21 December 2010

Writing an Article for a Law Review

Last week I turned in the law review article I've been working on. It's now in the hands of 2L's and 3L's whom I pity because they have to correct my bluebooking. I went through my approximately 170 endnotes and tried to get them in the correct format, but I am terribly out of practice in doing anything other than just doing a cite which lets the reader know where to find the information. Putting things in the right order and differentiating between those cites which should be italicized and those which should have small caps just isn't something I'm used to anymore. Also, my Bluebook was old enough that it didn't really address internet sources and the sources I used were all from the internet.

For those of you out there who are practitioners and interested in writing papers, I encourage you to jump in with both feet. It isn't like the old days when you just couldn't do it unless you took time out your life to drive to the nearest law school library. Nowadays, with online services such as Lexis, WestLaw, or Fastcase you can do most of the actual legal research fairly easily. You'll also find that a lot of journals are online and free now and that's not limited to only legal journals. As well, the government puts a lot of information out that can be very useful.

My worst difficulty was finding sources to back things every practitioner around here knows to be true. It was frustrating because there were some important issues that I wanted to address, but didn't feel I could because I couldn't prove them. However, I don't think this was because I was using the internet to find sources. Instead, I think it was more because the issue I was writing about is one that is most serious out here in the hinterlands, away from the major news agencies. I think this was also a reality of the type of research I was doing. This paper is more of a sociology paper and less a legal interpretation paper. The last article I wrote was about the 4th Amendment and the US Supreme Court's ruling on dog sniffs. Because it was much more law oriented I didn't have problems getting sources for it.

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