On March 8th, I saw a Facebook post under “Michael Connelly Books” announcing that Mr. Connelly was serving as one of the judges for the Journal of Legal Education’s first legal fiction contest. The Journal is the publication of the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. It gave a link to the JLE’s rules for the competition. While it was tailored to legal professionals, there was no prohibition against anyone else entering the contest. The top ten stories would be published in the Journal’s first fiction edition in the spring of 2013, while ten runners-up would have their stories published on the JLE’s website (along with the top ten). The only prize was publication credit, with the authors retaining the rights to their work.
The deadline for entries was March 15th, one week away. I found my inspiration in a common thread for tv shows and movies that drove me crazy: a defendant in a trial gets off easy with the help of his lawyer, but when a victim in the crime seeks revenge, they have the book of law thrown at them. (And those law books are heavy!) So I went to work, writing the story and then editing it. I managed to finish and get it sent in just within the deadline.
Shortly afterward I got an email from a dean at the school, wondering who I was and how I’d learned about the contest. I explained about seeing the information on Facebook and told a little about my writing experience.
Yesterday, I received another email to tell me that my story had been chosen as one of the runners-up. Considering the short time I had to work on it and that I was going up against lawyers, judges and other professionals, I was pleased to be chosen for that distinction. The story will be published in February; I’ll put a link up at that time. I’m rather proud that, once that happens, I can say that I’ve been published by the Journal of Legal Education.