Recent Grad Places in American Planning Association Writing Contest

October 29, 2015

McGowan_MattMatthew McGowan ’15 placed second in the American Planning Association’s (APA) Planning and Law Division’s 32nd Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. McGowan was recognized for his paper “Location, Location, Mis-Locations: How Local Land-use Restrictions Are Dulling Halfway Houses’ Criminal Rehabilitation Potential.” He originally wrote the paper for Texas A&M School of Law’s Sentencing Law and Policy seminar this past February.

The APA Planning and Law Division members include planners, attorneys, students and other professionals, many of whom work in government, interested in the diverse legal issues of the planning profession. The contest honors the memory of “three leading figures in American city planning law”: R. Marlin Smith, Richard Babcock, and Norman Williams. By placing second, McGowan received a $400 prize.

McGowan is very thankful to the American Planning Association.

“I'm still shocked that I managed to place in the competition, but it's truly an honor to see my name on the list of the prize winners,” he said.

He also credits Professor Lisa Rich for his success.

“Her insight and first-hand knowledge about criminal sentencing is stunning, and her guidance and patience throughout the writing process was extraordinary."

This isn’t the first time McGowan, former Texas A&M Law Review articles editor, has been awarded for his writing talent. In Spring 2015, he won the national White River Environmental Law Writing Competition by the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law for his article titled “Locomotives v. Local Motives: The Coming Conflict, Statutory Void, and Legal Uncertainties Riding with Reactivated Rails-to-Trails." The article was lauded as “far exceed[ing] the existing academic literature on the topic.”

Since graduating Texas A&M School of Law, McGowan is awaiting his bar exam results and works as a law clerk at Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen, Benson & Jones, LLP in Fort Worth.

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law