August 8th, 2011
I realized that I’ve been talking a lot about Law Review, and “editing”…and I realized that I haven’t said that much about what it’s actually all about. Rather than talk more about how much I love my internship, I thought I would give you a little insight into this particular facet of my law-school life.
Law Review is, first and foremost, a publication. We publish articles that analyze new laws, discuss the implications of a new court decision, or attempt to solve some sort of timely problem. At our school, it is a co-curricular activity: you get some academic credit for your work, but unlike an actual class, it’s ungraded, and there is no classroom component.
Our articles come from two sources. We have our “inside articles,” which are student-written pieces. These are the notes and comments that are written by our junior and senior members during their first year on the Review. Then, we have our “outside articles,” which are contributed by professors, alumni, practicing attorneys…basically anyone who isn’t a current UDM Law student. As the Executive Editor of Outside Articles, those are the authors I get to work with.
As an almost entirely student-run publication, the students are involved in practically every element of the publication. My responsibilities as EEOA have me reading the articles sent to our school by prospective authors (and I now have two awesome third-year students who are helping me with this task!), and making publication offers to those we would like to publish. Once we have selected an article, it gets formatted by our Editor-in-Chief, and then the article gets split up among our junior and senior members (everyone who is a first-year Law Review member) and they are responsible for tracking down the original sources cited by the author to verify content, and then they check the footnotes for proper citation format. When they are finished, they turn their work in to their Title Editor. The Title Editors are third-year students who are responsible for overseeing the source-checking process, compiling the sources, and doing their own independent edit of the article.
After that process, it goes to an Executive Editor (outside articles come to me, and inside articles go to our Executive Editor of Inside Articles; makes sense, right?) for a super-intense edit. We basically go footnote-to-footnote, verifying the content in the footnotes, and the accuracy of the citations, all down to the smallest details (e.g. making sure that the period after “id.” is italicized, and ensuring that there are two spaces between each sentence). The executive edit usually takes about thirty hours to complete. After that, we send it to the author and have him or her look over our revisions and make any comments or corrections. Then, our Editor-in-Chief does her edit, the article goes through another author review, and then the other Executive Editor (the one who didn’t do the executive edit) will do a final edit.
Once all of the articles in an issue have gone through a final edit, our Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor run a page set to make the articles look just like they will in the published book. Those pages get sent to our printer, and the printer sends us sets of “proofs” that our executive board looks over (we do this twice, so we get first and second proofs), so that we can be sure everything looks good before it goes to print. Once we give the final okay, they print our publication and send the printed issues to all of our subscribers. There’s not much time to celebrate though, because we publish four issues a year…so while the printer is doing its thing, we’ve already started our work on the next issue.
Although the work is never-ending, it’s nice to be able to see our work pay off in the finished product. I’m definitely starting to see why Law Review is a big sell on résumés: in addition to the obvious growth as a writer, I’m also seeing the improvement in my time-management skills, ability to prioritize work (right now, I have twenty articles that I’m responsible for…), and abilities to teach and supervise others. Wow. Never thought I’d be doing this in Law School…