Law journals and law reviews are interchangeable titles for scholarly publications sponsored by law schools and published by law students. Law reviews and law journals have been around the United States for at least a century. Most of the articles are written by lawyers currently practicing law, or by law scholars and educators.
Law students participate in writing for the journals as well. They will write comments on current cases; note changes taking place in the legal profession or in case law, and write law book reviews. Journals are often published entirely by students with oversight offered through faculty advisors.
These all-important documents are valued in the legal system due to detailed analysis of a particular legal subject, as well as the expertise of the authors and critical notes of students. The research that goes into a Law Journal article will often offer deep insight into the subject. The time committed to research, analysis, and reporting is part of what makes the articles so valuable. Many of the works are created by seasoned lawyers who bring years of experience to their critical review.
Law reviews and law journals are typically broken down by several subcategories. There are article indexes available online and in law libraries that list these categories. Dividing the subjects into smaller subjects helps researchers pinpoint their desired topic. One law review, for instance, may focus on women's issues, while another will focus on particular cultural issues such as the National Black Law Journal. Law journals may discuss other types of societal concerns such as foreign policy or entertainment law. Each journal offers insight into its defined subject matter.
Students will often refer to law journals in their own research as current or historical authoritative sources. Even though the backbone of our legal system is the Constitution, the law is never stagnant. It is always changing and being redefined. One of the ways this takes place is through scholarly review and research on particular issues. It is through law journals and reviews that legal issues are discussed further. What may have been a legal benchmark from the foundation of our country might change due to new evidence, public opinion, or new precedents brought to light through careful examination and reporting.
Law students are encouraged to participate in their school's law journal. It allows students to sharpen their critical thinking skills as they discuss current issues. It helps develop important writing skills. Engaging in conversation about the issues progresses a law student's use of logic and verbal skills by participating in debate and defense of their position on a subject. It is also a credible credential on a student's resume.
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