The University of Western Ontario’s law school has finally secured the right to publish its own student-run law review. Called the Western Journal of Legal Studies, the first issue should be published online in December and is reportedly set to be stuffed full of articles by students, as well as national and international colleagues, with a few award-winning articles thrown in the mix.
“The opportunity to work on a student-run law review is an essential part of a legal education which was lacking in Western law,” says editor-in-chief Ben Tinholt. “By exposing the students to the world of academia, a law review helps produce graduates who are not just trained for a legal vocation, but also experienced the in the academic side of legal studies.”
It was this sort of clear thought that helped push the proposal through in February of this year. The fight for it began in 2009 when a dedicated group of upper-year students started to push for the publication. At that point, Western was one of the few schools in Canada without its own law review, and remained so when the faculty rejected the initial bid.
“Most of [the students involved in the original project] were in 3L and didn’t want the project to end when they graduated,” says co-editor-in-chief Lisa Di Valentino, one of the many who took up the torch. The following year, the junior members worked together to revamp the original proposal before inviting fellow law students to attend a general meeting and sign the proposition.
“We had quite a large turnout and managed to get around 50 signatures from students in all three years, which indicated the strong level of support from the student body,” says Di Valentino.
And with a little help from enthusiastic faculty members — including dean Ian Holloway, associate dean Michael Lynk, and a clutch of professors who volunteered as advisers — the new proposal proved to be “very comprehensive and well thought-out,” according to Lynk.
Its success lay in the strategy of their writing, which successfully anticipated concerns from the faculty and implemented succession protocols so it would not fall into the laps of professors. It involved many meetings, tiny tweaks, and assurances of quality control delivered by a competent team, but the outcome was worth the efforts.
“Since then, we’ve been busying ourselves appointing editors and calling for submissions,” says Di Valentino.
“We are obviously very proud of this achievement, and look forward to the challenge of making sure that the journal is a truly first-rate academic journal,” says Tinholt.
The Western Journal of Legal Studies will come out annually, with between five and 10 articles in each release. All issues will be published online and include articles covering areas of law.
The deadline to submit articles for the December issue is May 31.