Columbia Undergraduate Law Review


Open to all 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students worldwide

Type(s) of Writing

Academic research with legal analysis

Related Subject(s)

Legal Issues, Political Issues 

Expected # of References


Word Limit



June 2024


The Columbia Undergraduate Law Review (CULR) High School Essay Competition is a distinguished platform that provides high school students with the opportunity to showcase their legal acumen and writing prowess. Organized by Columbia University's Undergraduate Law Review, this competition encourages young minds to delve into legal issues, analyze complex cases, and articulate their perspectives on contemporary legal matters. The competition serves as a bridge between high school students' interest in law and the academic rigor of legal scholarship. 

Participants in the CULR High School Essay Competition are tasked with crafting essays that demonstrate a deep understanding of legal principles, thoughtful analysis of case law, and the ability to present well-reasoned arguments. The topics for the competition span various legal domains, including constitutional law, criminal law, international law, and more. This not only challenges the participants to explore diverse legal landscapes but also prepares them for the intellectual rigor they may encounter in future legal studies. 

Winners of the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review High School Essay Competition receive recognition for their exceptional legal scholarship, potentially sparking a passion for the law that may influence their academic and career trajectories. The competition, therefore, plays a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of legal scholars and professionals, fostering a commitment to the principles of justice and critical thinking among high school students. 


Essay Prompts


Prompt: Freedom of Speech and Social Media: The Battle Between Censorship and Misinformation

Freedom of speech, a principle embedded in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, is regarded as a pinnacle of American freedom. The First Amendment allows one to speak against the government without consequence and to engage in discussion with those who hold differing opinions. In the current social media age, free speech frequently occurs on online platforms that are monitored by corporations such as Meta and X. An interesting case currently on the Supreme Court docket, Murthy v. Missouri, will analyze whether and how social media platforms can limit freedom of speech to reduce misinformation – an issue that would not have reached the docket 10 years ago. 

Given the importance of the First Amendment regarding the freedom of expression and the right to access information, do you believe that removing harmful ideas is an adequate way to combat misinformation on social media platforms and the internet? Your essay should balance the principle of free speech with the value of suppressing speech that could lead to societal harm, such as Covid-19 medical misinformation or hate speech. Discuss in your response whether you think restricting speech, for any reason, should be allowed under the First Amendment.