Law Day Essay Contest 2016-2017

The SC Bar Senior Lawyers Division congratulates the following statewide winners of its 2017 Law Day Essay Contest:

  • LaVang Bui, overall winning essay (James F. Byrnes High School)
  • Anna McBee, 9th grade winning essay (Oakbrook Preparatory School)
  • John Richey, 10th grade winning essay (Chesnee High School)
  • Margaret Snyder, 11th grade winning essay (Academic Magnet High School)
  • Steven Greer, 12th grade winning essay (James F. Byrnes High School)

The 2017 theme was The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy. Students from grades 9 to 12 were asked to write a 1,000 word essay about why the 14th Amendment is important to America’s aspirational ideal that all citizens are entitle to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The overall winning essay, written by LaVang Bui, is titled “Lactating Legally” and can be found on the Bar's website.

“This year’s winning essay presents a creative and insightful examination of the 14th Amendment,” said Judge Mark Hayes, the coordinator of the contest. “Her insight is encouraging for the future of the American aspirational ideal of equality under the law of all.”

Judge Mark Hayes will present Bui with a $1,000 award on Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, in conjunction with the SC Bar Convention.

“The Senior Lawyers Division of the Bar participates in the rebirth of this great nation’s democratic values with its continued sponsorship of the annual Law Day Essay contest,” said Judge Hayes.

This is the seventh year the SC Bar Senior Lawyers Division has sponsored the statewide Law Day Essay Contest. All essays, local and grade winning, were regarded to determine statewide winners. The Senior Lawyers Division thanks Judge Hayes for the time and effort he dedicates to coordinating the contest each year.

Established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day celebrates the American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law.  Every year, Law Day provides legal professionals and others with opportunities to help students and the public understand how the law protects our freedoms.


The Senior Lawyers Division sponsors an exciting statewide Law Day Essay Contest and encourages all local Bars to participate!

For the past several years the Spartanburg County Bar Association, under the leadership of Judge Mark Hayes, has sponsored an essay contest on constitutional issues. Approximately 400 students in grades 9-12 in the public schools of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties have participated. Teachers in each school choose the best student essays from each grade. The winning essays were then submitted to the Spartanburg County Bar Association, which, in turn, chose the best essay from each grade and the best overall essay.    

On Law Day the county bar invited the winning students, their teachers, parents and friends to the courthouse, where all of the students were publically honored and each grade winner presented a $100 check and the overall winner a $500 check. In addition, each student was given a plaque and a medal. The event generates media attention and excitement among the participants. More importantly, the students are involved in the study of the rule of law, our judicial system and the U.S. Constitution.

For the statewide contest, the Senior Lawyers Division will receive submissions from each participating county or group of counties. From these essays, a winner will be chosen for each grade, as well as an overall winner. The winning students will be recognized and presented with a $500 check and the overall winner with a $1,000 check. Appropriate plaques and medals will also be presented. Homeschooled students are also encouraged to participate.

This is a marvelous opportunity for lawyers to interact with the community and, more importantly, to stimulate the interest of our youth in our judicial system and the rule of law. Links to the Local and State 2017 Law Day Essay Contest Packets are below. The theme is The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy. If you are interest in participating in this project, please contact Judge Mark Hayes at (864) 562-4144 or

2018 Law Day Essay Packet 2016 Winning Essay 2017 Winning Essay


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