Author: Hoku Krueger
In spearheading the creation of an Occidental undergraduate law review, Jamison Hayward (junior) hopes to give students interested in law an arena to participate in discourse on topical legal issues with not only each other, but also a greater community of professors, lawyers and judges.
Whereas graduate law reviews consist of submissions from professional authors, professors and practicing attorneys across the country, according to Thalia González, politics department chair and law review adviser, the Occidental undergraduate law review will primarily be student work with the possibility of outside contributions.
Trace Larabee ‘15 attempted to establish a law review during his junior year but failed to bring a publication to fruition due to time restraints and a lack of scholarly interest, according to González and Hayward. Hayward worked with Larabee as a first-year student in trying to establish the review.
“One of the issues [Larabee] ran into was that he didn’t want to have a student submission law review,” Hayward said. “All of the submissions were to come from outside, and for a new law review to galvanize that much interest is difficult.”
As a solution to this issue, Hayward intends to focus mainly on developing original submissions from Occidental students through a rigorous editing process. He hopes to provide a vehicle for students to discuss issues of law where in the past none has existed.
“It’s a club that’s really unlike any other club here; that can engage students who are interested in law,” Hayward said. “So I think that it fills that hole that was kind of lacking in the Occidental community for a legal arena for discussion.”
According to González, graduate law reviews follow a standard format in regards to submissions, while undergraduate law reviews vary in this respect. For example, the Penn Undergraduate Law Review (PULR) — now in its third year of publication — only accepts submissions produced during students’ undergraduate education.
“We accept submissions from around the world,” PULR Editor-in-Chief David Berlind said via email. “The only conditions being that the submission was written during the author’s undergraduate years, that the submission is greater than 20 pages in length, and that the submission has at least some relation to the law and legal theory.”
While the PULR publishes both in print and online, the Occidental law review will publish exclusively on the web. According to Hayward, they are hoping submissions will be around 10–15 pages.
“Publishing online saves paper,” Hayward said. “There’s no real reason to do physical publications anymore. It’s easier to access, and we can release articles as we finish them.”
Hayward conducted the review’s first meeting several weeks ago after making logistical decisions over the summer. There, he assigned about 15 students the task of reading one law article each before returning to the next meeting. The club will meet every other Sunday.
Writers will read and learn about what a law review is throughout the fall semester and then produce articles in the winter.
“We’re trying to streamline the process and get it done as soon as possible,” Hayward said. “So we’re just going to have submissions due during winter break before Christmas, and then we’re going to start the editing process second semester.”
Hayward hopes to begin publishing articles, covering an array of topics, in March or April.
“What we’re looking for is students who are interested in law, but also have other interests, and trying to create kind of an intersection between those interests,” Hayward said.
The staff of the Claremont Journal of Law and Public Policy however, have faced the most difficulty relying on publishing work by undergraduate students. The work a journal or review staff requires of undergraduate students places heavy requirements on people who are already engaged with other obligations.
“Without hesitation I can answer that our most significant challenges are rooted in the fact that students of the [five Claremont colleges] face significant time constraints,” Editor-in-Chief Martin Sicilian said via email. “If students could devote as much time to our journal as they do to the average class we would produce very high quality content.”
Linnea Propp-Pearson (junior) feels that contributing to the Occidental law review will not overburden her because Hayward’s timeline allows her to work during winter break. A history major with an interest in environmental law, Propp-Pearson sees the review as a way to probe the field of law writing.
“I’m not sure what I want to do,” Propp-Pearson said. “I either want to do public relations or law school, so this is a really good opportunity for people like me to be able to explore and try out editing and writing and see if I like it.”
Hayward is currently in the process of creating an editorial board consisting of two to three assistant editors to help select and edit submissions.
This type of editorial hierarchy is typical of graduate law reviews, which incorporate both third and second year graduate students in order to sustain a cycle of leadership, according to González.
In her original talks with Larabee, González proposed that she create an advisory board of law practitioners to provide guidance and insight where needed. Hayward is on board with the idea.
“With a law review and with editors assigned to any piece they’re not just doing edits for passive voice, they’re also checking all your citations, your footnotes,” González said. “They’re really checking to see whether you are engaging with the literature, or have you sort of missed a big key area.”
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