Southwestern Hosts the 60th Annual National Conference of Law Reviews
In March, law review and law journal editors from around the country gathered in Los Angeles to collaborate and discuss issues connected with student-edited publications at the 60th Annual National Conference of Law Reviews (NCLR), hosted by Southwestern. Approximately 250 student editors from 85 law schools representing over 100 different journals attended the event, which focused on "Keeping the Law Relevant" - exploring ways to maintain a publication's tradition of excellence while incorporating modern, 21st century enhancements.
While many law schools repeatedly send student editors to NCLR, often using it as a means of transitioning the new staff for the upcoming year, 18 of the schools in attendance had not sent students in prior years. This included Florida A&M University College of Law and American University Washington College of Law; with over a dozen legal journals on their campus, American University sent the most students of any law school this year.
"Our experience in Los Angeles was not only memorable, but truly educational and beneficial," said Loren Vasquez, Editor-in-Chief of the Florida A & M University Law Review. "I learned valuable lessons about managing a successful law review and made many meaningful connections with other hardworking and creative law students. The conference has inspired us to challenge ourselves and continue to improve by following the many superb examples we were shown."
Dean Susan Prager welcomed the students on the first night of the conference, noting that it had been 40 years since she began the same path when she was named Editor-in-Chief of the UCLA Law Review. She commended the students for taking on the role and told them to make the most of this opportunity. After the formal remarks, Dean Prager was also eager to speak with many of the students individually before the welcome event concluded.
The most popular panels at NCLR covered "How to Be an Effective Editor in Chief/Managing Editor," "Managing Your Journal or Managing People," and "How to Successfully Manage Your Relationships with Authors and Keep Your Publication on Schedule." Panels also discussed such areas as write-on competitions, hosting symposia, budgeting and working with a school's faculty/administration. These panels were presented by current and former editorial board members of the Southwestern Law Review and Southwestern Journal of International Law, as well as editorial board members from other journals, including Syracuse Law Review, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review and UMass Law Review; Southwestern staff and faculty; and sponsoring partners. An electronic version of the weekend's program, with a complete breakdown of panels and speakers, can be found online at www.swlaw.edu/nclr.
In addition, the program featured two prominent keynote speakers who both served as articles editors for their respective law review publications. At the SCRIBES Award Reception and Dinner, Southwestern alumnus Craig E. Gosselin '84, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Human Resources for Pacific Sunwear, spoke about the relevance of law review in his career path. From opening doors and helping him get his first job to the "soft-skills" he honed while on the editorial board, he shared on how those abilities made a lasting impression as well as how he still depends on them today.
"Serving as articles editor on Southwestern Law Review was my first experience managing people, and now I manage 50-60 people," he said. "It also helped me learn how to get along with people. That 'emotional intelligence' is very important, just as important as IQ. And last but certainly not least, it gave me a lot of confidence - the confidence I needed as I moved forward in the profession. I didn't realize it at the time, but now that I look back, serving on law review was vital to getting where I am today."
The Closing Dinner featured the Hon. Sandra Segal Ikuta of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Ikuta discussed the type of law review material that really influences the decision of a judge on the Ninth Circuit and how the scholarly work helps to support their decisions. She also amused the audience with short tales of her life before the bench, including serving as the editor of a martial arts magazine.
Altanese Phenelus, this year's President of the National Conference of Law Reviews and a third-year law student at Florida International University, said "For me, the highlight of the conference was the keynote address by Judge Ikuta of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was captivating! Her speech was instructive, yet entertaining."
Sponsored by Thomson Reuters Westlaw; Darby Printing Company; Fierstadt & Mans, LLP; Joe Christensen, Inc.; and The Sheridan Press, the majority of the conference was held at the OMNI Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. Attendees visited the Southwestern campus one afternoon for panels and a taste of the West Coast - lunch from the In-n-Out truck! Dean Prager also welcomed students to visit her office and see the beautiful city view on the terrace.
For those who were visiting from out-of-town, several excursions were offered one afternoon/evening, from a visit to the Disney Resort in Anaheim to select stops around Hollywood and the Miracle Mile. The most popular excursion was a shuttle to Venice Beach and Santa Monica, where attendees from the chilly east coast and Midwest particularly enjoyed the 70 degree weather and laid back atmosphere that March afternoon.
"We tried to build a conference where the participants would appreciate learning from one another by seeing what has worked at other law schools," shared Robert Mena, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. "The feedback we received afterward showed that we did just that. This collaborative environment helped create a family-like atmosphere - the students developed relationships by seeing that they were all on this journey together. And even after we experienced an earthquake, many of them didn't want to go back home to the snow and 15 degree weather!"