Notes & Comments
The Notes & Comments Department (N&C) of the California Law Review (CLR) selects student pieces for publication. In each annual volume, CLR publishes approximately twelve student comments.
Students should e-mail their submissions to CLR's
Administrator, Maro Vidal-Manou. Please include:
(1) A double-spaced PDF file of your piece, including title and abstract
(2) A cover sheet with the following information:
i. The title of your piece
ii. Your class year
iii. Your contact information (telephone, email, address)
(3) A demographic information sheet, available only
Vidal-Manou. Please note that this sheet will be kept completely
separate from the submission and the cover sheet. This sheet is anonymous and
will be used for informational purposes only. It will not affect the
Department's publishing decisions.
Because of the strictly anonymous process that Notes & Comments uses to select student comments for publication, please do not include any information on your piece that would explicitly or implicitly identify you. For the same reason, submitting authors are prohibited from inquiring into the status of their comments of any Notes & Comments Editor and may only communicate with CLR's Administrator.
N&C has two submissions cycles. The submissions deadline for the spring semester is March 1st at 5 p.m. The submissions deadline for the fall semester is September 1st at 5 p.m. For recent graduates, the submission deadline for non-members is the first September 1 deadline after the date of their graduation. For CLR member graduates, the final submission deadline is the first March 1 deadline after the date of their graduation. Any submission received after either deadline will not be considered until the next submissions cycle. Please note, we only accept submissions from Berkeley Law JD or concurrent degree students. The deadlines are summarized below.
|Current Student||Recent Graduate|
Spring: Mar. 1
|The first March 1 after date of graduation|
Spring: March 1
|The first September 1 after date of graduation|
Berkeley Law students wishing to submit their student comments to CLR outside of their eligibility dates must submit their comments to the Articles Department.
Publishing and CLR Membership
Non-member student authors who are “publishing on” to CLR may become members of CLR so long as: (1) those authors submit their pieces by October 31 in the fall semester of their 3L years; (2) those authors are selected for publication by the March 1 of their 3L years; and (3) those authors fulfill the adjusted member work requirements as determined by the Managing Editor and relevant CLR personnel.
Notes & Comments employs an anonymous, consensus-based system for determining the student comments that will be selected for publication. We recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that student authors should receive neutral, unbiased, and fair consideration of their pieces, without political or personal considerations infecting the slotting process. As a result, the Notes & Comments Department employs a very strict anonymous process whereby no Notes & Comments Editor knows the identities of the authors being considered—and only those authors selected for publication are “identified” at the time of selection. Notes & Comments Editors may inadvertently discover the identities of authors during the review process, but they are expressly prohibited from using the author’s identity as a factor weighing for or against publication. If a Notes & Comments Editor becomes aware of an author’s identity and that awareness creates a real or perceived conflict of interest, that editor will recuse himself or herself from consideration of that piece.
CLR primarily publishes student comments. CLR also occasionally publishes student “casenotes.”
A comment is an academic analysis of a legal issue, debate, or problem. A comment’s classical format is a three-part structure in which the author will provide background for the analysis, the analysis itself, and then a legal or policy recommendation as to how to resolve the legal issue. A comment can comprise many different kinds of pieces, so long as they are somehow “legal” in nature (though we do welcome interdisciplinary pieces). For example, a comment could address a circuit split on an interpretation of a rule or a statute, or it could reference a recent political or legal debate and explore the implications and concerns around that debate. It could discuss novel legal theories for resolving social problems, or it could address the nature of legal education or legal institutions. Pieces may be geared toward theoretical legal philosophy or pragmatic, on-the-ground lawyering. CLR has chosen to set loose parameters on what counts as a sufficiently “legal” comment. The comments Notes & Comments selects for publication are, in general, 40-60 page papers which provide in-depth analyses of political and legal issues or legal scholarship. While many of the comments that we review are written through writing seminars or independent studies with professors, Berkeley Law students may submit any paper to be considered for publication so long as it has a sufficiently legal focus.
A casenote is a particular form of legal writing which analyzes the background and implications of one (usually recent) landmark decision. Casenotes tend to be shorter and more confined in their analyses than comments because they focus their discussions solely around single cases rather than bodies of laws. Casenotes are, in general, very rarely published by law reviews, and CLR has for some time elected not to publish casenotes.
CLR will not publish any comment that has been selected for publication by any other law review, journal, or magazine. Authors should under no circumstance submit comments to CLR that have already been accepted by another publication.
Notes & Comments considers the merits of the individual comments as well as other broader concerns, such as the department’s ability to publish comments that are best suited to the CLR publication process and that allow the department to publish on a wide range of legal fields and critical methodologies. As a result, if we have recently selected three international law pieces for publication, we may hold on a fourth so that we may have a breadth of scholarship. As to the merits of the pieces themselves, we tend to select pieces that are extremely well-researched; pieces that have a tight, focused topic; pieces that are careful to provide balanced analysis with arguments and counterarguments, without conclusory claims; and pieces that are written in a clear, engaging manner that would be appropriate for the broad-based readership of a general law review. We do not select comments on the basis for our own individual legal passions or our individual political orientations.
For tips on how to adapt a student seminar paper into a Comment, please consider the following tip sheet.
We strive to notify students of some determination within several weeks of an initial submission. If a piece is selected for publication, students will be notified by telephone call or e-mail. CLR sends out letters to authors who have not yet been selected for publication. Those letters inform authors that N&C either declines to publish their pieces, that N&C encourages the authors to make specific revisions to their pieces and resubmit them, or that N&C is still considering their pieces and that the pieces are being "held" pending decision. This is an anonymous process throughout and N&C Editors do not know the identities of the authors unless a piece is selected for publication. Consequently, the N&C Department will not respond to inquiries about or invitations to discuss individual pieces. If you have any questions about N&C, please contact CLR Administrator Maro Vidal-Manou.
Thank you. We look forward to reading your work!