Unlike most other academic publications, law journals are run by students. Last semester I became a staff editor (SE) at the Journal of International Law and Politics (JILP), which meant I was charged with finding sources cited in articles, locating referenced portions of those sources and checking the citation format. I’ve loved every minute of it, so in mid-February, I interviewed to be one of four executive editors.
For two reasons, this interview was unlike any I have ever had:
- I am friends with most of the interviewers. Although the SEs are only responsible for working three hours per week, I genuinely enjoy spending time with my fellow journal members and consequently, do most of my homework and my on-campus socializing in the journal office.
- The Board did not ask me the typical stock interview questions. I was interviewing for their jobs, so they wanted to know how I thought I could improve on their work. They asked me what I would do, not why I wanted to do it. They knew I was capable; they wanted to see if I would excel. It was, embarrassingly, the most fun I have ever had at an interview.
I did not have to wait long to hear back. Within a few hours, I received a call from the editor in chief congratulating me on my selection.
As an EE, I will be in charge of the journal’s footnotes. This is more important than it may sound: footnotes are the foundation upon which a reliable article rests. They bolster the argument, situate it within the academic landscape, and give the article – and the journal – credibility. The EEs also, because they supervise office hours, form the strongest relationships with the new staff editors. The current EEs have played an important role of making the journal a welcoming community within law school, and I look forward to doing the same for the next batch of SEs.
My one-year tenure starts rights after spring break, but it feels as though it has already begun. Now when I walk in the journal office, I’m walking into my office. When I’m speaking with the new editor-in-chief or notes editors, we’re discussing how we can improve upon our journal. It is empowering and exciting.