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NAWL Membership Benefits for Law Students

By becoming a Member of NAWL, you unite with lawyers throughout the United States that strive to form a strong coalition with and advocate for women in the legal profession. We invite you to join others who, like you, are proud to be engaged in the practice of law and wish to work together to support the social, political, and professional empowerment of women in the law. As a Law Student or First-Year Associate, NAWL is happy to offer a complimentary membership.

Member benefits include:

Community and Coalition

Being a member of NAWL gives you, at an early stage in your career, access to career development, networking, and mentoring opportunities with women lawyers at the top of their field. 

Opportunities to Build a National Network

We host several yearly conferences designed to bring women together and provide the skills and resources needed for long-term career advancement and satisfaction, including signature events like our Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon, Mid-Year Meeting & Awards Luncheon, and General Counsel Institute.

Leadership Development

Through NAWL committees, affiliations, and strategic partnerships. There are ample opportunities for members to advance their careers, develop and exercise leadership skills, and build relationships with other women leaders in the legal field.


via NAWL's Amicus Committee, which reviews requests for participation as amicus curiae in cases of interest to NAWL members. A sampling of recent issues includes enforcement of Title IX, employment discrimination, women's health, and domestic violence issues.

Community Outreach

through Nights of Giving. Throughout each year NAWL hosts a series of philanthropic networking events across the country to support organizations whose mission is to empower women and children.

Continued Learning

with the Women Lawyers Journal. This national publication provides a forum for the exchange of information and presentation of articles about women in the law and society.

Selma Moidel Smith Writing Competition

In 1943, Selma Moidel Smith was admitted to the California Bar and that same year joined the National Association of Women Lawyers. Since 1899, the mission of the National Association of Women Lawyers has been to provide leadership, a collective voice, and essential resources to advance women in the legal profession and advocate for the equality of women under the law. To serve NAWL's mission, Selma Moidel Smith chaired or served on more than 20 different committees. As a testament to her service, in 1999, Selma was honored with NAWL's Lifetime of Service Award and in 2005, we created the Annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Contest to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law.

Essays will be accepted from students enrolled at an ABA-accredited law school during the 2019-2020 school year. The essays must be the law student author’s own work and must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. Papers written by students for coursework or independent study during the summer, fall, or spring semesters are eligible for submission. Notwithstanding the foregoing, students may incorporate professorial feedback as part of a course requirement or supervised writing project.

The Rules for the Competition are as follows:


Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning the significance of 2020 as the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Topics can include but are not limited to, examining the Women’s Suffrage Movement, its historical legacy and impact as it relates to race, gender roles, equal pay, equal education/employment, the #MeToo Movement, or the Equal Rights Amendment.


Essays must be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. All margins must be one inch. Entries must not exceed fifteen (15) pages of text, excluding notes, with footnotes placed as endnotes. Citation style should conform to The Bluebook – A Uniform System of Citation. Essays longer than 15 pages of text, excluding notes, or that are not in the required format will not be read.


NAWL Women Lawyers Journal Editorial Board Members will judge the competition. Essays will be judged based upon content, exhaustiveness of research, originality, writing style, and timeliness.


Questions regarding this competition should be addressed to the Administrative Coordinator, Isabell Retamoza at

Submission and Deadline

Entries must be received by May 1, 2020. Entries received after the deadline will not be considered. Entries must provide a cover letter providing the author’s name, title of the essay, school affiliation, email address, phone number, and permanent mailing address. Entries must be submitted in the following format: email an electronic version (in Microsoft Word) to


The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500. NAWL will also publish the winning essay in the Women Lawyers Journal. The most recent winning paper was “Go All Over the Earth and Behold: What Right to Drive Means for Women’s Freedom of Movement and Saudi Arabia’s Guardianship System” written by Phoebe Dantoin, Boston University School of Law. Please view the paper at

Outstanding Law Student Award

The National Association of Women Lawyers ("NAWL") is now accepting nominations for the 2020 "NAWL Outstanding Law Student" Award from all ABA-accredited law schools.

Each year, we ask the faculty to identify a third-year law student who meets the below selection criteria. Upon approval by NAWL, the nominated student will be given a certificate of recognition and acknowledged in an issue of the Women Lawyers Journal.

We invite you to select one student nominee from your current graduating class who best exemplifies the following characteristics:

  • Contributes to the advancement of women in society
  • Promotes issues and concerns of women in the legal profession
  • Exhibits motivation, tenacity, and enthusiasm
  • Demonstrates high academic achievement
  • Earns your respect and that of your colleagues

Your nomination should include a brief letter outlining why the student merits selection and a copy of the student's resume, including the nominee's permanent mailing address. Nominations missing one or more of these components may not be considered.

The Awardee will be recognized in the Women Lawyers Journal and will receive complimentary registration to our Conferences for their graduating year. 

Nominations must be received no later than May 1, 2020. Nominations received after that date will not be entitled to the benefits associated with this award. Only one student per law school may be nominated. Multiple submissions will result in NAWL's arbitrary selection of one.

Please send your 2020 Outstanding Law Student selection by email to Isabell Retamoza,