State Bar Student Essay Contest

The State Bar of New Mexico invites all New Mexico high school juniors and seniors to participate in the annual State Bar Student Essay Contest. The State Bar has administered the contest since 1997. Written each year by a lawyer, the topic deals with a relevant legal issue targeted to students. Essays, judged by a panel of lawyers, judges, State Bar staff, and educators, will be evaluated according to content, originality, writing skills, and a public school essay scoring rubric. A panel of sitting judges will evaluate the finalist essays, picking three winners.

2017 Topic: Due Process Dilemma: To Camp or Not To Camp?
Students discussed the constitutional guarantee of due process of law, found in the Fifth and Fourteen Amendments. The essay contest question sparked a debate regarding the legality of mandatory camps for high school drop outs that intend to educate youth and keep them out of trouble. For the full essay prompt.

Congratulations to the 2017 Winners!

Cash prizes are provided by the Law Firm of Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, PA

View the winning essays.

First Place ($1,000 Prize)

Gina Sanchez
East Mountain High School

Sandia Park, N.M.

Teacher/Coach: Trey Smith
($500 Teacher Prize) 

Second Place ($750 Prize)

Olivia Taylor
Los Alamos High School

Los Alamos, N.M.

Margo Batha 

 Third Place ($500 Prize)

Maya Handly
Centennial High School

Las Cruces, N.M.

Joel Hutchinson 


• Isabel Crist | Centennial High School, Las Cruces, N.M.
• Liliana Salas | Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, Albuquerque, N.M.
• Kendra Espiritu | Centennial High School, Las Cruces, N.M.
• Jordyn Gallegos | Centennial High School, Las Cruces, N.M.
• Nichole Landrum | Centennial High School, Las Cruces, N.M.
• Joseph Estrada | McCurdy Charter School, Santa Cruz, N.M.
• Aslin Motter McCombs | Centennial High School, Las Cruces, N.M.

For more information, contact Evann Kleinschmidt at 505-797-6087 or

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