Two Rutgers Law students, Anwar Abdur-Rahman and Claire Newsome, both RLAW 20, were chosen as the winners of this year’s Greg Lastowka Writing Competition, which is an annual short form writing contest that focuses on information policy and intellectual property.
The contest is named after Rutgers Law Professor Greg Lastowka, who taught in Camden and died in 2015. His scholarship was in the areas of copyright, trademark, cyber property, video games, and virtual worlds.
This year’s contest winners were selected by the co-directors of the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law (RIIPL) in Camden. Abdur-Rahman’s submission focused on celebrity photography and property rights and Newsome’s on compensating users of digital platforms with a digital dividend.
“Being recognized for my thoughts and understanding of the law is truly an amazing feeling. The award provides the necessary confidence and momentum a graduating law student needs,” said Abdur-Rahman.
Besides studying intellectual property, Abdur-Rahman was the President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, a senior advisor to the Student Bar Association, 3L class representative and member of the Black Law Student Association. He will be working with the Rutgers Law Associates after graduating this month.
Newsome said, “I hope that my submission has given people something to think about and can contribute to the broader conversation about how we value our data.” Besides studying intellectual property, Newsome was involved in Social Justice Scholars and the Journal of Law and Public Policy. She will be clerking for the Honorable Carmen Alvarez, a New Jersey Presiding Appellate Judge, after graduating.
The writing competition was open to Rutgers Law students and recent graduates who submitted a blog-style entry on a topic of intellectual property or information policy, on a cutting-edge issue that offers a new, interesting, and well-reasoned perspective. The winners received a $500 prize and their entries were published on the RIIPL website.
This year, both winners happened to be African-American students, something Newsome and Abdur-Rahman said they are both proud of, since the field of information law is historically lacking in diverse representation, which was noted in this ABA article from 2017.
“The Lastowka short-form writing competition recognizes the achievement of Rutgers Law students in presenting a thorny issue of information law in a blog post style,” said Professor Ellen Goodman, who oversaw the contest. “Writing engagingly about new problems was something the late Professor Lastowka did beautifully and this award honors that skill. Anwar and Claire have exhibited great style and insight in copyright law and data governance respectively, and they have done so in an accessible blog post, which is exactly what’s needed in practicing lawyers.”