Law Stories | LawStories on the Mainstage

LawStories on the Mainstage

BYU LawStories on the Mainstage is a national storytelling event that takes place each year at BYU Law in Provo, Utah. It is an opportunity for law students across the country to meld law, personal experience, and the art of storytelling in the written and oral forms. Interested students are invited to write a true story about their life and the law. Up to ten storytellers are selected to perform at a live event.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 Mainstage event was held virtually.

What You Receive


Selected storytellers from around the nation receive:

• A $500 award

• A half-day storytelling seminar by nationally-recognized storyteller Sam Payne, host of “The Apple Seed” on BYUradio, and Suzanne Christensen, speech and acting coach and director of The Acting Company

• A chance to present their stories to a live audience at BYU LawStories on the Mainstage

*See the Participation Guidelines for more details.

2021 LawStories on the Mainstage
View LawStories on the Mainstage 2021: Live Event



Participation Guidelines

Story Requirements


• Titled
• 700-900 words
• Double-spaced
• Non-fiction
• Tied in some way to your life and the law
• Original, unpublished work
• Content must not be (a) defamatory, threatening, or an invasion of a right of privacy of another person; (b) bigoted, hateful, racially or otherwise offensive; (c) violent, vulgar, obscene, pornographic or otherwise sexually explicit.



Judging Criteria

The narrative arc must show evidence of growth, change, or a perceptual shift. You can focus on one main idea or weave several experiences together into a thematic whole. Remember that your experience does not need to be dramatic to be meaningful: significant events and epiphanies can occur in everyday experiences.

The story should connect with the reader and listener and show more than tell. Being specific and descriptive will help and lend your story authenticity and interest. The story should have a meaningful theme and be mechanically sound. Outside editing is encouraged.

Submission Guidelines

Your story should be submitted as a Word document or PDF via this form by 11:59 pm MST on February 26, 2021.

Rules and Terms


  1. Stories must be submitted by a current law student.
  2. Stories must be submitted by the deadline.
  3. Stories should be titled.
  4. Stories should be 700-900 words; stories not meeting the word requirement will be disqualified. We suggest pointed, conscious, and careful editing to encompass your main message. BYU Law staff may provide editorial guidance to the selected storytellers in preparation for the Mainstage event.
  5. Stories should be tied in some way to your life and the law.
  6. Your story must be an original, unpublished work.

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 your story and personal image as part of the BYU Legal Storytelling Project 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 risks 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 law student?

  • Only law students may submit a story. 

How many stories may I submit for consideration? 

  • You may only submit one story.

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.

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

Stories will be judged by a panel of expert storytellers and writers (without author names attached to the pieces) based on the following criteria: 

  • Narrative arc shows evidence of growth, change, or perceptual shift
  • Shows more than tells
  • Connects with the reader and listener
  • Has a meaningful theme
  • Mechanically sound: outside editing is encouraged.