Texas Gavel Awards


Texas Gavel Awards recognize excellence in journalism that:

  • Fosters public understanding of the legal system

  • Educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government

  • Discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the justice system


The Texas Gavel Awards program is open to journalists whose work appears in Texas newspapers, magazines, and TV and radio broadcasts. Online-only news outlets that publish at least weekly and that adhere to the highest journalistic principles are also eligible.

Individuals whose primary occupation is the practice of law or delivery of legal services are not eligible.

Materials prepared by State Bar of Texas staff, sections, or committees are not eligible.

The competition is not open to law school publications or those whose primary purpose is legal analysis.


Texas Gavel Awards are given in the following categories.


  • Major Metro – Dailies with 100,000 circulation, wire services, statewide magazines, and specialty weeklies

  • Non-Metro – All other printed publications


  • Major Metro – Stations in the Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio markets

  • Non-Metro – Stations in all other Texas markets


  • Online-only news outlets

Submission Guidelines

Media organizations may submit up to two entries per category. A series of up to five related stories may be submitted as a single entry.

Entries must have been published or broadcast in 2020.

Non-English entries are welcome but must include an English translation or transcript.

An online entry form and supporting materials must be submitted for each entry.

Make sure to fully fill out the entry form for each submission, including:

  • A summary of the entry that addresses how it fulfills the purpose of the Texas Gavel Awards. The summary should be suitable for use in the Texas Gavel Awards program and promotional materials.

  • A bio (100 words or less) and a headshot (jpeg format) for each reporter who is part of the submission. The bio and headshot should be suitable for use in the Texas Gavel Awards program and promotional materials.

Entry materials include:

  • Print: Stories should be submitted in PDF file format. If a submission is composed of multiple stories, please try to combine them in one PDF. However, the entry form provides the ability to upload four documents per entry.

  • Broadcast: Provide an active URL to the broadcast material. Long lead-ins, breaks, and commercials should be deleted.

  • Online-only: Provide an active URL or a PDF image of the story or material.

Entries that fail to comply with the eligibility requirements or submission guidelines will not be considered.


An independent panel that includes out-of-state journalists, editors, professors, and attorneys with journalism backgrounds will judge the entries. Judges grade the extent to which each entry addresses the purpose of the Gavel Awards. Reportorial skill, creativity, and impact are also considered. The judging panel may or may not elect to present awards in each category. The number of awards is up to the judges' discretion.

Previous winners

Contact Us

If you have questions regarding the Texas Gavel Awards, please contact:

Lowell Brown, Communications Division Director
State Bar of Texas
(512) 427-1706 or (800) 204-2222, ext. 1706

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