How to Write a Law Review Article?

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

21 min

2

04.28.2022

How to Write a Law Review Article?

What Is a Law Review Article?

Law review articles are secondary research sources for legal study. They thoroughly evaluate and critique legal issues and include copious references to other sources, including primary sources.

Law reviews are frequently edited by law students in collaboration with teachers. They frequently concentrate on new or emerging areas of law and can provide more critical commentary than a legal encyclopedia or ALR item.

Writing a law review article is dedicated to a specific theme, such as real estate or environmental law. It will incorporate the results of a wide range of panels and symposia on relevant legal law review article topics in its contents.

Read on to learn how to write a law review article that will receive excellent feedback during peer review. 

How to Write a Law Review Article

These are the basics of writing a law review article:

Step 1: Decide upon a relevant research question. 

Before you write a law review article, decide upon a topic. You can start with a general area — and it doesn’t even have to be an area in which you plan to practice. The area should interest you, though, as you’ll spend months on this review. 

Immerse yourself in various sub-topics of the general area — then, select a sub-topic and start writing down unanswered questions that you could address in your law review. If you’re having a hard time choosing a topic, your professor can point you in the right direction. 

Step 2: Make a list of all of your headings and subheadings.

Determine which small questions must be answered before you address the larger question. For example, to answer the larger issue of how to file a consumer lawsuit, you must first answer the following questions (simply make a list of all the questions that spring to mind):

  • Who is entitled to launch a consumer case, and who is not?
  • Is it possible for a company to register a consumer complaint?
  • What academic papers do you need to file a consumer complaint?
  • What reasons does the court have to deny my application?
  • How long will it take for the case to be decided?
  • What kind of remuneration may be expected?

And so forth. Of course, there may be more inquiries. Come up with a few more questions on your own. These questions will form the headings and subheadings in the end.

Step 3: Create the Basic Framework.

As a skeleton framework, write down all of the headings and subheadings. This is what this part of the writing process should look like:

Plan of the writing process

Step 4: Fill Out the Outline. 

Now that your skeleton is complete, you can start filling in the blanks with responses to these specific questions. Remember that any outline may have more questions added to it, and the possibilities are endless. If you wish to write more and respond to relevant questions, you should do so in a separate review. 

Caution: Do not begin writing law review articles or researching without completing your skeleton framework. This will save you time and help you become a more organized thinker.

Step 5: Review and Modify.

Many folks miss this critical step. First, use a spell-checker and a grammar checker on your article. Amazing software is available. Ask a friend or a mentor to help if you can't afford one. Edit, remove and add material to improve your article. 

A Deeper Look: How to Research for a Law Review Article

How to write a law journal article? Above, we mentioned that the first step is to research and select a topic. But there is an overwhelming amount of legal resources available; where should you place your focus? 

Westlaw, LexisNexis, and HeinOnline are the most popular online databases for finding law review articles. Westlaw and LexisNexis require a password, whereas HeinOnline is a licensed database that may be accessed by anybody with a valid Loyola ID and password. 

Most journal academic articles in Westlaw and LexisNexis are in HTML format, whereas HeinOnline publications are in PDF format. Because PDF documents are a replica of the original print version, they have correct citations and page numbers. HeinOnline also has the advantage of including every issue of each journal it indexes, whereas LexisNexis and Westlaw's collections often only go back to the early 1980s.

LegalTrac, a legal periodicals indexing service, is readily accessible to anybody with a valid Loyola ID and password. It is another subscription database useful for finding law review articles. LegalTrac includes thousands of law-related articles from general interest magazines and all major law reviews, legal newspapers, specialty law publications, bar association journals, and bar association journals. 

Using an index to locate law journal articles without a citation is the most effective method. Fortunately, various law review article indexes allow you to search by author, subject, and title. While both print and online sources are given below, most of your research needs will be met using online indexes, including:

  • Index to Current Law
  • Legal Opinions and Journals on Google Scholar
  • Legal Periodicals & Books Index
  • Retrospective Index to Legal Periodicals, 1908-1981
  • Index of Legal Resources (Westlaw version of Current Law Index)

How to Format a Law Review Article

Not sure how to format a law review article? Here are some formatting tips to keep in mind:

General Formatting

  • A title page or abstract is required for a standard format of a law review article. How to write a good law review title? Make it attractive to your target audience by avoiding law jargon in the title
  • Your article must be in English (unless the journal expressly permits non-English submissions).
  • Send your manuscript as one file, with tables, figures, and appendices (Word, RTF, or PDF files are accepted).
  • The pages should be 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Use a single column with justified margins.
  • Text—Times New Roman 12 pt. or equivalent font
  • 10 pt. Times or equivalent font for footnotes
  • Use high-resolution images encoded as PostScript (eps) if figures are provided.
  • Copyediting should be done.
  • If possible, no page should have more than a quarter of the page empty.

