Journal of the Legal Writing Institute


Goals and Scope

Background

Submitting an Article to Legal Writing

Topics and Types of Articles

Past Volumes

Editorial Board  

Goals and Scope

The goal of the Legal Writing Institute is to encourage a broader understanding of legal writing and the teaching of it. To further that goal, the Institute publishes Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, a peer-edited Journal that provides a forum for an exchange of scholarly ideas and opinions about legal writing. Legal Writing publishes articles, empirical research, book reviews, and critical commentary from persons interested in the theory and the practice of legal writing, in composition, rhetoric and linguistic theory, in the design of courses and curricula, and in teaching and learning theory as applied in the classroom and practice.

Background

The Legal Writing Institute established the Journal in 1988 as a forum for the developing discipline of legal writing. Christopher Rideout of the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law) served as the Journal’s first Editor-in-Chief. Unlike most other legal journals, which are student-edited, Legal Writing is a peer-reviewed journal. The Editorial Board includes some of the leading scholars and academics in the field of legal writing. Since 1997, the Journal has alternated more traditional issues with a proceedings issue that includes articles based on presentations at the renowned Legal Writing Institute biennial summer conferences. New volumes of the Journal typically are published in the spring of each year.

Submitting an Article to Legal Writing

If you wish to submit an article to Legal Writing, please send two electronic versions of the article, both in Word format, to Brooke Bowman at bowman@law.stetson.edu.  One version should be free of any identifying information, such as references to the author's name or institutional affiliation.  Because deleting text or footnotes may change the meaning of the piece, the author(s) can certainly substitute words such as “my school” “the author,” etc. as appropriate. WordPerfect, MSWord, and PDF files are all acceptable. If sending digital versions is not practical, please make other arrangements by contacting Brooke Bowman by phone or by mail at the address below:

Professor Brooke Bowman

Stetson University College of Law

1401 61st Street South

Gulfport, Florida 33707

E-mail:  bowman@law.stetson.edu

Office: (727) 562-7370  

Members of the Editorial Board review the articles submitted to the Journal. Articles that receive an affirmative vote of the majority of editors are accepted for publication. As a general matter, the Board is looking for well documented articles that our readership will appreciate either as original theory or as practical pedagogy.

When making citation and style decisions for your submission, please consult the most recent edition and printing of the ALWD Citation Manual (Aspen Publishers), and the most recent edition of The Redbook (West).

Authors are typically notified about the Board’s decision within four weeks after submission. Two members of the Editorial Board work with each author in the publication process; in addition, a team of Assistant Editors works on the technical aspects of the piece.

When an article is accepted for publication, the author should be prepared to supply the editors with copies of all difficult-to-find sources, which we define as materials that cannot be located easily on Westlaw, LEXIS, the Internet, or in a law library. Examples of materials that authors would need to supply include, but are not limited to, non-legal sources, email messages and other unpublished material, out-of-print material, conference and CLE material, foreign sources, survey results, and interview transcripts or summaries.

Topics and Types of Articles

As a journal for legal writing professionals, we seek articles that contribute to the discipline of legal writing.  Generally, the articles should aim to broaden the discipline's theoretical foundations of pedagogy.  These articles must break new ground, that is, offer original ideas.  We expect authors to exhaust all research possibilities in the legal writing literature and in other relevant disciplines.  They generally should synthesize, carefully explore, and cite closely related scholarship.  But they also must move substantially beyond existing scholarship.

We define the discipline of legal writing broadly.  It can encompass a broad range of skills, including legal analysis, research, interpretation, drafting, storytelling, and other lawyering skills.  It can involve a broad range of related disciplines, including classical rhetoric, linguistics, composition, psychology, communications, and ethics.  We welcome articles that extend the definitional boundaries of legal writing, as well as those that seek to improve pedagogy and scholarship in the field through interdisciplinary and empirical research.

We are interested in many types of articles.  We would consider, for example, empirical studies.  These studies must yield valid results and use sound methodology and carefully selected survey samples.  We would consider articles that describe and analyze a writing program or particular teaching techniques.  However, these must present innovative ideas that would benefit our profession.

Past Volumes

Volume 17 included articles from the John Marshall Law School symposium on the Carnegie Foundation Report on Legal Education, articles based on presentations at the 2010 Legal Writing Institute Conference, and other articles of interest to the legal academy.  Volumes 16 and 16a included articles from the Once Upon a Legal Time, Chapter 2: Applied Storytelling in Law conference held at Lewis and Clark Law School, July 2009, and the Legal Writing Journal symposium, The Legal Writing Institute: Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching and Scholarship, held in November 2009, at Mercer Law School. Volume 15 contained several articles based on presentations from the 2008 Legal Writing Institute Conference, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in addition to three pieces from the 2008 Panel of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  Volume 14 contained articles from the Once Upon a Legal Time: Developing the Skills of Storytelling in the Law conference held at the City Law School in London, United Kingdom, July 2007.  

Editorial Board

Board Membership Policies

A list of the current editorial board can be found here.