Law Stories | 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. The Proximate Cause storytelling competition invites BYU Law students to share stories of how law school is helping them to get proximate.

Meet the 2021 Finalists

Feels Like Home

by Kekai Cram


That’s a Civil Matter

by MinJae Kim


Preparation and Proximation

by Gianna Patchett

People: the Proximate Cause

by Sarah Johns


Making a Difference

by Kim Medina



*This button will be live October 29-November 1*


Proximate Cause

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 your stories of how BYU Law is impacting the way you get proximate.

The Proximate Cause storytelling 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 the first round of judging is complete, we will post the top stories on this webpage and give the public a chance to vote for their favorite. You can use any social media outlet (including email) to guide friends and family to listen to your story and vote.

After the second round of judging and the online voting are complete, $500 will be awarded for the story selected as Judges Choice and $100 will be awarded for the Audience Choice (i.e. the story that received the most votes online).



Date Description
29 Sept Submission date for round one
8 Oct Announce stories that will advance to round two
11 – 22 Oct Workshop for finalists

  • Editorial feedback
  • Answer questions about awards
  • Create social media blurb
  • Photos/headshots
25 Oct Submission date for round two
29 Oct – 1 Nov Online voting for top stories
2 Nov Story Slam!

  • Finalists tell their stories.
  • Judges’ Choice and Audience Choice are announced.


Information and Details

Submit your story here.

Competition Information & Deadlines:

  • Round one submissions due by 11:59 pm on  Sept 29.
  • Top stories from round one announced Oct 8.
  • Finalists will receive editorial feedback on their stories Oct 11 – 22.
  • Finalists submit for round two of judging Oct 25.
  • Online voting on the top stories and social media campaign Oct. 29 – Nov. 1.
  • Finalists tell their stories at a Story Slam event on Nov. 2. (Judges’ Choice and Audience Choice will also be announced.)


  • Judges’ Choice will receive $500
  • Audience Choice  will receive $100

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. 500 – 800 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 must be 500-800 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 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 your 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 is your original work and does 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 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 8 if your story will be one of the finalists in the competition.

Proximate Cause 2020 Essays


Isolation is Proximity

by MJ Townsend, 3L