.).
April 1, 2015: Entries close at 5:00 p.m. Reading and judging of entries begin.
May 4, 2015: Winning entries announced.
June, 2015: Rule of Law Award presented at 61st Annual Supreme Court Luncheon.

Click here to Donate to Rule of Law

5th Annual Rule of Law Writing Competition Winners (2014)
Grand Prize
Jordana Kleinau, Southwestern Law School
Civil Unrest Turns Deadly: Ukrainian Protestors Seeking Restoration of Rule of Law?

Honorable Mention
Tommy Huynh, UCLA School of Law
U.S. Rule of Law Promotion Efforts in Vietnam: Judicial Independence


The Beverly Hills Bar Foundation announces the 6th Annual Rule of Law Competition to promote appreciation and understanding of the rule of law. Entries are due no later than April 1, 2015. Prizes will be awarded at the 61st Annual Beverly Hills Bar Association Supreme Court Luncheon in June 2015. Grand Prize is $2,500.00,with two Honorable Award prizes of $500.00 each.

1. Eligibility: This competition is open to juris doctorate candidates currently enrolled at an ABA or California State accredited law school as of January 1, 2015.

2. Limit on Entries: Each author may submit one entry.

3. Topic: Entries should relate to the Rule of Law and may address any or all of the following:
a. Define the Rule of Law or comment upon the attached definition; or
b. Comment on the importance or the effects of the Rule of Law, any of its elements, or the lack of a Rule of Law on society.

4. Criteria: Eligible entries shall meet standards of academic worthiness determined by the Selection Committee and be judged on an overall merit basis.

5. Due Date: Entries for the awards are due April 1, 2015 and shall be submitted electronically in Word or Word converted to searchable pdf form to Late submissions and hardcopies will not be considered.

6. Format: Title Page: Entrant's names shall not appear on the manuscript, but shall appear on a separate title page to be removed when a number is assigned to the entry. The title page shall also contain the entrant's address, telephone number and email address as well as a a one or two line synopsis of the entry. Each entry shall include a two page executive summary. Entries should be 4,000-5,000 words in length, not including footnotes/endnotes. Entries must use the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, for citation style.

7. Certification: Each entry shall be accompanied by a letter from the author in which the author certifies the work submitted has not had prior publication, or if published previously, a letter from the previous publisher giving the author permission to submit the work to this competition and to provide a non-exclusive unrestricted license to republish and or provide other such licenses for the work.

8. Selection Committee: Shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members chosen by the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation Board of Governors representing the community at large, the academic community and practicing attorneys, who have a demonstrated interest or expertise in the Rule of Law.

9. Submitted Materials: Submitted materials become the property of the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation. The Beverly Hills Bar Foundation/Beverly Hills Bar Association , their successors and or designees, shall have the non-exclusive right to publish any submission in any form, electronic or otherwise.

10. Announcement of Recipient: The award recipients will be announced on May 15th each year to be presented at the Supreme Court Luncheon of the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation/Beverly Hills Bar Association held in June of each year.

11. Rule of Law Awards: Awards shall include a $2,500 prize for the winner and two $500 honorable mention awards to be chosen from eligible entries. Each award recipient will receive a ticket to the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation’s Annual Supreme Court luncheon where the awards will be presented. Winning and honorable mention entries shall be published by the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation/Beverly Hills Bar Association or other forums to be selected by the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation/Beverly Hills Bar Association, its successors and or designees.

12. Submission Checklist: Completed Manuscript Separate Title page with contact information Transfer of Ownership Letter Submit to Beverly Hills Bar Foundation or before April 1, 2015.

Additional Information or Questions: Contact Kenneth G. Petrulis at

Rule of Law Competition Resource Materials are available here.


The Rule of Law is not well defined. It needs to be. The lack of a definition lends to its use as an epithet for whatever the speaker wants it to mean. It also inhibits the study of the rule of Law, its aspects and its effects. Study will test and refine the rule. Study will allow predictions of its effects to be tested. Assuming its benefits can be predicted and verified the Rule of Law will be validated as the fundamental value which sets one nation above another in its recognition of both human rights and economic success.

A fair justice system founded in tolerance and integrity guarantees the rights of individuals against the government, the powerful, and the many. The Rule of Law provides that tolerance and integrity. It gives respect to both personal rights and property rights. Because these rights are the primary incentive for achievement, they bring to the nations that follow the Rule of Law economic and political success as well.

Essential Elements of the Rule of Law Process:

1) Fair Access. The justice system is reasonably open and available to all, and does not impose oppressive burdens on the participants;

2) Fair courts. The courts exhibit tolerance and integrity. They are competent, and efficient. Judges are impartial and independent, randomly assigned, and not subject to political influence or manipulation

3) Fair Laws. The laws are public, clear and reasonable when applied to human experience;

4) Fair Administration. The administrative branch, prosecutors, and police, are reasonably fair, competent, and efficient; and

5) All are subject to the law. Government officials including the President, Supreme Court and the Congress, consent to being subject to the law. The Rule of Law process depends on the constant application of tolerance and integrity through a political system founded on these five necessary elements. Each country implementing the Rule of Law will produce its own legislation, administrative methods and judicial decisions. Each system while based upon the same five elements will be formed to the particular time, culture and circumstance where it is implemented. By fostering and promoting the process which is the Rule of Law, no matter what the place or time, all societies can benefit from its implementation.

Some challenge the Rule of Law as peculiar to the Western world or not suitable to all cultures. Some see the current success of the nations which follow the Rule of Law as chance, good fortune or a mere shifting in the vagaries of history. If the process (the Rule of Law) has inherent value, it should be possible to show a direct relationship between the integrity with which a nation enforces the Rule of Law and the success, economic and otherwise, of that nation. For example, one might predict a correlation between the number of attorneys in a country and that country's economic standing. The extent of the independence of the judiciary or of individual rights could also be tested to see whether they correlate to economic success.

© Kenneth G. Petrulis

Rule of Law Competition Timeline

August 1, 2014: 2014 - 2015 Rule of Law Competition Announced. Rules, etc.
October 1, 2014: Rule of Law Competition materials and links disseminated to local law schools.
October 1, 2014: Entries open and may be submitted to a designated website for receiving competition entries which will validate qualification (1 entry per person, etc.)
January 12, 2015: Formation meeting for Committee to read and judge entries.
April 1, 2015: Entries close. Reading and judging of entries begin.
April 27, 2015: Reading of entries ends. Committee meets to judge winners.
May 4, 2015: Winning entries announced and invitations to Supreme Court Luncheon for winner and runners up are sent out.
June, 2015:

Sixth Annual Rule of Law Awards presented at the 61st Annual Supreme Court Luncheon, June, 2015.

For more information about the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation, Click here.

Rule of Law Competition Resource Materials are available

Rule of Law Competition Submission Forms:

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