Sunday, September 11, 2022
Hundreds of law reviews are published in the United States, with every accredited law school hosting at least one law review or journal. These publications are not widely read but instead serve a targeted audience of academics, policymakers, lawyers, judges, and students interested in the subject matter of a particular article. Even if the number of readers of a specific article is not large, that article may prove to be the catalyst for a change in the law. Not every article will have such an impact, of course, but publication of an article in a law review allows new ideas to grow.
The potential power of law reviews to effect change is curious, however, because most of those law reviews are edited by law students rather than experienced editors.
So if you’re a law review editor or you aspire to be one, or if you’re a faculty advisor to a law review, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.
Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers—has just released The Scribes Manual for Law Review Editors.
The book, published this month by Carolina Academic Press, was edited by two self-confessed “law review nerds,” Dean Darby Dickerson and Professor Brooke J. Bowman. Dean Dickerson is the President and Dean of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles; she’s also a Past President of Scribes and a Past President of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Bowman teaches legal research and writing at Stetson University College of Law; she’s also served on several editorial boards and chairs the Scribes Law Review Award Committee.
How did this book come about? An organization known as the National Conference of Law Reviews (NCLR) previously held annual conferences to train incoming law review editors, but those haven’t been held since 2017. The NCLR essentially evaporated as an organization, leaving a tremendous void in preparing incoming law review editors.
Scribes stepped in to fill that void with this wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, comprehensive manual for law review editors. At 323 pages, this volume is “the definitive source for student-editors who seek to excel in their positions and improve their journals.” It contains the wisdom and advice of law professors and law librarians who have worked with law review editors for many years. Together they cover almost every aspect of producing a law review.
The full list of 19 chapters and chapter authors reveals how comprehensive the book is:
- Why Law Reviews Exist, by Maureen B. Collins (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law)
- Law Review as an Academic Activity, by Pamela Wilkins (Mercer University School of Law)
- The Business of Law Reviews, by Darby Dickerson (Southwestern Law School)
- Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Practices for the Law Review and Legal Scholarship, by Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law)
- Understanding Philosophical Movements Law Review Editors May Encounter, Kristen David Adams (Stetson University College of Law)
- Working with Law Librarians, by Andrew W. Lang (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Biddle Law Library) and Annalee Hickman Pierson (Brigham Young University Howard W. Hunter Law Library)
- Common Editorial Positions and the Selection of Editors, by Lindsey Gustafson (University of Arkansas at Little Rock William S. Bowen School of Law)
- Effective Editorial Board Transitions, by Austin Martin Williams (Mercer University School of Law)
- Leadership Styles for Law Review Editors, by Ashley R. Hilliard (North Carolina Central University School of Law)
- Selecting Journal Candidates, by Wes E. Henricksen (Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law)
- Orientation and Training for Editors, New Staff Members, and Returning Staff Members, by Carolyn V. Williams (University of North Dakota School of Law)
- Working with Student Authors, Kristen E. Murray (Temple University Beasley School of Law) and Jessica Lynn Wherry (Georgetown Law)
- Author Relations, by Mark Cooney (Western Michigan University Cooley Law School)
- The Editing Process, by Michael J. Higdon (University of Tennessee College of Law)
- Journal Production and Dissemination, by Brent Domann (Michigan State University College of Law)
- Post-Production Consequences, by Christina Anna George (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Chutick Law Library)
- Managing Copyright Issues for Law Reviews, by Benjamin J. Keele (Indiana University McKinney School of Law Ruth Lilly Law Library)
- Policies for Law Reviews on Archiving Internet Sources, by Clanitra Stewart Nejdl (Vanderbilt Law School Alyne Queener Masey Law Library)
- The Editorial Adventure, Brooke J. Bowman (Stetson University College of Law)
Susan Hanley Duncan, Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law and the 2020-2022 President of Scribes, also contributed a preface to the volume.
Each of the 19 chapters starts with “Learning Objectives” to tell readers what they’ll learn in that chapter. And each chapter ends with “Key Takeaways” of the main points covered in that chapter.
This book should not just be in the office of every law review but in the hands of every law review editor. It will inspire them to improve their journals and remind them of the importance of their work. Parts of the book will also encourage editorial boards and faculty advisors to expand access to journal editorial boards and to publish authors whose voices may not otherwise be heard.
There hasn’t been a book like this before, a book to help students understand and appreciate solicitation and editing of articles, leadership and operations of a law journal, academic and personal mentorship of editors and staff, and relationships with authors.
Mark E. Wojcik (mew)
Disclosure: Mark Wojcik is a Past President of Scribes. He was not involved in the preparation of this book.