Smith-Babcock-Williams Writing Competition

Deadline: June 4, 2018

The Planning and Law Division is pleased to announce its 35th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition.

The winning entry in the competition will be awarded a prize of $2,000 and will be submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer, the law journal of the American Bar Association's Section of State & Local Government Law. The Second Place paper will receive a prize of $400, and one Honorable Mention prize of $100 will also be awarded.

Learn more and apply


Previous Winners

2011–2016

2016

First Prize

"Withholding Municipal Services to Facilitate Coastal Retreat: Legal Risks and Possibilities"
Matthew Scarano, Columbia Law School (JD 2017)

Second Prize

"Preservation and Progress: An Argument in Favor of Transferable Development Rights"
Todd Michael Hirsch, Boston University School of Law with a JD and an LLM in taxation (JD 2017)

Honorable Mention

"The Benefits and Implications of Developing Tiny Home Communities"
Monique M. Trammell, Gonzaga University School of Law (JD 2017)

2015

First Prize

"Land Use Planning - A Pragmatic Proposition: Regionally Planned Coastal TDRs in Light of Rising Seas"
Daniel DePasquale, Western New England University School of Law (JD 2016)

Second Prize

"Location, Location, Mis-Location: How Local Land-Use Restrictions are Dulling Halfway Housing's Criminal Rehabilitation Potential"
Matthew J. McGowan, Texas A&M University School of Law (JD 2015)

Honorable Mention

"From the Packard Plant to the Pea Patch: Legal Dimensions of the Revitalization of Detroit Through Urban Agriculture"
Roni A. Elias, Florida A&M University College of Law (JD 2015)

2014

After careful consideration, the Planning and Law Division did not award a prize for this year's Smith Babcock Williams Writing Competition. PLD received fewer entries this year after advertising the competition in the same way it had for many years. While grateful to those students who submitted entries, unfortunately none of these entries rose to the quality of past competition winners, and none meritited a financial prize or publication in the Urban Lawyer.

2013

First Prize

"Coastal TDRs and Takings in a Changing Climate"
Nicholas R. Williams, New York University School of Law (JD 2013)

Second Prize

"A Hen in the Parlor: Municipal Control and Enforcement of Residential Chicken Coops"
Chris Erchull Western New England University School of Law (JD 2014)

Third Prize

"Transboundary Deposition of Naturally Occurring Asbestos from the United States into Canada: A Case Study and Analysis of Possible Legal Responses"
Douglas Naftz, University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law (JD 2014)

2012

First Prize

"Buoying Environmental Burdens in Bankruptcy Floodwaters"
Sarah Schenck,University of Minnesota Law School (JD 2014)

Second Prize

"Implementing Form-Based Zoning to Overcome Exclusionary Zoning and Local Opposition to Affordable Housing"
David A. Lewis, Georgetown University Law Center (JD 2012)

Third Prize

"Valid Regulation of Land-Use or an Out-and-Out Plan of Extortion? Commentary on St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist. V. Koontz"
Catherine Hall, University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law (JD 2013).

Honorable Mention

"The Public Trust Doctrine And Sea Level Rise In California: Using The Public Trust to Prohibit Coastal Armoring"
Chloe Angelis,University of California Hastings, College of the Law (JD 2013)

2011

First Prize

"Reclaiming the Authentic Future: The Role of Redevelopment in Unincorporated California"
Tony LoPresti, University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) (JD 2012)

Second Prize

"We're Too Good for Chain Restaurants: How Towns with Upscale Community Character Can Survive Dormant Commerce Clause Challenges to Formula Restaurant Bans"
Kevin Hilgers, University of Baltimore School of Law (JD 2012)

Honorable Mentions

"Weak Foundations: Stop the Beach Renourishment and Justice Scalia's Inconsistent Takings Jurisprudence"
Stuart L. Pratt, University of North Carolina School of Law (JD 2011)

"Sustainable Procurement is Smart Procurement: A Primer for Local Governments to Successfully Implement Sustainable Procurement Policies,"
Zachary Kobrin, Florida State University College of Law (JD 2011)

2003–2010

2010

First Prize

"The Constitutionality of Community Benefits Agreements: Addressing the Exactions Problem,"
Michael L. Nadler, New York University School of Law (JD 2011)