Line Spacing and Indenting

  • Unless otherwise specified, all paragraphs are indented. Indent at least two em-spaces.
  • Single space your text.
  • Except for lengthy quotations, theorems, assertions, and special remarks, do not include extra space between paragraphs. Separate them from the surrounding material with extra space above and below.
  • Every line of text should be left-justified (i.e., flush with the left margin). Whenever possible, it should be justified (i.e., flush with the right margin). When possible, the justification is good. Right margins flush intra-, and inter-word spacing is preferable to jagged right margins. Choose the option that appeals to you the most.

Footnotes

  • Footnotes should be inserted at the bottom of the page, not at the end of the paper. 
  • Footnotes should be in 10 point Times New Roman or similar type, single-spaced, and separated by a footnote separator rule (line). 
  • Footnote numbers or symbols must appear after punctuation in the text. 
  • Long footnotes should usually go in an appendix. 
  • All footnotes should be left and right-justified unless otherwise specified (i.e., flush with the right margin).

Tables and Graphs

  • Tables and figures should be placed in the document close to text references. 
  • Avoid using small types in tables. 
  • Tables and figures should have 1.5 inches left, right, top, and bottom margins (3.8 cm).

Mathematics

  • Italicize Roman characters used as variables. 
  • Italicizing Roman characters in multi-letter function names is optional. 
  • Whenever possible, subscripts and superscripts should be smaller than the main text.

Creating the Roadmap of a Law Review

Any law student could benefit from tips for writing a law review article roadmap. The first paragraph of your law review will function as a “Roadmap” or "umbrella" paragraph. To answer the question, “how to write a law review intro,” you summarize the relevant field of law into a road map that shows the reader what your memo will cover.

Start Big and Narrow It Down.

Start with a broad overview of the law, and then narrow it down as necessary. Try to divide your explanation of the law into discrete factors that you will explore in your memo. These "sub-issues" or "components" are like ingredients; they form the law when combined. By properly distinguishing and identifying each element of the law, you give the reader a much better grasp of how the law works and, as a result, of the chances of success in the specific situation at hand.

Number the Components

When presenting these discrete components of the law in your umbrella, number them to ensure that the reader recognizes the sub-issues as distinct from one another. In a perfect world, you'll organize your discussion in the same order as you did in your umbrella paragraph. The more clearly you define the rule and its components in your umbrella, the easier it will be for your reader to follow your analysis.

Explain the Terms of Success. 

Your umbrella paragraph is a good spot to tell the reader about the standard of review or how a court will evaluate each part of the legislation. In this regard, it is critical that you clearly explain what is required to succeed. To succeed, should you meet the conditions of each sub-issue? Or do you use a balancing test that just needs you to analyze each component and weigh the data as a whole? Who bears the onus of proof? Is this a legal or a factual issue? You don't have to respond to all of these queries, but they are the kinds of procedural concerns that should be addressed in your umbrella paragraph.

Include Additional Info and a Table of Contents. 

You may include more information beyond a description of the law and the standard of review as you see fit, but don't get too specific because you'll go over each of the sub-issues in greater depth below. A table of contents would also be great to include, although it’s not necessary. 

How to Create a Reference List for a Law Research Paper

All of the sources used in the research work are listed on the reference page. Whether the material comes from a book, a website, or a journal, it must be properly cited so that the reader can find it. A writer must make sure that every source used in the paper is noted. After paraphrasing, pupils tend to remember about referring, according to experience. As a result, the required online pages are no longer available, and book pages are no longer available.

The following are the essential needs for the reference page:

  • Each reference should be prepared in accordance with the style guide in use (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) The features of the styles should not be blended.
  • The authors' last names should be alphabetical on the reference page.
  • The reference page should list all of the resources utilized in work. If one of the items in the list is missing, the paper may be considered plagiarized.
  • It's important to pay attention to proper formattings, such as spacing and indentation.

An APA citation is given under the example of a law review article found later in this guide. 

