Law Stories | Proximate Cause

Proximate Cause

Inspiring Leadership is about working together to change the world for good. Getting proximate with real problems and real people is part of that process. Why did you choose law school? What is your cause? How is BYU Law School helping you get proximate to that cause? To individuals? To a community? We want to hear how BYU Law is impacting the way you’ve been able to get proximate.

The BYU Legal Storytelling Project Proximate Cause competition is a chance for you to receive up to $500 for writing about your experiences as a BYU Law student.

Submit your stories here. After round one judging is complete, we will post the top six stories on this webpage for judging.

Votes will be counted based on votes from our voting website. You can use any social media outlet (including email) to guide friends and family to read your story and vote.



Date Description
14 Oct Submission date for round one
17 Oct Announce 6 stories that will advance to round two
18 -22 Oct Workshop for 6 story authors

  • Tips to get points (how to push on social media)
  • Questions about awards
  • Create social media blurb
  • Photos/headshots
  • Boilerplate
22 Oct Submission date for round two
24 – 26 Oct Voting on top 6 stories
30 Oct Select writers read stories at a Law & Social Change Event
Judges’ Choice and Audience Choice announced


Information and Details

Submit your story here.

Competition Information & Deadlines:

  • Round one submissions due Oct 14 at midnight.
  • Top six stories from round one announced Oct 17.
  • Top six story authors will refine and be coached on their stories Oct 18 – 22.
  • Top six story authors submit for round two Oct 22.
  • Voting on the top six stories through social media Oct 24-26.
  • Select writers will read their pieces and the winners of Judges’ Choice and Audience Choice will be announced at a BYU Law & Social Change event on Oct 30


  • Judges’ Choice will receive $500
  • Audience Choice  will receive $500

Judging Criteria

Judging will be based on the following five criteria for the first round and for the Judges’ Choice:

    1. Include a central theme that permeates the entire story from beginning to end.
    2. Make sure that each sentence logically links and makes sense with the last sentence. When in doubt, ask a friend.
    3. Mechanically sound: Outside editing is encouraged.
    1. Help us see what you have experienced through illustrative words and vivid visuals.
    1. Keep it short, cover what you need to. While beautiful words are essential to story telling, multiplying words unnecessarily will take away from the power of your story.
    2. 300 – 500 word limit.
    1. A good story evokes emotion. Let us see your passion for BYU Law.
    1. What impact has BYU Law had on your life? What impact have you had on others as a result of your participation with BYU Law?

Rules and Terms


  1. Stories must be submitted by a current BYU Law student.
  2. Your story must highlight something specific to BYU Law, either a class, initiative, program, or internship. For further details, contact the BYU Legal Storytelling Project at
  3. Stories should be 300-500 words; stories not meeting the word requirement will be disqualified. We suggest pointed, conscious, and careful editing to encompass your main message.
  4. If you are selected as one of the top six submissions, you must share your story on social media according to instructions at the authors workshop. There will not be the possibility of anonymous authorship.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting your story, you give BYU Law School the rights to edit and publish your story on their website and social media. In addition, BYU Law School may use you story and personal image as part of the Legal Storytelling Project and Law & Social Change Initiative and BYU Law School promotional efforts.

You acknowledge that your story must be your original work and must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity, or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. If the story contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, you shall be responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the story, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit use of the story by BYU Law School. BYU Law School may, in its sole discretion, disqualify story submissions for privacy or intellectual property infringements. BYU Law School reserves the right to use or not use submissions.

You warrant that you have not entered into any agreement which will adversely affect BYU Law School’s rights under this agreement, and that BYU Law School’s use of the story will not infringe upon or otherwise violate anyone else’s rights, and that the author shall have no obligations of any kind to any other person(s) except as stated herein. You further agree to abide by all appropriate federal, state and local laws and regulations in writing the story.

You assume all risk of participation and acknowledge and agree that neither BYU nor the BYU Law School shall be liable for any damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind or nature resulting from participation in this story competition.   

BYU Law School reserves the right to interpret these official rules and administer the competition as appropriate and its decisions are final. This agreement will supersede any and all other agreements, oral or written, or any other understanding.


What if I am not a BYU Law student?

  • Only BYU Law students may submit a story. Future Proximate Cause Competitions may give BYU Law alumni an opportunity to submit a story, but only current BYU Law student stories will be accepted this semester.

How many stories may I submit for consideration? 

  • You may only submit one story.

What if I don’t have a specific idea for a story? 

  • We suggest brainstorming what experiences you have had in the past that have led you to find your cause and get proximate to it. Which BYU Law classes, initiatives, programs, and internships have been most influential on your present and future?

What if I want advice for the quality, etc., of my story?

  • You may use outside editors on your story. The work needs to be yours, but revising is often best handled by outside readers.

Why do finalists have to go through a workshop?

  • Proximate Cause will help other BYU Law students better understand the mission of BYU Law School. As such, we hope the stories we finally publish are authentic to who you are but also refined by experienced editors to make it the best it can be. Because finalists will be posted on social media the stories submitted in round one will not be ready for publication in the social media format. The workshop will help prepare stories for that venue. When the six  finalists are announced, we will set the day and time for the workshop.

How will my story be judged and how will finalists be chosen?

Stories will be judged based on the specific criteria on the home page:

  • Throughline
  • Show don’t tell
  • Swim trunk principle
  • Enthusiasm
  • Impact

Tag on social media with #ProximateCause #BYULaw #GettingProximate

You will be notified by October 17 if your story will be one of the six finalists in the competition.