Every year, distinguished legal scholars from around the country review scholarly papers written by professors from AALS member schools. Those papers the committee deems most outstanding are selected to receive the AALS Scholarly Paper Award. The award is presented to each winning author at the AALS Annual Meeting every January. Learn more about the most recent current competition.

The competition’s selection committee has recognized the following outstanding papers over the last 33 years:


WinnerMaria PonomarenkoUniversity of Texas at Austin School of Law“The Small Agency Problem in American Policing”
Honorable MentionSarah LorrBrooklyn Law School“Disabling Families”
Honorable MentionFelipe JiménezUniversity of Southern California Gould School of Law“Tradition in Constitutional Adjudication”



WinnerNicole SummersGeorgetown Law Center“Civil Probation”
Honorable MentionJonathan ChoiUniversity of Minnesota Law School“Computational Corpus Linguistics”


WinnerTalia GillisColumbia Law School“The Input Fallacy”
Honorable MentionCourtney CoxFordham Law School“Legitimizing Lies”
Honorable MentionNicholas SerafinSanta Clara University School of Law“Redefining the Badges of Slavery”


WinnerMatthew A. ShapiroRutgers Law School“Distributing Civil Justice”
Honorable MentionLindsey D. SimonUniversity of Georgia School of Law“Bankruptcy Grifters”
Honorable MentionDiego A. ZambranoStanford Law School“Foreign Dictators in U.S. Court”
Honorable MentionGuha KrishnamurthiSouth Texas College of Law Houston “The Case For the Abolition of Criminal Confessions”


Co-WinnerMeghan M. BooneWake Forest University School of Law“Reproductive Due Process”
Co-WinnerJonathan GouldUniversity of California, Berkeley School of Law“Law Within Congress”


Co-WinnerMaureen E. BradyHarvard Law School“The Forgotten History of Metes and Bounds”
Co-WinnerJames D. NelsonUniversity of Houston Law Center“Corporate Disestablishment”


WinnerAaron TangUniversity of California, Davis“Rethinking Political Power in Judicial Review”
Honorable MentionWilliam Ortman and Daniel EppsWayne State University, Washington University in St. Louis“The Lottery Docket”
Honorable MentionAndrew VersteinWake Forest University“The Jurisprudence of Mixed Motives”


WinnerChristopher WalkerOhio State University“Legislating in the Shadows”
Honorable MentionMila SohoniUniversity of San Diego“Crackdowns”


WinnerJill FraleyWashington and Lee“An Unwritten History of Waste Law”


WinnerDavid HortonUniversity of California, Davis“In Partial Defense of Probate – Evidence from Alameda County, California”
Honorable MentionJeremy McClaneUniversity of Connecticut“Agency and Teamwork: Measuring Benefits and Unintended Consequences in Securities Transactions”


WinnerChristopher W. SchmidtIIT Chicago-Kent“Divided by Law: The Sit-Ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement”
Honorable MentionHiro N. AragakiLoyola Law School Los Angeles“’Contract’ or ‘Procedure’? Reinterpreting the Federal Arbitration Act”
Honorable MentionOzan O. VarolLewis and Clark Law School“Temporary Constitutions”


WinnerAlexandra V. HuneeusUniversity of Wisconsin“International Criminal Law by Other Means: The Quasi-Criminal Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Bodies”
Honorable MentionKatie EyerRutgers University – Camden“Constitutional Colorblindness and the Family”


Honorable MentionChimène I. KeitnerUC Hastings“The Forgotten History of Foreign Official Immunity”
Honorable MentionRachel HarmonUniv. of Virginia“The Problem of Policing”


Co-WinnerAshira Pelman OstrowHofstra University“Process Preemption in Federal Siting Regimes”
Co-WinnerMelissa MurrayBerkeley“Marriage as Punishment”


WinnerChristopher BrunerWashington and Lee“Power and Purpose in the ‘Anglo-American’ Corporation”
Honorable MentionBrian GalleFlorida State University“Foundation or Empire?  The Role of Charity in a Federal System”
Honorable MentionAndrew A. SchwartzUniversity of Colorado“A ‘Standard Clause Analysis’ of the Frustration Doctrine and the Material Adverse Change Cause”


Co-WinnerLaura CisnerosTexas Southern University“Standing Doctrine, Judicial Technique, and the Gradual Shift from Rights-Based Constitutionalism to Executive Constitutionalism”
Co-WinnerDeborah WidissBrooklyn Law School“Shadow Precedents and the Separation of Powers: Statutory Interpretation of Congressional Overrides”


WinnerAnne Joseph O’ConnellUC Berkeley“Political Cycles of Rulemaking”


WinnerRashmi Dyal-ChandNortheastern“Human Worth as Collateral”
Honorable MentionJennifer HendricksUniversity of Tennessee“Essentially a Mother”
Honorable MentionAlexandra NatapoffLoyola, Los Angeles“Underenforcement”


WinnerMark D. RosenUniversity of Chicago-Kent“Was Shelley v. Kraemer Correctly Decided? – Some New Answers”
Honorable MentionSonia K. KatyalFordham University“Semiotic Disobedience”


Co-WinnerAmanda L. TylerThe George Washington University“Continuity, Coherence, and the Canons”
Co-WinnerMark A. DrumblWashington and Lee University“Collective Violence and Individual Punishment: The Criminality of Mass Atrocity”