Putting together the Final Draft

Before preparing your final draft, try to put your article aside for a while. This makes it easier to see any gaps or errors in your work objectively.

Rethinking your ideas, refining your arguments, restructuring paragraphs, and rewording sentences are all examples of revising. You may need to expand on your thoughts, provide more proof to back up your claims, or remove content that isn't essential.

Read your paper aloud to yourself. This can sometimes make it easier to see awkward or unclear writing. Then, have another person read the document and let you know if anything is unclear or perplexing.

Add Other Necessary Parts

  • Scope: Statement of the Research Paper's Problem/Aim/Scope: This may entail presenting a skeleton of your topic. Simply put, you must define your "research problem" under this subheading.
  • Limitations: This aims to limit the extent of your research topic - the things you don't want to include in your paper, such as any other connected issue or areas that could broaden the scope of your research. So this is where you limit the scope of your topic to what you would desire as a researcher.
  • Hypotheses/Research Questions: There is a significant distinction between "research questions" and developing a "hypothesis" for a research article. As a researcher, you would ask research questions to learn more about your subject. On the other hand, a hypothesis is a presumption or assumption that is used to further one's research. 
  • Chapterization: Your research should be divided into logical flow by chapters, which should mirror what your research questions are asking. The number of chapters should not be fewer than three, and they should be structured in a logical order. Your first chapter might be an introduction to your issue, followed by a second chapter that answers your concerns about the area, and a third chapter that compares and contrasts your topic.

Example of Law Review Article 

Want to see a law review in action? Check out this law review article example!

Law review article example

Monopoli, Paula A. “Marriage, Property and [in]Equality: Remedying ERISA's Disparate Impact on Spousal Wealth.” The Yale Law Journal - Home, 4 Nov. 2009.

Other Legal Writing: How to Write a Law Review Note

Introduction

How to write a law review introduction for a note? It should include a description of the problem, a thesis statement, and a roadmap of the argument that will be presented throughout the body of the argument.

Part I

This section should be used to provide a general overview of your Note's background material, on which the later analysis will be built. A basic and broad discussion of the major topics relating to your topic should be included, as should an educational component that informs your readers about all they need to know to grasp your Note. Remember to write in a way that a reader who is unfamiliar with your Note topic can easily comprehend when you write this section.

Part II

Part II: This section should provide an overview of the important cases and statutes that will be discussed in your Note. It will contain the bulk of your analysis of where the law stands at the time of writing. Consider the following example: if your issue is a circuit split, Part II would be the section in which you would describe the contradictory holdings and rationales. Another option is to discuss what other commentators have said about your issue and the cases you are discussing.

Part III

This section will present your analyses and viewpoints on the subject matter. You will explain why you believe the cases/commentary you analyzed are incorrect and what you believe should be done in their place. Describe which side of a circuit split is preferable and why. Include your unique views and suggestions in Part III as well as the conclusion of your Note, which should be included in Part II.

Conclusion

The final section of the research report should be a summary of the key points of the legal study. In contrast, the conclusion should not be made up of terms from the main body or the opening. Maintaining logical consistency with the arguments offered in the main section is crucial. In addition, no new arguments are allowed in this area.

Additional note: If you aren’t sure how to write a law review note, it may appear logical to write the introduction first. However, it is practically impossible to do so before the main body of the paper has a solid thesis. As a result, the introduction should be written when the author knows where his or her argument will lead. To put it another way, it should be written after the main part is finished.

What Else to Keep in Mind While Writing a Law Note

In Parts I-III, you might want to consider utilizing subheadings. They aid in the organization of your Note and show the reader where you intend to go. Second, at the beginning and end of each of your portions, you might want to include extremely brief roadmap paragraphs or transition sentences.

"In this section, we'll talk about..." "The following section examines..." While this will repeat your roadmap paragraph in the Introduction and at the endings or starts of the other portions, it will direct the reader and demonstrate that you know where you're headed with your argument.

Endnotes

Endnotes are a great place to put the information you don't want to include in the text. Endnotes can be used as a secondary source of information (in law journal articles are frequently longer than the main text). The endnotes should follow the Bluebook's 19th edition. Make sure your Bluebooking is up to date!

Because you will have no prior knowledge of the subject, it will be difficult to include a sentence without an endnote in Parts I and II of your Note. While Part III could theoretically include some unique thought, this will not be the case if you choose a viewpoint mentioned in Part II. Because Part III contains little or no new material, your endnotes will be filled with "See supra" and "See id." sentences.

