Third-Year Law Student Wins First Prize in National Writing Competition

Tyler Mlakar
University Relations

Tyler Mlakar

Third-year law student Tyler Mlaker has won first prize in the annual Law Student Writing Competition sponsored by the American Bar Association's Forum on Construction Law. Mlakar will receive a $2,000 cash prize, a one-year membership in the Forum and travel expenses and registration to attend the 2021 Forum Fall Meeting in Seattle, Washington, where he will also receive his first-prize plaque. He will also have the opportunity to publish his article in one of the forum's two publications, Under Construction or The Construction Lawyer.

Mlakar's winning article, "Taking the Road Less Traveled: Highway Construction and the Carbon Credit Bonus," stems from his desire to preserve the Natural State where he grew up hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and horseback riding.

He presents the case for what he terms the Carbon Credit Bonus — a market driven incentive designed to align all stakeholders' interests and promote environmentally friendly and sustainable construction practices in Arkansas. According to Mlakar, the Carbon Credit Bonus can align the highway contractors' and environmentalists' often diverging views of the "green" that matters, and lead to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from an industry notorious for high emissions. 

"The fact that I could win such a prestigious competition is a true testament to the caliber of professors here at the University of Arkansas School of Law — professors who unwaveringly support and mentor students like myself and help them to achieve their wildest dreams," Mlakar said. "I hope that my winning this award inspires my peers and sends a message that Arkansas law students can compete with the best at a national stage … and win."

Carl Circo, the Ben J. Altheimer Professor of Legal Advocacy who mentored Mlakar, said, "From the day I saw Tyler's outline for the paper and listened as he described the research he had already undertaken at that early stage, I believed he could win. He developed a brilliant and timely topic and produced an outstanding paper that is both scholarly and practical. The forum's student writing competition attracts submissions from students at top schools across the country, and the judges are nationally recognized construction lawyers. This is an exciting honor for Tyler and for the School of Law."

Through the competition, talented law student writers gain the opportunity to demonstrate their skill to the forum, and the forum introduces itself to the next generation of construction lawyers, pursuing its mission of "Building the Best Construction Lawyers." The criteria for selection in the competition include creativity, clarity and precision of writing, strength of argument, novelty of subject and quality of research.


Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law


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