Second Prize

"Smokey Bear in Your Backyard: Wildfires and Federal Land Use Planning on Private Property"
Joshua R. Cepluch, Vanderbilt University Law School (JD 2011)

Honorable Mentions

"Symbolic Gestures or Our Saving Grace: The Relevance of Compensatory Mitigation for Florida's Wetlands in the Climate Change Era"
Bonnie A. Malloy, Florida State University College of Law (JD 2010)

"Getting an 'Act of Congress' — De Facto Federalization of the ACF River Basin"
Kristy Sweat, Florida State University College of Law (JD 2010)

2008

First Prize

"Restitution, Eminent Domain, and Economic Development: Moving to a Gains-Based Conception of the Takings Clause"
Matthew Cory Williams, New York University Law School (JD 2008)

Second Prize

"Extinguishing Non-Conformities: Amortization and the Constitutional Methodology for Terminating Non-Conforming Uses"
Joseph Michaels, University of Iowa College of Law (JD 2008)

Honorable Mentions

"An Analysis of Eminent Domain Reacquisition Statutes and Recommendations for Effective Statute Modification and Drafting"
Jennifer L. Verleger, Michigan State University College of Law (JD 2008)

"Global Warming and the Future of the California Environmental Quality Act: Suggestions for Lead Agencies and Policymakers"
Winston Stromberg, Loyola Law School Los Angeles (JD 2008)

2007

First Prize

"Constructing the Special Theater Subdistrict: Culture, Politics, and Economics in the Creation of Transferable Development Rights"
Michael Kruse, New York University School of Law (JD 2007)

Second Prize

"Broadened Notions of Historic Preservation and the Role of Neighborhood Conservation Districts"
Adam Lovelady, University of Virginia School of Law (JD 2008)

Honorable Mention

"Powerful Tool or Insurmountable Obstacle: The Relationship Between Eminent Domain and the Affordable Housing Crisis"
Emily Stubbs, J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University (JD 2008)

"Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation Easement Donations: A Review of New Reforms Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006"
Melaina Jobs, University of Connecticut School of Law (JD 2008)

2006

First Prize

"Productive Preservation and the Reinvention of Industrial America"
Jonathan H. Flynn, Georgetown University Law Center

Second Prize

"Balancing Community Needs and Individual Property Rights Post-Kelo: A State Legislature's Guide to Drafting Urban Planning-Based Statutes"
Rachel D. Jaffe, Temple University Beasley School of Law (JD 2006)

Honorable Mentions

"Unplanned Change, Challenging Tradition in Land Use Controls: The Case of New Haven's Planned Development District"
Shruti Ravikumar, Yale Law School

"The Legalities of Stream Interventions: Accretive Changes to New York State's Riparian Doctrine Ahead?"
Danielle Sibener Pensley, Cornell Law School

2005

First Prize

"Urban Height Restrictions Without Law: A Philadelphia Story"
Benjamin M. Gerber, Harvard Law School

Honorable Mention

"Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions ... on Free Speech? First Amendment Rights in Common-Interest Communities"
Adrienne Iwamoto Suarez, William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii

"Subordinate or Fundamental Rights in Property? Special Benefits and Givings Recapture in Determining Just Compensation"
Larissa N. Schwartz, William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii

2004

First Prize

"Cutting Through the Clause: The Land Use Planning Impacts of Moving 'Partial Takings' from Political Theory to Legal Reality"
George Homsy, Cornell University, Department of City & Regional Planning

Honorable Mention

"Planning for Biodiversity Protection: Policy Lessons from Regional Planning for Affordable Housing"
Rebecca C. Retzlaff, Urban Planning and Policy Program, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Narrowing the Public Use Doctrine: State Courts Take Back the Takings Clause"
Malia Emerson Schreck, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa

2003

First Prize

"Preservation of Historic Properties' Environs: American & French Approaches"
Francois Quintard-Morenas, Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M. (2003)

Honorable Mention

"Inner-Ring Suburbs and 'Economic Blight': Should Economic Rationales Alone be Enough to Justify Use of Eminent Domain as a Means of Urban Redevelopment?"
Michael Graham, Cleveland State University, JD/MUPDD (2004)

"Effective Land Use Policy and Legislation in China: The Key to the Future of Urban Development of the World's Most Populous Nation"
Ezekiel A. Kaufman, Washington University School of Law, JD (2003)