Benjamin and David Scharps Legal Essay Award

The Benjamin and David Scharps Legal Essay Award

The Benjamin and David Scharps Memorial Award was established in the will of Hannah S. Hirschhorn in honor of her brothers, Benjamin and David Scharps who were attorneys. The gift for the award was accepted by the SUNY Board of Trustees in 1974. The funds have been used to award juniors or Seniors who are prelaw or have an interest in legal studies. As per the bequest the prize is awarded to a student who writes the best legal essay on the subject designated by the Chancellor or designee. 

First Prize $1500, Second Prize $1000 

2024 Awards

1st place:
Jamelia Ashley Duncan, University at Buffalo

2nd place:
Alexis Cipriani, SUNY Geneseo


Competition for the prize is open to SUNY students in their Junior or Senior year.

Essays written by students are submitted to a campus point of contact who can submit a maximum of three essays for their campus. The coordinating staff or faculty person must endorse each essay submitted and indicate to the review committee that the essay is of high quality.

Each participating SUNY campus may submit a maximum of three essays. The Campus president appoints a single faculty or staff coordinator who will endorse each essay submitted indicating the he or she has read the essay and considers it of high quality and representative of the best of that campus.


Award applicants will submit a 2,000 word essay that is responsive to the chosen topic. Submission is to be sent in standard essay format. End notes and footnotes are acceptable.  No pictures or illustrations are to be included.  

The essay will be submitted to SUNY Office of University Life by the campus faculty or staff coordinator.

Please send to the attention of Sara Saplin at   

The SUNY Office of University Life in consultation with the Selection Committee will make final recommendation to the Chancellor for approval. The winner of the competition will be announced in early spring.

University Life