The Kansas Law Review and Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy offer KU Law students a unique opportunity to serve as editors on a publication. Law reviews and journals are unique from many other academic or scientific journals in that students, as opposed to faculty or an independent editing board, are responsible for the compilation, editing and publication of the publication. Also, for once and maybe the last time in a student’s life, we get to edit the work of our “superiors” (practitioners, professors, judges, etc.). Most importantly, employers love to hire students who are involved in one of the publications!
Of course, there are a few hurdles one must cross before gaining acceptance to one of KU Law’s publications. First-year students (and 2Ls, if they wish) must participate in a three-week write-on competition. All students are given the same prompt and must support their stance on a pressing legal issue by writing a 10-page paper using only the sources given to them. Although the publications weigh different aspects of the work product differently, both the Review and Journal choose their staff members based on applicant preference, writing and technical skill, and first-year grades.
So why join a publication, aside from wanting to boost your resume and spend most of your time on the warmest floor of the law library? Because it’s a great learning experience. I know that in only one year on the Law Review, I have improved my writing skills tremendously. I have also expanded my closest group of friends in law school. Although editing is hard work and not always fun, seeing the finished product and knowing that I contributed to it is very rewarding. Every year, the Review and Journal also publish the work of their own staff members, which is a huge honor. And because one year as a staff member was not enough for me, I will be back next year as a board member!
Lauren Douville, 2L and Student Ambassador