Students initiate first undergrad law journal in the state

Students initiate first undergrad law journal in the state
Photo courtesy of Sophia Warner

By Logan Doctson | Contributing Writer

The first, and only, undergraduate law journal in the state is now stationed on The University of Alabama's campus. 

The Capstone Journal of Law and Public Policy is the brainchild of several pre-law students. While law schools across the country consistently publish journals and reviews, they're a rarity among undergraduate student bodies. 

Spencer Pennington, a junior majoring in math and philosophy, formulated the idea for the review last year. Now, serving as the journal's president, Pennington is joined in the project by vice presidents Asia Hayes, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and Spanish, and Sophia Warner, a junior majoring in international studies. 

Hayes, the chief operating officer for the journal, said the journal will aid in preparing undergraduate students for law school and give them a preliminary grasp on legal writing. 

"I think it will give us a deeper understanding of what legal writing looks like," Hayes said. "I think that it will create a good concept and editing school of what's necessary for law school, transitioning from undergraduate writing to law school writing."

The journal strives to live up to a set of goals in order to produce the best possible content. Students will reach for excellence in research and publishing a comprehensive law review, producing quality work and picking and choosing the best parts of each law review currently in publication. 

Currently, The Capstone Journal of Law and Public Policy is quite a large group with an executive board, a secretary, 12 editors (eight senior editors and four junior editors) and two publishers. Claire Faivre, a freshman majoring in international studies, explained her roles and duties as the secretary for the Law Review Board. 

“After being brought onto the Law Review Board, I worked closely with the rest of the journal to develop a succinct vision for the journal,” Faivre said. “I was also involved in the selection of the journal staff and serve primarily to formulate meeting agendas and record all meeting activities.” 

The defining feature of this law journal is that the University is one of the first colleges to have an undergraduate law journal, and this is the only undergraduate law journal in the state of Alabama. 

“The law journal is really exciting,” Pennington said. “It’s kind of a trend that has been picking up in the past few years with Columbia, Penn and a few other colleges, so it’s exciting to be able to provide that opportunity for undergraduate students at The University of Alabama.” 

Each publication will adhere to an overriding theme, the first of which has not been released yet, Faivre said. However, the law journal focuses their publication on matters of law and public policy specifically pertaining to the state of Alabama. The Capstone Journal of Law and Public Policy will begin accepting essay and article submissions from undergraduate students in the next few weeks. 

The fact that the journal is tailored to undergrads is abnormal, but a promising opportunity for students.

"That's a dynamic that most law journals don't have right now," Pennington said. 

The journal hopes to prepare its members for law school in more ways than one. 

"It prepares you for law school in a unique way," Pennington said. "It helps you prepare for legal research and legal writing."

The University offers a lot of great resources for pre-law students, and the law journal will become yet another resource for students, serving specifically to train students in the field of legal research, Faivre said. Additionally, the journal will require students to hone not only their writing skills, but also their editing capabilities.

"And of course, we are very excited to work with potential contributors as the journal progresses," Faivre said. 

Hayes said she hopes that the journal will thrive and grow.

"We have the population and the abilities to be players on the big stage," she said.

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