WinnerNorman Warren SpauldingUniversity of California, Berkeley“Constitutions as Counter-Monument: Federalism, Reconstruction and the Problem of Collective Memory”
Honorable MentionPeter Jeremy SmithThe George Washington University“The Sources of Federalism: Federalists, Anti-Federalists, and the Court’s Quest for Original Meaning”
Honorable MentionGrant M. HaydenHofstra University“Resolving the Dilemma of Minority Representation”


WinnerSuzanne B. GoldbergRutgers University, Newark“Equality Without Tiers”
Honorable MentionOrin S. KerrThe George Washington University“The Problem of Perspective in Internet Law”
Honorable MentionGuy-Uriel E. CharlesUniversity of Minnesota“Racial Identity & Political Association: Why The Racial Districting Cases Violate The Associational Rights of Voters of Color”


WinnerJonathan T. MolotThe George Washington University“Reexaming Marbury in the Administrative State: A Structural and Institutional Defense of Judicial Power over Statutory Interpretation”
Honorable MentionMadhavi SunderUniversity of California, Davis“Cultural Dissent”


WinnerSusan D. CarleAmerican University“Race, Class and Legal Ethics in the Early NAACP”
Honorable MentionJohn C. CoatesHarvard“Explaining Variation in Takeover Defenses: Failure in the Corporate Law Market”
Honorable MentionAnupam ChanderUniversity of California, Davis“Diaspora Bonds”


WinnerCaleb E. NelsonUniversity of Virginia“Preemption”
Honorable MentionAnnelise RilesNorthwestern University“The Transnational Appeal of Formalism:  The Case of Japan’s Netting Law”


WinnerAlan C. MichaelsOhio State University“Constitutional Innocence”
Honorable MentionOwen D. JonesArizona State University“Sex, Culture and the Biology of Rape”
Honorable MentionMaureen RyanUniversity of Wyoming“Fair Use and Academic Expressions:  Rhetoric, Reality and Restriction on Academic Freedom”
Honorable MentionPauline KimWashington University“Norms, Learning and the Law:  Exploring the Influences on Workers’ Legal Knowledge”


WinnerGabriel Jackson ChinWestern New England“Segregation’s Last Stronghold: Race Discrimination and the Constitutional Law of Immigration”
Honorable MentionDarryl K. BrownUniversity of Dayton“Plain Meaning, Practical Reasoning, and Culpability:  Toward a Theory of Jury Interpretation of Criminal Statutes”
Honorable MentionAmy ChuaDuke University“Markets, Democracy, and Ethnicity:  A New Paradigm for Law and Development”


WinnerBradley C. BobertzUniversity of Nebraska“The Brandeis Gambit: The Making of America’s ‘First Freedom,’ 1909-1931”
Honorable MentionDavid E. BernsteinGeorge Mason University“The Law and Economics of Post-Civil War Restrictions on Interstate Migration by African-Americans”
Honorable MentionWilliam S. BlattUniversity of Miami“Minority Discounts, Fair Market Value, and the Culture of Estate Taxation”


WinnerLisa KellyUniversity of West Virginia“Race and Place: Geographic and Transcendent Community in the Post-Shaw Era”
Honorable MentionDavison M. DouglasCollege of William and Mary“The Limits of Law in Accomplishing Racial Change: School Segregation in the Pre-Brown North”
Honorable MentionGregory S. SergienkoUniversity of Richmond“‘A Body of Sound Practical Common Sense’: Law Reform through Lay Judges and the Transformation of American Law”
Honorable MentionAnn SouthworthCase Western Reserve University“Lawyer-Client Decisionmaking in Civil Rights and Poverty Practice: An Empirical Study of Lawyers’ Norms”


WinnerBradley C. BobertzUniversity of Nebraska“Legitimizing Pollution Through Pollution Control Laws: Reflections on Scapegoating Theory”
Honorable MentionChris EisgruberNew York University“Remembering the Fourteenth Amendment”


WinnerAnita BernsteinUniversity of Chicago-Kent“Law, Culture, and Harrassment”
Honorable MentionSteven J. HeymanUniversity of Chicago-Kent“Foundations of the Duty to Rescue”


WinnerRebecca L. BrownVanderbilt University“Tradition and Insight”
Honorable MentionJamin Ben RaskinAmerican University“Legal Aliens, Local Citizens: The Historical, Constitutional and Theoretical Meanings of Alien Suffrage”


WinnerStephanie A. LevinWestern New England College“Grassroots Voices: Local Action and National Military Policy”


WinnerCynthia Grant BowmanNorthwestern University“‘We Don’t Want Anybody Anybody Sent’: The Death of Patronage Hiring in Chicago”
Honorable MentionDavid L. FaigmanUniversity of California, Hastings“Normative Constitutional Factfinding”


WinnerKenneth Dau-SchmidtUniversity of Cincinnati“An Economic Analysis of the Criminal Law as a Preference-Shaping Policy”
Honorable MentionStephen M. GriffinTulane University“Constitutionalism in the United States: From Theory to Politics”


WinnerJohn J. Donohue IIINorthwestern University“Diverting the Coasean River:  Incentive Schemes to Reduce Unemployment Spells”
Honorable MentionJudith McMorrowWashington and Lee University“Who Owns Rights: Waiving and Settling Private Rights of Action”


WinnerClark CunninghamUniversity of Michigan“A Linguistic Analysis of the Meanings of ‘Search’ in the Fourth Amendment: A Search for Common Sense”


No winner selected.


WinnerStephen L. PepperUniversity of Denver“The Lawyer’s Amoral Ethical Role: A Defense, A Problem, and Some Possibilities”