Paper Earns Second in Writing Competition

Texas Law alumnus Matthew Wurst ’23 placed second in a national writing competition for a paper composed in his 3L year.

Matthew Wurst headshot

Wurst, who currently is a litigation associate at Winston & Strawn LLP in Dallas, received a $7,500 second place prize in the Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation’s 30th annual Brown Award honoring excellence in legal writing in American law schools. Any student enrolled in an accredited U.S. law school seeking a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree is eligible to submit a paper. The contest awards cash prizes for the top three entries.  

Wurst’s paper, “Collapsing Admiralty’s Jurisdictional and Choice of Law Test,” was written for Adjunct Professor Bradley Jackson’s Admiralty and Maritime Law seminar in spring 2023.

“Admiralty tort jurisdiction is one of the more complicated issues in maritime law, and deciding whether state or federal law governs a maritime case can be even more complicated,” explains Professor Michael Sturley, who encouraged Wurst to enter the contest and wrote a letter of recommendation to accompany his submission. “But Matt wrote a thought-provoking paper that tackles the relationship between those two issues and makes clear recommendations about how the law should handle them.”

While at Texas Law, Wurst was an associate editor for the Texas Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif, which recognizes the top 10 percent of graduates from the August, December, and May classes each year. In addition, he was a legal writing teaching assistant (or “teaching quizmaster”), won an Outstanding First-Year Memo Award from the David J. Beck Center, and received Dean’s Achievement Awards in two classes as determined by the professors.

“I was taught by many, many excellent professors at Texas Law who really challenged me to write more clearly, while giving me space to be creative,” says Wurst. “I am grateful to many professors,” he says, naming Jackson and Sturley. Wurst also offers his thanks to Lecturer Lori Mason and Professors Patrick Woolley and Charles Silver “for being such excellent teachers and excellent people.” 

Before attending Texas Law, Wurst earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English literature from Texas A&M University in 2013 and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 2019.   

The outstanding writing skills of current Texas Law students were honored earlier in February as Lauren Bush ’24 and Sarah Chavey ’24 placed second and third, respectively, in the annual Paper Chase Writing Competition.

Category: Alumni News, Student Life