Jamie Bryant, ‘16, wins national family law essay contest

Jamie Bryant, ‘16, wins national family law essay contest

Jamie Bryant, a rising third-year student at the University of Maine School of Law, has received first place in a national essay contest administered by the American Bar Association.

Bryant’s essay, which was initially developed as an independent writing project, was titled “My Two Dads (and Three Moms): Balancing a Child’s Interest and a Parent’s Fundamental Right When Granting De Facto Parent Status.” It won first place in the ABA Section on Family Law’s 2015 Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest. The contest recognizes excellence in law student writing on family law topics.

Bryant received a cash award and an invitation to the Family Law Section Annual Awards Luncheon, held in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago in August. In addition, Bryant’s essay is eligible for publication in Family Law Quarterly, the scholarly journal of the ABA’s Section on Family Law.

The essay explores the pressing legal question: What makes a person a “parent”? Bryant traces the development of the concept of parentage from the narrow view that a legal parent can arise only from a genetic connection to or adoption of a child to the recognition today that, in some families, a parent-child bond can develop between a child and an adult who has played a central, committed caretaking role for the child notwithstanding a lack of biological or legal relationship.