Students may get the chance to see their work in top-rated law libraries nationwide, including Yale Law and Stanford Law, with the upcoming publication of the annual Law and Society Journal at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The journal’s editorial board is currently accepting submissions for the 2005-06 volume, the deadline for which is Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. Interested students can find the submission packet, as well as additional information and criteria, on the journal’s website at www.lawso.ucsb.edu/projects/review/index.htm.
Containing what co-editor Michael Bean described as “exceptional” work from undergraduate students, the journal focuses on various law and society-related issues, such as civil rights or military policy.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity, especially with the outreach to law libraries across the country,” Bean, a fourth-year law & society major, said. “It’s kind of rare to be published as an undergrad and it’s a big deal to have your name out there.”
Clara Duong, co-editor of the journal, said students from all grade levels, up to one year past graduation and regardless of their major, are eligible to submit their work. Duong, a third-year law & society and political science major, said material will be published based on its both content and presentation.
“If your topic is interesting, but the writing doesn’t match, we have to consider that,” Duong said.
Bean said the selection pool usually contains about 50 submissions and an average of eight are published. Selections are determined in a three-phase process involving all 13 members of the editorial board, which is comprised of undergraduate students selected one year in advance. Board members read and evaluate each piece multiple times.
After pieces are selected for publication, Bean said, the three best articles are chose to receive prizes. First place receives $500, second place receives $200 and third place receives $100.
Both Bean and Duong said the process is highly selective, but such difficulty is expected from a professional journal. Duong also said the difficulty level makes for an accomplishment of which chosen students can really be proud.
“The selectivity adds to the prestige,” Duong said.
Although some students might be intimidated by the statistics, both editors say they encourage anyone who is interested to submit, as the editorial board looks for a wide range of topics.
“We want to encourage diversity in the submissions,” Bean said. “Some people don’t have the confidence because they think their ideas are too off-beat or they have a weird topic. That’s what we are looking for – unique work and opinions.”
According to the journal’s website, the editors invite work from different genres, including essay reviews, photo essays and political cartoons.
Despite the similarity in name to UCSB’s Law & Society Dept., the journal is a self-sustaining publication funded through donations and fundraisers, and is organized by the editorial board. This year, the Santa Barbara County Bar Foundation – the academic branch of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association – donated the funds for the monetary prizes.
“Law firms are very eager to help us because they realize how unique [the journal] is,” Bean said.
Published annually since 2001, the Law and Society Journal at the University of California, Santa Barbara is currently in its fifth year of publication. According to Duong, the journal was originally titled the UCSB Law and Society Review, but changed its name last year at the request of Blackwell Publishing, to avoid confusion with the national Law & Society Review.
Duong said she is proud that, although there are other undergraduate law journals available in hard copy form, the Law and Society Journal at the University of California, Santa Barbara was the first amongst U.S. colleges to be available in both hard copy and online form.