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Writing for Journal Publications

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I had an essay I worked on this past semester that I really enjoyed researching/writing. I found there was far more I wanted to write on the topic but due to the word count, there was a lot of research I couldn’t incorporate. As a summer project, I wanted to expand my essay and aim to get it published in a law journal. For students who have been published in journals before, are there any tips you could pass on? Compared to writing an essay, what did you do differently when writing the article, as compared to writing an essay? If any members of their school’s law journals want to chime in on what they look for, I would greatly appreciate the assistance. 

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In my experience, law professors LOVE finding students who share their research interests, and can speak and write (somewhat) articulately on the same. I had a law professor at my school who I trusted, and used him as an occasional (but no less important) interlocutor. I was an active participant in one of his classes, so he was more than happy to sit down and talk with me about what I was working on. Having someone in a position of authority to probe the weaknesses in my understanding of the law was invaluable. It was also encouraging having the same person occasionally agree with my take on something--it signified that I was on the right track. Listening to a professor (whose work I admired) take a strong position outside of class emboldened me to take risks with my own writing. This relationship led to a co-authorship on another peer-reviewed paper with that same professor.

I was more or less counselled to just write first, and figure out a target journal second. It's a lot easier to adjust a draft to the preferences of the target journal than it is to try and write with that in mind the entire time (at least it is for me).  I have no idea if this is ultimately good advice or not, but it helped me because I wasn't really concerned about what the publication was looking for. I was just happy and motivated to do the writing and the research.

In any event, most journals will have calls for submissions published on their websites, and those will outline the research themes they're after, as well as deadlines for submissions. This is probably naive but my experience has been that if a publication likes your paper or your idea, they'll work with you to find a way to get it in and over the finish line. The anonymous reviewers (who I took at face value on everything) will let you know what they think are the shortcomings with your paper.

I also gave myself months and months and months to research and write and tinker at my leisure. I'm not concerned about publish or perish, so this made the process a lot more enjoyable while balancing work and school.

 

Edited by rziegler
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On 5/26/2020 at 8:18 PM, rziegler said:

In my experience, law professors LOVE finding students who share their research interests, and can speak and write (somewhat) articulately on the same. I had a law professor at my school who I trusted, and used him as an occasional (but no less important) interlocutor. I was an active participant in one of his classes, so he was more than happy to sit down and talk with me about what I was working on. Having someone in a position of authority to probe the weaknesses in my understanding of the law was invaluable. It was also encouraging having the same person occasionally agree with my take on something--it signified that I was on the right track. Listening to a professor (whose work I admired) take a strong position outside of class emboldened me to take risks with my own writing. This relationship led to a co-authorship on another peer-reviewed paper with that same professor.

I was more or less counselled to just write first, and figure out a target journal second. It's a lot easier to adjust a draft to the preferences of the target journal than it is to try and write with that in mind the entire time (at least it is for me).  I have no idea if this is ultimately good advice or not, but it helped me because I wasn't really concerned about what the publication was looking for. I was just happy and motivated to do the writing and the research.

In any event, most journals will have calls for submissions published on their websites, and those will outline the research themes they're after, as well as deadlines for submissions. This is probably naive but my experience has been that if a publication likes your paper or your idea, they'll work with you to find a way to get it in and over the finish line. The anonymous reviewers (who I took at face value on everything) will let you know what they think are the shortcomings with your paper.

I also gave myself months and months and months to research and write and tinker at my leisure. I'm not concerned about publish or perish, so this made the process a lot more enjoyable while balancing work and school.

 

Thank you so much for your thorough response, this was very helpful. 

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