2023 Austern Writing Competition
The H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition is intended to encourage law students interested in the areas of law affecting FDA-regulated industries: food, drugs, medical devices, biologics, dietary supplements, cosmetics, veterinary, cannabis, or tobacco and nicotine products.
Winners are awarded: $750 for first place, $500 for second, and $250 for third. Top papers will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal.
Students currently enrolled in a JD program at any of the nation’s ABA-accredited law schools and 2022–2023 academic year graduates are eligible to participate. A committee comprised of FDLI members who are practicing attorneys and law professors will judge the papers over the summer, and winners will be announced in the fall. Top papers will receive a monetary prize and will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal.
Note: We do accept submissions that have been submitted to other writing contests. However, articles must be unpublished at the time of judging in order to remain in consideration for the competition. Articles that have been accepted for forthcoming publication will still be eligible for placement in the competition but will not be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal. Published papers will be disqualified from the Austern competition.
Deadline: Portal closes 11:59 PM ET on Monday, June 12, 2023.
Interested in Student Membership?
We encourage students interested in submitting to the Austern Writing Competition to apply for our complimentary Student Membership Program. This program is available to full-time students of accredited universities and provides access to member benefits as well as student-only discounts and programs.
2022 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
Allyson Wade| Read Interview
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
First Place: “More Haste to Reduce Food Waste: Doing More Under Priority Area Four of the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative”
Ray Wanderman Lefco | Read Interview
Harvard Law School
Second Place: “It’s the Hard-Knock Life for Orphan Devices: A History of the FDA’s Humanitarian Device Exemption Program”
Christina Fuleihan | Read Interview
Boston University School of Law
Third Place: “Shattering the Mirage: The FDA’s Early COVID-19 Pandemic Response Demonstrates a Need for Reform to Restore Agency Credibility”
2021 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
- First Place: Patently Ethical: Using Compulsory Patent Licensing to Increase Access to Medicines, Lauren Van Tress, Emory Law School
- Second Place: Unnecessary and Burdensome: A Call for the FDA to Remove the Mifepristone REMS, Jenny Samuels, Harvard Law School
- Third Place: What’s in a Flavor? A Proposal to Address Consumer Confusion Surrounding Natural Flavoring, Nena Gallegos, University of Chicago Law School
2020 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
- First Place: Clinical Trial Data Reporting: Breaking Free of a Prisoner’s Dilemma, Darpan Patel, University of North Carolina School of Law
- Second Place: Interpreting the “Same Level of Public Health Protection” in Produce Safety Rule Variances, Lauren Wustenberg, Vermont Law School
- Third Place: Tobacco Reborn: The Rise of E-Cigarettes and Regulatory Approaches, Daniel Aaron, Harvard Law School
2019 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
- First Place: A Penny for Your Clots? Examining Tax Incentives for Whole Blood Donation under FDA Guidelines, Kees Thompson, Harvard Law School
- Second Place: Make Smoking Gross Again: Chevron, Deference, and Regulating America’s Favorite Addictive Chemical, Heather Pearson, University of Notre Dame Law School
- Third Place: Formal Dispute Resolution and the Food and Drug Administration, Marlan Golden, Harvard Law School
2018 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
- First Place: Left to Their Own Devices: How the Dangers of Power Morcellators Went Undetected by FDA For Two Decades, Jenya Godina, Harvard Law School
- Second Place: Would Meat By Any Other Means Taste As Sweet, Taylor Mayhall, University of Minnesota Law School
- Third Place: The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Healthcare’s Insatiable Disease, Tyler Marquez, California Western School of Law
2017 Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition:
- First Place: Is the Incorporation of the United States Pharmacopeia into the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act an Unconstitutional Delegation of Legislative Power?, Anne Stark, Harvard Law School
- Second Place: Changing Our Minds: Reforming the FDA Medical Device Reclassification Process, Spenser F. Powell, The University of Tennessee College of Law
- Third Place: Toward a Regulatory Framework for Edible Marijuana: Best Practices from an Analysis of State-Level Retail Marijuana Markets, 2014 – 2016, Jake Glicker, UCLA School of Law
About H. Thomas Austern
Thomas Austern, a practitioner of food and drug law with Covington & Burling for more than 50 years, was known in the field as the “Dean of the Food and Drug Bar.” He played a critical role in the drafting and negotiation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act among many other contributions to the field. Austern was a strong supporter of FDLI, serving on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Food Drug Cosmetic Law Journal from its inception until his death in 1984.