All of your side concerns should be included in the endnotes. Around 70-80 endnotes should be expected. You won't have time to fill in the citations once you've completed writing your Note, so make sure you do your endnotes as you go.

Prepare yourself

If you’re wondering how to write an analysis for a law review article, review the previous student Notes. Reading previously produced Notes will help you become more comfortable with the Note format and organization, as well as the writing quality and citations required of competitors. 

Keep in mind that your major virtues are clarity and concision. Make an effort to change up your tone and phrasing. It's important not to over-quote from the sources. Rather, write so that the reader can see a sophisticated comprehension of the struggle even if you're quoting from a source, and attempt to express the point in your own words and voice. 

More Legal Writing: How to Write a Law Review Comment

Learn Which Cases Produce the Best Comments 

When writing a law review comment,  you’ll talk about a specific case and its legal implications. A superior comment is made in response to a situation that satisfies one of the following criteria:

  • There is a conflict between the opinions of the lower court and the opinions of the appeal court.
  • It's all about first impressions.
  • It is legally significant and has a significant amount of disagreement.

What about how to write a law review comment on a district court opinion? Well, this is not recommended since it lacks precedential relevance and contains insufficient content for a comment.

Consider Whether the Court Was Correct. 

Consider these arguments before writing for a law review comment:

  • The case was erroneously decided. Show why the court was incorrect.
  • Although the court is correct, it is correct for the wrong reasons. Demonstrate how the court made the wrong decisions and explain what should have been done instead.
  • The court missed the point. Examine a point in the case that you believe the judge overlooked.
  • The decision of the court is correct. Make sure to address any potential counter-arguments.

Check to See if Your Comment Has Been Preempted. 

The most crucial step in the law publishing process is preemption checking. A thorough preemption check ensures that a comment is unique. The more original a comment is, the more likely it is to be published.

You are not preempted if: 

  1. You find a sample article on your topic, but it was written years ago, and new and exciting themes have emerged since.
  2. You read a rebuttal article on your problem.
  3. You find an article on your topic. This is usually a summary, with your comment offering more detail.
  4. You find an article with a similar beginning or context. A similar opening is fine if the rest of your essay is unique.

If you find a recent essay on your topic that makes the same case and comes to the same conclusion as you, you are generally preempted.

Conclusion

If you follow the tips listed above and read through the example we provided, you’ll be well on your way to writing a good law review article. But if you want a phenomenal article, you can get paper writing assistance from legal writing experts at Studybay — with this service, you can get help with topic selection, research, writing, citations, and more. 

FAQs

How long does it take to write a law review article?

The response is heavily influenced by the word count, the writer's prior experience writing law review articles, the topic of the article, and the writer's competence. It is believed that an experienced writer, if writing in their area(s) of competence, can probably create a high-quality law review paper of 20-25,000 words in less than 40 hours.

Who can write a law review note?

Aspiring Law students and Law teachers are both eligible to write Law review notes. However, in most cases, Law students write review notes as part of their study plan or when they are pursuing a Doctorate. They tend to work towards publishing as many law review articles as possible. We at Studybay have experts who can write them for you!

How many pages is a law review article?

The length of the article is determined by the subject matter. The gold standard for legal scholarship, however, has remained fairly unchanged over time: an essay in an academic journal of approximately 40-60 law review pages with approximately 200-250 footnotes (40-60 law review pages with 200-250 footnotes). Anything less than this is consigned to the ignominy of being a "plus."

What makes a good law review?

It should be a general and broad examination of the key topics connected to your topic that informs your readers about everything they need to know in order to comprehend your evaluation. It must be well-documented and unique. For example, while a survey of previous literature on a given subject can make a great term paper, it is unlikely to provide enough novel analysis for a strong review.

How do you write an abstract for a law review article?

An abstract submission, which serves as a synopsis of what you want to write/research on the topic, is typically submitted before the whole and final article. The peer reviewer can use this as a filter. As a result, you must provide a concise outline of the research topic and purpose in the abstract (approximately 200-300 words).

What is the difference between a law review article and a comment or note?

Notes or Comments are works of legal scholarship written by law students, typically during their second year of law school and their first year of membership in a law journal. A Note or Comment may be selected for publication in the author's law journal. By contrast, articles are often authored by non-students, such as law professors or subject-matter experts.

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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