AIJA Best International Future Lawyers Award • 2020
AIJA Best International Future Lawyers Award

The winner 2020

Winner 2020 - Isabel Lightbody

Isabel Lightbody’s essay presents a unique diversity and inclusion programme that seeks to address the various challenges that companies face when implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In response to these challenges, her essay proposes a comprehensive set of interconnected diversity and inclusion policies, the core element of which is a diversity and inclusion board.

Read here the essay

Winner of previous editions

2019 - “Taking a Stand: Achieving Climate Change Action through Climate Litigation”, Xuejun Zhao - Read here the essay

2018 - “Lunar Law - Is it mere Colony Law with Cosmic Application?”, Christopher Sawyer - Read here the essay

2017 - “Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the Digital Society changes?”, Lorraine Chimbga - Read here the essay

2016 - “Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area”, Sharefah Almuhana - Read here the essay


We are thrilled to invite law students and recent law graduates to participate in the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition. This year the competition is focused on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

The aim of the competition is to develop law students and graduates understanding of diversity and how it contributes to a more open, creative and innovative world.

The application should be based on the following; "You have been tasked with assisting an international corporation in making their business and corporate culture reflect the principles of diversity and inclusion. You need to write an essay about how your client/employer can best achieve this goal and set itself apart from the usual corporate approach. Introduce the main challenges to diversity and inclusion, and how your client can overcome these challenges, as well as the costs and benefits. You have the freedom to address several dimensions of diversity (e.g. gender, socio-economic, cultural, racial, ethnic, disability, mental health) or focus on one only, as well as to discuss and challenge the legal framework in which the corporation operates. You may introduce and describe specific policies or guidelines that you propose. Your client/employer is an international company from an industry and jurisdiction of your choice."


The 2020 Winner will be honoured with:

Free AIJA membership until 2023.

Publication of the winner’s name and essay on AIJA’s channels.

Invitation to attend free of charge one of the next AIJA Conferences or the International Young Lawyers’ Congress. Travel and accommodation will be covered.

Terms & conditions

Updated version in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please see items 5, 8 and 12.

  1. Description: The Best International Future Lawyer Award (the “Award”) is granted by AIJA for the best written submission (the “submission”) submitted on a given topic each year. The competition is free to enter.
  2. Eligible candidates:
    1. Law students aged 45 and under who are still enrolled at any university worldwide at the time the Paper is submitted. Eligible Candidates may be pursuing law studies at any level - including graduate or postgraduate studies - to the extent that they are not yet fully admitted to practice and/or fully licensed in their jurisdiction.
    2. Law graduates aged 45 and under who graduated after 31 August 2018.
  3. AIJA membership is not a requirement. Eligible Candidates may only submit one individual or joint submission per year. Previous winners of this or any other AIJA award or scholarship are excluded from the Competition. All other Eligible Candidates from previous years may apply again.
  4. Submission Format: an electronic application submitted through the website form. Joint papers are eligible, but all authors must be Eligible Candidates at the time of submission.
  5. Deadline: Submissions are due by 30 July (midnight CET). AIJA will start accepting entries as of 18 February. Submission deadlines will be strictly observed; late entries will not be accepted.
  6. Submission requirements:
    1. The submission may be the outcome of an Eligible Candidate’s assignment at a university or the full or revised version of the Eligible Candidate’s graduate thesis, unless such usage of the submission would be in violation of the university’s rules or any intellectual property rights. The submission may also be the outcome of a project / case study an Eligible Candidate worked on recently. It must follow the topic published by AIJA that year.
    2. It must be written in English.
    3. The text must be double-spaced, with twelve-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins, in A4 paper-size.
    4. It must be 7500 words (+/- 10%), including footnotes.
    5. It must be divided into; (I) Executive Summary; (II) The Question(s) Presented section; (III) the Statement of the Facts / Statement of the Case section; (IV) the Argument section and (V) Conclusion.
    6. Anonymous. Submissions need to be anonymous. Identifying information will be part of the submission form. Submissions must not identify the university name or location. AIJA may disqualify any submission that includes such identifying information.
  7. Evaluation:
    1. Anonymisation: AIJA will allocate a secret associative code to each set of entry form and submission. Each submission will be then detached from its entry form and only the former will be provided to the evaluators, to make sure neither the Eligible Candidate’s identity nor his University are known by any of the evaluators. Once the Award is granted to the winning submission, AIJA will re-attach it to its entry form by using the secret associative code to know the Winner.
    2. Evaluators: The evaluation will be done by a panel of selected judges chosen by the National Representatives Committee of AIJA. There will be an evaluation panel consisting of at least three Evaluators. The Evaluators will read the anonymised submissions and will select one as the winner by majority of votes (the “Winner”).
    3. Evaluation Criteria: Submissions will be evaluated on quality of research and analysis and novelty, profundity and overall contribution of the submission to legal knowledge. Bearing in mind that part or most of the Eligible Candidates may not be native English speakers, Evaluators will nonetheless take into consideration grammar, spelling, usage and syntax, clarity, structure, and overall appearance. Eligible Candidates shall have no claim to be awarded the Award, even if all prerequisites are met. The decisions made by the Evaluators cannot be appealed against.
  8. Prize: The Winner will be honoured with:
    1. Free AIJA membership for the three years following the award ceremony.
    2. Publication of the Winner’s name and submissions title on AIJA’s communication channels (website, newsletter, social media etc.).
    3. Invitation to one of the next AIJA Conferences or the Annual Congress as soon as possible in the light of COVID-19 and objective availability of the Winner, the final decision on the event being at the discretion of AIJA. The Winner (i) might be required to present a summary at the relevant Commission’s meeting and/or working session or panel during the event; (ii) might be required to attend a webinar, an online meeting of its bodies concerning the Award, or a similar online event of AIJA prior to the event, and (ii) will be granted an Award certificate during the event. The Winner will be exempt from paying registration fees. In addition, AIJA will pay for economy travelling expenses and accommodation. The Winner will also receive a specific badge.
    4. At the discretion of AIJA and subject to the terms of any sponsorship agreement, an award granted by the sponsor of the Best International Future Lawyer Award for the particular year.
  9. Further Recognition/Awards: AIJA and the Evaluators reserve the right, depending on the quality, quantity, geographic spread of the applications, to recognise and/or award further authors of submissions, with a prize of its choice. Eligible Candidates shall have no claim to receive such recognition/award. The decisions made by the Evaluators cannot be appealed against.
  10. Co-Authorship: When the winning submission is a co-authored paper, the prizes described in (a) and (c) above will have to be divided between the co-authors, either in the way jointly indicated by them or in the way decided by AIJA if the former are unable to reach an agreement on how to divide the prizes.
  11. Copyright: AIJA shall be fully entitled to publish, both in hard copy and electronically, the winning submission in any AIJA’s publication in any format or language. The Winner will be fully accredited as author.
  12. Promotion and Collaboration: AIJA shall be fully entitled to publish the Winner’s (as well as any other award recipient’s) name, essay and photo for publicity purposes on the AIJA websites (,, newsletters, social media, as well as third party partners’ websites. AIJA may require the Winner (as well as any other award recipients) to attend in reasonable scope its online activities, such as an online meeting of its bodies concerning the Award or this competition, or a webinar.

Contact us