Finding Purpose: Perspective from a 'Non-Elite' Journal

10 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017 Last revised: 19 May 2017

See all articles by Jonathan F. Will

Jonathan F. Will

Mississippi College - School of Law

Date Written: December 15, 2016


This essay was a contribution to Touro Law Review’s special issue dealing with the future of student-edited law journals. Participation in this special issue forced me to gain a new perspective in my roles as a law school administrator and as advisor to the Law Review. Given the challenges faced by “non-elite” journals when trying to play the publication game in legal academics, this piece explores some of the purposes that law journals serve within an institution, and possible areas for improvement.

The three areas in which I focus include: (1) advancing the understanding and development of the law; (2) providing learning opportunities for law students; and (3) promoting institutional reputation. I explore these goals through the lens of (a) using annual symposia to attract scholars with timely topics, (b) the question of whether to institute a peer-review process, and (c) striking the appropriate balance of print v. online presence. With regard to the question of peer review, I suggest an avenue through which schools might dedicate an issue to the actual practice of law while using practitioners to help identify topics and serve as peer reviewers. This approach would serve many purposes, including quality assurance and networking opportunities for students. I conclude that student-edited law journals do good work, but that journals at “non-elite” schools have to think outside the box to ensure that they remain relevant players in the legal academic publishing game.

Keywords: Legal Scholarship, student-edited law journals, legal education

JEL Classification: I20, I23

Suggested Citation

Will, Jonathan F., Finding Purpose: Perspective from a 'Non-Elite' Journal (December 15, 2016). Touro Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2017; Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2017-02. Available at SSRN:

Jonathan F. Will (Contact Author)

Mississippi College - School of Law ( email )

151 East Griffith Street
Jackson, MS 39201
United States
601.925.7195 (Phone)


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