Monday, August 13, 2007
It's been a long time since I last wrote about advice to law reviews. Following up on my promised series, here's installment two, just in time as student editors get back to school....
2. Involve faculty in the selection of note topics and their writing
One of the great difficulties for students is selecting a topic to write on; a good topic's critical. In fact, I think a good idea is indispensable--and if you have a good idea, even if the execution leaves something to be desired, you'll at least have something that will attract an audience and maybe promote some further work. You're going to spend a lot of time working on a note and it's good to have something workable from the start. Faculty often have an excellent idea of whether a topic's workable and can help from shaping the initial questions through the research and writing. At the Alabama Law Review, each student is required to work with a faculty member in the development of the note. It's nice to have someone who has a sense of how manageable a topic is, how to scale down unwieldy projects, and how to weld together questions and research and how to back out of one-way alleys.
Of course, related to this is the idea that students have to actually take the advice they're given. As a student--and more so as a faculty member--I haven't always taken good advice, though I try to take as much of it as a I can recognize. So perhaps a corollary piece of advice here is: work with faculty and listen to them.