What is the Law Review?
The Western New England Law Review is a publication of the Western New England University School of Law. The Law Review is published by the student members of the Law Review. Each issue of the Law Review consists of several Articles written by authors who are scholars or practitioners in their fields, and several student Notes, written by the members of the Law Review. The Law Review publishes three issues a year—two symposium issues and one general issue.
How are the members of the Review selected?
Members are selected each year from among the law students who have completed their first year of studies at the law school. Law Review members are selected based either on their rank after final exams or on their performance in the Legal Research and Writing course. Once selected, we make no distinctions between “grade-ons” and “write-ons.”
What are the responsibilities of first year members?
Each associate member of the Law Review has two primary responsibilities. First, each member must author a detailed scholarly article on a current legal issue, his or her student Note. The research, writing, and editing of the Note begins in the summer and continues throughout the school year. Notes are approximately fifty pages long, including extensive citations. Second, each member will be assigned weekly production work for Articles and Notes that have already been selected for publication. This work includes “techciting,” a careful check of each Article and Note, including verification of the proper citation form and substantive content of all footnotes, and proofreading of all Articles and Notes.
Do you get academic credit for your work as a member of the Law Review?
Associate members receive three credits for the year for their work on Law Review, provided they fulfill their responsibilities according to the specifications of the Law Review. Two of the three credits are awarded in the fall semester and one in the spring. The credits for the second year of Law Review vary, depending on the member’s role on the Editorial Board.
If I join Law Review, when does my service begin?
There is a mandatory orientation and training program for Law Review staff the week before classes begin.
How much time should I expect to commit to the Law Review?
Law Review is a significant time commitment. Most associate members put in between 10 and 15 hours a week regularly, and occasionally an additional 5 to 10 hours when a deadline is approaching. This may affect your ability to participate in internships or clinical programs or to be a member of one of the law school’s interscholastic appellate advocacy and trial competition teams. In addition, members are required to return to school before normal registration in order to attend Law Review orientation and training.
Should I be concerned that my grades will suffer if I join Law Review?
Law Review members devote many hours to their work on the Law Review. Members manage, however, to balance their classes with Law Review assignments. Many Law Review students maintain their class rank.
What are the benefits of joining the Law Review?
Law Review members gain a variety of skills in working on Law Review:
Writing the Note
Law Review members have a unique opportunity to sharpen their legal research and writing skills. The research required for a student Note is rigorous; members gain valuable experience in researching legislative history, statutory construction, and complex issues of the law, in addition to being exposed to scholarly legal writing on their topics. Further, the process of writing and editing a student Note allows the student to explore a specific area of the law in depth, thus acquiring a level of expertise in a particular area rarely available through the traditional law school curriculum. New members are assisted in the work on their Note by a Note Editor, a second year member of the Law Review who is charged with working with a particular student to ensure that his or her Note makes progress towards possible publication. In addition, each student’s work is reviewed by a faculty member who provides insight and helps direct the student’s organization and analysis.
Tech-Citing and Proofreading
By assisting in the editing of the Articles and Notes selected for publication, members develop skills that are enormously useful in the practice of law, including expertise in proper Bluebook citation form. n addition, members learn to work quickly and efficiently, and their improved abilities are useful in their work on their own Notes, as well as in other legal writing both during and after law school.
Students who have been on Law Review have a decided edge in applications for summer jobs and employment following law school. Employers recognize the value of the skills that members acquire and are therefore quite interested in interviewing them for employment. Working on Law Review can open doors for students who are interested in judicial clerkships, large firms, and state and federal government positions.
Members have the opportunity to have their student Note published in the Law Review if it is of publishable quality. A published student Note is quite an achievement for the author. The Law Review is available online on Westlaw and LEXIS, so published student pieces are available to law students and legal scholars throughout the country.
Eligibility for Second Year Positions
Associate members who exhibit excellence in their assignments and whose Notes are of high quality are eligible for an Editorial Board position on the Law Review the following year. Editorial Board selections are made at the end of the member’s first year on the Law Review.
Contribution to the School of Law
The Law Review offers an opportunity for Western New England University School of Law to showcase the scholarly work of its students. The quality of the Law Review is therefore of great importance. The publication of a high quality Law Review enhances the image of the School of Law in the eyes of employers, the judiciary, and legal scholars nationwide. Members thus have an opportunity to actively affect public opinion about the law school.
What is Techciting?
After a piece has been selected for publication—whether an Article or a student Note—it is first edited by the Editorial Board staff. After this initial edit, the piece is ready for a rigorous technical check. We refer to this process as “techciting.” The term refers to the process whereby citations are checked for proper Bluebook form and the substance of the text is verified. Techciting, the substantive and technical analysis of text and citations, is crucial to maintaining a quality law review. Techciting safeguards the integrity of our journal by ensuring that everything printed is correct and accurate. It involves a painstaking check of every written word and every cited source.
Techciting assignments are distributed by the Managing Editor to the Production Editors and then to the Associate Staff, and consist of a section of text with the corresponding footnotes. There are four parts to the technical check that must be completed by each Associate Staff member in order to properly techcite an Article or Note: (A) bluebooking (ensuring each citation conforms to the nineteenth edition of the Bluebook); (B) substance checking (checking to ensure that the source cited supports the author’s textual statement); (C) cite checking (ensuring that volume numbers, page numbers, dates, quotations, etc., are accurate); and (D) Shepardizing and Keyciting (verifying that the source cited is still authoritative).
Techciters must also scrutinize the text for grammatical errors. The techciter should be cognizant that it is the Law Review’s policy to defer to the author’s style of writing. The Law Review’s reference books should be consulted when textual problems are suspected. The Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary is used for spelling and syllabication. The Chicago Manual of Style should be consulted for general rules of grammar and style. In addition, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is an excellent reference on clarity and flow of a sentence, paragraph structure, and overall style.
Diligent techciters learn a great deal of law, research methods, citation techniques, use of footnotes, and some of the peculiarities of Law Review writing. After the techciting stage is completed, the Production Editor gives the techciter’s work a scrupulous check and forwards their work to the Managing Editor. Once the Managing Editor approves the work that has been done, the piece is entered into the next phase of the production process. The entire production process, or each piece, from start to finish takes 15 weeks.
Does anyone ever turn down an invitation to serve on Law Review?
Students occasionally turn down an invitation to join the Law Review for a number of reasons. First, some students realize they cannot devote the necessary time to Law Review due to commitments to their family or their employer. Second, some students prefer to devote their energies to other law-related activities. Students who choose not to return to the law school because they transfer to other law schools, or students who take a leave of absence, obviously are unable to accept the Law Review’s invitation.
If I transfer to another law school, will I be eligible to join Law Review at that school?
Law schools, including Western New England University School of Law, do not recognize invitations to join Law Review issued by any school other than their own, so the short answer to the question is no. Some schools, however, permit transfer students to participate in a writing competition to gain a place on the Law Review.
How can I find out more information about Law Review?
Any current member of the Law Review will be willing to discuss the pros and cons of Law Review with you. The Law Review Office is on the third floor. Please feel free to contact the current Executive Board with any questions.