Looking for First-Rate Student Notes:

For the fourth edition of my Academic Legal Writing book, I'd like to include an entire student-written article -- with comments (in the margins or in between paragraphs) on my part -- to use as a good example for readers. To be optimal, the article should be (1) very well-written, (2) very well-reasoned, (3) 40 law review pages or shorter (shorter would be better), (4) preferably on a topic that readers would find interesting, and (5) written when the author was still a student (though it need not have been denominated a student Note or Comment). I would also of course ask the author and (if necessary) the journal for permission to reprint and comment on the piece, and some of my comments will likely be a bit critical. But my goal is to find an article that's so good that the criticisms will be very few, and most of the comments will be an explanation of why a particular paragraph or argument works well, not of why it doesn't.

Can any of you recommend such an article that you have objectively reviewed, and that you think is excellent? Many thanks.

Le Messurer (mail):
And the compensation will be.....?
5.31.2009 3:44pm
Angela Poliquin (mail):
I would like to offer the following note, published in 2004, for your consideration.

Kromko v. City of Tucson: Use of Public Funds to Influence the Outcomes of Elections

Thank you!
5.31.2009 3:58pm
Interested party:
R. Stephen McNeill, Note, In a Class by Themselves: A Proposal to Incorporate Tribal Courts Into the Federal Court System Without Compromising Their Unique Status as "Domestic Dependent Nations", 65 WASH. &LEE L. REV. 283 (2008).

This is a first-rate piece that won a writing award and provoked a professor to write a response piece. Unfortunately, it is a bit long, but it is still an excellent example of student scholarship. Thank you!
5.31.2009 4:02pm
You may try student winners of Burton Awards for fodder:
5.31.2009 4:53pm
An excellent student note from the Harvard Law Review

GuestAccount, please save the trolling for AboveTheLaw.
5.31.2009 4:57pm
JimmyL (mail):
Scribes Society of Legal Writers gives out awards for student notes/comments. They may have some that are worthwhile.
5.31.2009 5:31pm
I found Paul Crane's 'True Threats' and the Issue of Intent, 92 Va L Rev 1225 (2006) useful and enjoyable. It was heavily cited in the recent cert petition in US v. Parr.
5.31.2009 5:35pm
I stumbled on this Note via a First Circuit case that cited it. It was very well done, but also I thought had some points that could be tightened up by a thoughtful critique. I also don't necessarily agree with all of it, but it was well done. (And it is the kind of topic a student could tackle.)

Scott Keller, Judicial Jurisdiction Stripping Masquerading as Ripeness: Eliminating the Williamson County State Litigation Requirement for Regulatory Takings Claims

85 Tex. L. Rev. 199 (2006)
5.31.2009 7:15pm
Every name is taken!!! (mail):
My Complex Litigation professor got a Supreme Court clerkship and a tenure-track position at NYU with the following Note:

Troy McKenzie, Sovereign Immunity in Bankruptcy: Breaking the Seminole Tribe Barrier, 75 New York University Law Review 199 (2000)

The material may be complex (and perhaps too ambitious for all but the most brilliant students), but it really is an amazing student piece that illustrates a narrow but important topic that can blossom into a research agenda (he is now publishing an article on judicial independence in bankruptcy in the Stanford Law Review).
5.31.2009 7:47pm
Register This:
5.31.2009 9:24pm
Harvard Fan:
I have to agree with the 2nd commentator, about the Harvard "Never Again" note published last spring. Usually Harvard Law Review notes are anonymous, but on various blogs the author of this amazing note was identified as Phil Telfeyan, whose status as an up-and-coming leader of the profession is reflected by his current clerkship for D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown.

For your convenience, you can find blog commentary here, here, here, here,
and here.
5.31.2009 10:25pm
DCTenor1 (www):
In addition to being hopelessly haughty, the Harvard note doesn't sound like the kind of thing that you're looking for. It cites virtually no cases, and is more of an exercise in philosophy than in legal analysis.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would propose the article I wrote while a student at Georgetown. It's called "A Decent Proposal: The Constitutionality of Indecency Regulation on Cable and Direct Broadcast Satellite Services." It has been cited by a few other papers, and it was assigned as recommended reading in a telecommunications law class at Penn State last year.

It's definitely got a lot of sex -- it will keep the kiddies quite interested.

By the way, I heavily relied on your Academic Legal Writing book in drafting the piece (you even got a mention in my author's note). I also found especially helpful your section on drafting query letters -- I could send you the letter I used, if you like!

5.31.2009 11:14pm
I suggest Abby Marie Mollen, Comment, In Defense of the "Hazardous Freedom" of Controversial Student Speech,
102 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1501 (2008), linked to her
6.1.2009 12:33am
Mikhail Koulikov (mail):
As a good example of an article that just happens to be published in a legal journal - but is an extremely good example of a student taking what they know and like, and thinking about it critically:

Daniels, J. (2008). Lost in translation: Anime, moral rights and market failure. Boston University Law Review, 88, 709-744.

In terms of its public (rather than scholarly) impact - as in, getting a legal journal article noticed and discussed by people who have never before - and will likely never again read a legal journal article - this absolutely trumps anything cited in a court decision.

(though in my opinion, and certainly from the point of view of academic publishing in general, the fact that it matters whether a law review article's author is a professor or a student is yet another in the long list of reasons why law/legal studies as an academic field exists in pretty much an alternate universe from the one we are all in.)

- Mikhail Koulikov
6.1.2009 2:07am
Cory Potts (mail):
Since "student" wasn't qualified in your request, I hope reply will not face immediate rejection (or worse, derision). I am an undergraduate at the University of Washington and currently writing my English thesis, and since I am not pursuing an English degree, my teacher gave me considerable freedom to choose a thesis topic. In the paper, I attack the Law and Literature movement as insufficiently 'interdisciplinary' and go one to propose an unlikely contribution, which attaches the ideology behind the rules of evidence to New Historicism (current fad in literary studies). The paper has, of course, not been published, but with some help, could work in your book? Maybe you could append the chapter and add a special section for work by undergraduates?
6.1.2009 3:05am
The comments inspired by this post are weirder than I expected.

Anyway, the following article is better than most of the lawprof articles on the written description requirement in patent law, and it's student article I've ever found helpful for its ideas (as opposed to its collection of citations). Ajeet Pai, The Low Written Description Bar for Software, 94 Va. L. Rev. 457 (2008)
6.1.2009 9:56am
anonprof (mail):
Eugene--I once had a professor tell me the best student note he'd ever read was Paul Berman's "Rats, Pigs, and Statutes on Trial," 69 NYU L Rev 288 (1994). But it may not fit all your criteria.
6.1.2009 10:29am
Professor Volokh,
I would recommend the following article 22 Berkeley J. Gender L. &Just. 225 mainly for two reasons: 1. the topic is likely of interest to most law students; 2. the author argues effectively, but there are specific ways in which her argument could be improved.
6.2.2009 1:33am

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