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Nilita Vientós Gastón Legal Writing Competition

The Eighty-Second Volume of the University of Puerto Rico Law Review cordially invites you to participate in its annual NILITA VIENTÓS GASTÓN LEGAL WRITING COMPETITION
Nilita Vientós Gastón was born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico in 1903. She was an educator, writer, journalist and the first woman to work for the Department of Justice of Puerto Rico. She completed her academic studies at the University of Puerto Rico, institution from which she obtained her Law degree in 1926. In 1945, the Association of Women Alumni of the University of Puerto Rico sponsored her to become the founder and director of the literary magazine Asomante. Subsequently, she received a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation to study British Literature at Kenyon College in Ohio. Upon her return, Nilita Vientós Gastón became a Literature professor at the University of Puerto Rico. During that time, she was also hired as Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, thus becoming the first woman to serve in that position. During her thirty years in the Department of Justice, she advocated for the use of Spanish in the judicial procedures conducted in state courts. In 1965, the emblematic decision of Pueblo v. Tribunal Superior1 materialized her pleadings.


Pueblo v. Tribunal Superior, 92 DPR 596 (1965).


Nilita died in 1989 but her legacy continues impacting jurists and students throughout the island and abroad. By means of her will, she asked a group of acquaintances to turn her residence into a library and gathering place for the general public. To honor her legacy, a foundation was established in 1996 to preserve and display the publications and documents related to her career. The Puerto Rico Bar Association annually presents the Nilita Vientós Gastón medal to a person whose principles exemplify those of Nilita. The University of Puerto Rico Law Review also organizes an annual legal essay-writing competition as homage to her contributions in the field of Law.

The topic for this year’s legal writing competition is:

The economic crisis has had a profound impact on different socioeconomic factions throughout the globe. In some countries, the judicial branch has compelled legislatures to take action and promote legal reforms in order to alleviate the effects of the crisis. In other countries, legislative measures have become a vehicle through which citizens can have access to courts in search for solutions, alternatives and consensus. An unprecedented number of mortgage foreclosures, embargoes, bankruptcies and evictions impel the judicial establishment to reformulate the application of judicial and legislative norms in search for alternatives that take into account the heap of social and economic effects of the crisis. The article must evaluate the role of Law facing this world crisis, which, unfortunately, seems to proliferate and grow markedly every day. In order to address this topic, the article must encompass one or more of the following subtopics: I. The role of the courts in facing consumers’ insolvency, as reflected by the growing number of bankruptcies, embargoes, evictions and mortgage foreclosures. II. The role of the legislatures in the formulation and reformulation of measures that will mitigate the impact of the economic crisis. III. The role of the executive branch in addressing the fiscal crisis and its impact on citizens. IV. Judicial activism as a vehicle to attenuate the effects of the economic crisis for the weakest socioeconomic sectors.


A panel of three judges, all whom possess extensive knowledge on the topic, will be responsible for the evaluation of submissions. A $500.00 (USD) cash prize will be awarded to the first place; $100.00 for the second place and $75.00 for the third place. Additionally, those submissions with the highest evaluations by the panel of judges will be considered for publication on the Eighty-Second Volume of the University of Puerto Rico Law Review. SUBSTANTIVE CRITERIA  Topic- The topic selected must be one of those outlined in this call for submissions and must be developed with strict adherence to legal precepts and principles. Interest in topic – Originality and innovation in approaching the topic, as well as a superior grasp of the subtopic selected, will be considered during the evaluation process. The author must consider its audience and attempt to capture and retain its attention. Main thesis- The main thesis of the article must be clearly stated and developed. Its exposition and discussion must be adequate, dynamic and distinguished by a line of reasoning and argumentative clarity. Quality of the research and sources consulted – Arguments and findings must be supported by appropriate sources and citations must be in accordance to the text of the article.

TECHNICAL CRITERIA   Quality of writing and style- Clarity, coherence and fluency will be of utmost importance in the evaluation of submissions. Organization- The format of the article (introduction, development and conclusion) as well as sentence and paragraph length will be taken into account when evaluating the submission. Legibility and clarity- The exposition of ideas and arguments must be cohesive and uninterrupted. Precision and concision- Use of language and vocabulary must be correct and the word usage must be punctual and concise. Writers must avoid being redundant in the exposition of arguments and ideas.


Grammar and punctuation – Correct use of language is of vital importance for the evaluation process.

FORMAT      Articles written in either Spanish or English will be accepted. The article must not exceed thirty (30) pages and must have a minimum of fifteen (15). Letter sized paper must be used (8.5” x 11”). The font used must be Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced and with margins of de 1.25” on both right and left sides. Citation must conform to THE BLUEBOOK: A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION (19TH ED. 2010). The article must include footnotes detailing the sources used for reference purposes.

ELIGIBILITY AND SUBMISSION OF THE ARTICLE The articles submitted for the Legal Writing Competition must be unpublished. Even though submissions with more than one author are permitted, all authors who submit articles must be students. Only one submission per student will be allowed. Articles submitted for the competition will not be returned. Submissions must be delivered via email. Participants must submit their articles on both PDF and WORD formats. In order to guarantee objectivity and fairness in the evaluation process, participants must submit the PDF formatted article using a pseudonym. This version will be the one evaluated by the judges, while the WORD formatted version will be used by the Law Review exclusively for editing purposes prior to publication. This version must include the following information:        Name University and country of origin Postal and residential address Telephone number Email address Pseudonym used in the PDF formatted submission Article’s title Submissions must be sent to the email address of the University of Puerto Rico Law Review: The subject of the email should be “Legal Writing Competition.”


DEADLINE FOR SUMBISSIONS IS MARCH 5TH, 2013. Submissions that do not meet the criteria outlined above will not be considered for evaluation. For additional information, please refer all questions to Juan A. León González, Associate Director, University of Puerto Rico Law Review: Telephone: (787) 999-9665 Email: Editorial Board of Volume LXXXII University of Puerto Rico Law Review