Professor Leora Harpaz
Western New England College School of Law
GUIDE TO WRITING A STUDENT LAW REVIEW NOTE
For approximately 10 years I served as the faculty advisor to the Western New England Law Review. During that period I wrote a series of memoranda on various aspects of the student note writing process. The memos cover the subjects of searching for a note topic, evaluating potential topics, organizing a note, preparing an outline of a note, and writing first, second and third drafts of a student note. I am making those memos available here because they may be of use to current members of the Western New England Law Review and law review members at other law schools.
The first memo addresses the issue of note topic selection. It discusses the general characteristics of a student law review note and the methods available for identifying potential note topics.
The second memo addresses the issue of how to evaluate a potential student note topic. It describes the process used to prepare a Topic Comparison Report (TCR) in which a student compares the strengths and weaknesses of two potential note topics. The memo describes the research process used to evaluate a topic and provides an outline of the subjects that need to be covered in the TCR. While the specific details of the TCR process may only used by the Western New England Law Review, the process and criteria for topic evaluation described in the memo are similar to the process that must be followed by all students who plan to write a student note.
The third memo contains a sample TCR that students who need to prepare such a report can use to guide their efforts.
The next memo describes the process for preparing an outline of a note prior to commencing the process of writing a first draft. The outline memo also describes the way in which a student note is organized. A related memo addresses only the subject of note organization without discussing other aspects of the outlining process.
The final series of memos addresses the writing of the note. Separate memos describe the first, second and third drafts of the note.