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Writing Competition 2021: Guidance, Inspiration and Referencing

Writing Competition 2021: Guidance, Inspiration and Referencing

Posted by matt-terrell | 24 September 2020

To inspire your entries for the vLex International Law & Technology Writing Competition 2021, below you can find some guidance as to how you might approach each topic and links to related articles. We encourage you to explore the topics in a way that inspires you; your entry doesn’t have to answer the guiding questions below.

But first, what makes for a good blog-style article? One of the best approaches to writing is to focus your attention on a single question. For example: are online courts improving the justice system in the US? How will the gig-economy recover from upcoming changes to legislation? Are current regulations suitable for today’s technology?

Answering a question is helpful and insightful. However, informing your audience of the current state of things, and then also how they are going to change is extremely useful in the world today. Additionally, search engines thrive on articles and documents that can answer important and relevant questions. 

Alternatively, you can approach your article by informing your audience of the current state of things, and then make suggestions as to how they should change. Articles written in this style are opinion pieces; a necessary medium when analysing events, collating information and advocating for change. 

Other important considerations when writing is to keep your audience in mind.  Are you writing for partners of a law firm, the general public or technically skilled technology professionals? For this competition, we recommend writing for the general public. This will require you to find easy-to-understand ways of explaining complex situations, current affairs and details relating to law and technology. 

Below you will find some guiding information and questions on each of the three topics, but ultimately it is up to you what you write about, as long as it fits with this year’s topics. 

 

Money, Law and Technology

 

With a cashless future accelerated by a pandemic, the increasing growth of cryptocurrency, the flexibility of the gig economy, and global firms embracing home working, there have been big changes in both money and work in recent years. Has the law kept pace with these changes and the technologies behind them? 

Guiding questions:

With an increasing number of scams targeting them, are cryptocurrencies safe? What legal framework could there be to regulate a decentralised pseudonymous currency?

As the number of app-driven companies that hire independent workers for short-term commitments, such as ride-sharing services or food delivery companies, continues to grow, are those that work in the gig economy given appropriate legal protections?

Is physical money destined to become a thing of the past? 

Inspiration:

Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

What is the gig economy and why is it so controversial?

25 million Brits would struggle in a cashless society

 

Influence, Law and Technology

 

In an era of fake news, celebrity influencers and private groups sharing extreme views, the questions of trust and regulation are more relevant than ever. Should social media companies be responsible for the material posted on their platforms, or should the law impose requirements on them?

Guiding questions:

With suggestions that messages from ‘bots’ seeking to influence elections are common on social media, how can nations legislate to prevent outside interference?

As fake news and deepfake videos become more widespread and sophisticated, what can be done to verify the authenticity of content shared on social media, and how can responsibility for this be regulated?

The influencer industry is worth billions of dollars, but concerns of fraud have existed almost as long as the industry itself. How can this ongoing problem be addressed?

Inspiration:

Few Americans are confident in tech companies to prevent misuse of their platforms in the 2020 election

Coronavirus: Patients refusing treatment because of fake news on social media, NHS staff warn

Fake followers in influencer marketing will cost brands $1.3 billion this year, report says

 

Movements, Law and Technology

 

Protest and conflict have long been a part of human history, with developments in technology playing a role in how movements have been organised across centuries. In this digital age, how effective are new methods of organising social movements? Is protest still an effective way to change the law? 

Guiding questions:

With protests being organised through social media, does this increase the potential for deliberate counter-protests? How can the potential flashpoints this could create be legislated for?

Mass protests have occurred around issues as varied as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, tuition fee rises, Brexit, and most recently the death of George Floyd. Are protests still an effective way of bringing about social and legal change, and if so, how?

Does sharing behaviour at protests on public platforms put individuals at any legal risk?

Inspiration:

Black Lives Matter: From social media post to global movement

How tech has fueled a ‘leaderless protest’ in Hong Kong

Police surveillance of Black Lives Matter shows the danger technology poses to democracy

 

Referencing Guide

 

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive each year is, how do I reference my article? This year, we’re making it easy and simple by using footnotes. 

How to add Footnotes using Microsoft Word.

There is no need to use Harvard referencing or other methods this year, just use the footnote feature. 

 

Sign up for the competition

 

If you haven’t registered for the competition already, sign up to the vLex International Law & Technology Writing Competition 2021 today to receive full details of the entry requirements, including the how to submit your entry.

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