To have your name appear in a law review that sits in the Library of Congress is a significant feat that even some of the most seasoned lawyers can’t claim.
A number of George Washington University undergraduates can, though: GW is one of just a handful of universities that has an undergraduate law review, alongside the likes of Columbia, Yale, Cornell and Dartmouth universities.
“It is a major research publication that holds the ranks as one of only six in the entire country, and I want the country and other universities to recognize that,” said Ethan Bursofsky, a junior and president of the GW Pre-Law Student Association who edits and oversees the review.
The entirely student-run review, which is published once per year, was established in 2010 with just two articles in its first issue. It has since grown: There were eight articles in its 2012 edition. Articles range from topics like immigration, human trafficking and education reform to international law, abortion, health care and more.
Chloe Colbert, a senior majoring in international affairs, and Chelsea Brewer, a junior majoring in criminal justice, are the co-directors behind the review. They oversee a team of about 10 writers—any undergraduate can submit a topic for a piece—and 15 to 20 editors and executive board members who participate in editing the review. Professors and professional attorneys also assist throughout the process.
Ms. Brewer, who is interested in criminal and intellectual property law, said she hopes to expand her knowledge of legal issues and act on her passion for education reform through the review. She wants others to have a similar experience.
“I want to encourage as many GW students as possible from various academic backgrounds to write for our law review,” she said.
Ms. Colbert, who wants to work in international development, agreed, adding students can participate in the review regardless of whether they want to go to law school.
That’s because the benefits are vast. For those who want to go to law school, participation on a law review “looks great” on an application, Mr. Bursofsky said.
“Additionally, and perhaps the biggest benefit, students who are in their undergraduate studies and working with this publication are far more ready for law school,” he said.
But those who don’t go to law school still have a great writing sample for a future employer, and more fodder for a résumé.
“Although the review’s guidelines are strict, it’s a great way for students to get published and express an interest in a legal field before they attend graduate school or enter the professional world,” Ms. Colbert said.
Added Ms. Brewer: “We are extremely dedicated to producing a successful and premier collection of undergraduate legal writing.”
Beyond the law review, the Pre-Law Student Association assists students in deciding whether they want to go to law school and what type of law they might practice. They lead members on tours of major national law firms, bring in nationally recognized attorneys and government officials and hold social events on campus to bring awareness to undergraduates interested in law.