Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

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minnesota_kid
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Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby minnesota_kid » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:21 am

The school is telling us to put some serious thought into topic choice before getting back. Is there anything you wish you knew about the process before picking a topic?

Thanks in advance.

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kalvano
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby kalvano » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:18 am

I just picked mine by searching Westlaw with a key word that I wanted to write about, and telling it to look for that word within like 50 or 100 words of "first impression".

That worked pretty well. Make sure it's something you're interested in writing about if you can.

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jmhendri
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby jmhendri » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:04 am

Get a list of at least a half dozen or so topics and then go talk to a few professors about their thoughts on the topics. And get advice from 3Ls about which professors were the most helpful as faculty advisers. A good note adviser can make a big difference.

Also, cross reference topics you're considering with a Google news search. The sexiest topics tend to be the ones that are the most relevant to current practitioners. But also avoid something that's too current and wouldn't be relevant a few months from now.

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alicrimson
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby alicrimson » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:46 pm

Is it bad that I have back burnered this process during OCI internet stalker prep season? I have a rough idea. It's one provided by a professor; however, I haven't reached out to him yet and have only informed our editor that this is likely what Ii will be writing on and he is holding it for me.

hiima3L
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby hiima3L » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:35 pm

Circuit splits/cases going to SCOTUS are easy ones. Check this site: http://splitcircuits.blogspot.com/

Comparative law between different jurisdictions, countries, etc.

Read the news and find timely stories and think about the legal issues and implications.

Even though there are articles on an unbelievable amount of things, there aren't articles on an unbelievable amount of things as well. For instance, I wrote a paper on a 135 year old statute almost everyone knows about that had 10,000+ cases citing it, yet not one journal article about it.

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ilovesf
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby ilovesf » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:36 pm

tagging, because I haven't thought about this yet at all.

target
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby target » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:32 pm

also tagging.

I emailed to couple professors to solicit their advice, but other than that, I have been clueless.

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istara
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby istara » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:40 pm

Our proposals were due a week ago. I just rambled about some general area of law and it was approved. I then spoke to a professor about it, and he put a million holes in it (lesson learned: speak to the professors before writing your topic proposal). Good luck to everyone also trying to choose!

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tstyler98
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby tstyler98 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:59 am

hiima3L wrote:Circuit splits/cases going to SCOTUS are easy ones. Check this site: http://splitcircuits.blogspot.com/

Comparative law between different jurisdictions, countries, etc.

Read the news and find timely stories and think about the legal issues and implications.

Even though there are articles on an unbelievable amount of things, there aren't articles on an unbelievable amount of things as well. For instance, I wrote a paper on a 135 year old statute almost everyone knows about that had 10,000+ cases citing it, yet not one journal article about it.


Just be careful with Circuit Splits. I picked one to write about last year, and the Supreme Court heard the case 2 weeks after I turned my final draft in. I had no chance of having it published because a decision would be made long before it would've been published (therefore requiring a complete rewrite for it to be published). Also, I was lucky that my Board let me continue writing the paper once I realized this was going to happen. Other Boards might've made me select a new topic and start over.

ShitLawOrBust
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby ShitLawOrBust » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:25 am

Interested in this, too. That circuit split blog looks like a legit starting point

ak362
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby ak362 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:11 pm

For circuit splits, I agree with one of the above posters -- be careful with them because SCOTUS may grant cert. -- after that, it's game over for any chance of publication.

If you're going to go the circuit split route, I would go with a circuit split that's had cert. denied recently. Means the Court either doesn't want to touch the issue now with the current composition of the Court, or is letting the issue percolate/marinate a little more before having it come before the Court. Little shot of getting preempted, but the issue is still there so ripe for writing.

I personally like obscure con law topics, but that's just me (something a little less obscure than Letters of Marque and Reprisal). Above posters are correct in saying that there is a ton that hasn't been written about yet, but I would avoid the major topics unless you can find a discrete niche area. (Basically, avoid anything that you've talked about in Con Law/Crim Pro/other classes, unless you can find some way to create a unique hook, e.g., the Commerce Clause and alpaca farming.)

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kalvano
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby kalvano » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Circuit split topic - there is a circuit split on right-of-publicity use of athletes' images in video games. I have no idea if there is a lot of discussion or articles about it. But it's probably a more interesting topic than some others.

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ilovesf
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby ilovesf » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:44 pm

kalvano wrote:Circuit split topic - there is a circuit split on right-of-publicity use of athletes' images in video games. I have no idea if there is a lot of discussion or articles about it. But it's probably a more interesting topic than some others.

this is really closely related to what my write on topic was. it was pretty cool. it's one of the thing i'm considering for my topic.

hiima3L
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby hiima3L » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:16 pm

tstyler98 wrote:
hiima3L wrote:Circuit splits/cases going to SCOTUS are easy ones. Check this site: http://splitcircuits.blogspot.com/

Comparative law between different jurisdictions, countries, etc.

Read the news and find timely stories and think about the legal issues and implications.

Even though there are articles on an unbelievable amount of things, there aren't articles on an unbelievable amount of things as well. For instance, I wrote a paper on a 135 year old statute almost everyone knows about that had 10,000+ cases citing it, yet not one journal article about it.


Just be careful with Circuit Splits. I picked one to write about last year, and the Supreme Court heard the case 2 weeks after I turned my final draft in. I had no chance of having it published because a decision would be made long before it would've been published (therefore requiring a complete rewrite for it to be published). Also, I was lucky that my Board let me continue writing the paper once I realized this was going to happen. Other Boards might've made me select a new topic and start over.


Very true. Good points. You can then critique/analyze the decision, which sometimes can be the most compelling part of the paper.

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Verity
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby Verity » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:28 pm

Circuit-split notes are bleh.

Check the dockets for appellate courts in each state. You'll find some cool stuff.

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TTH
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby TTH » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:53 am

The answer depends on whether you're just trying to get by with fulfilling your journal's note requirement or gunning for publication.

If the former, a circuit split note will be relatively painless.

If the latter, try to find something controversial that's timely and that your Journal hasn't published about in the last two or three years.

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shepdawg
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby shepdawg » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:23 pm

Pick something that will help you get the job you want. I want to be a copyright troll, so I wrote my comment on porn and BitTorrent and it got selected for publication.

timbs4339
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:59 am

Interesting questions you did research assignments or summer memos on are a good source of ideas.

zbv4
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby zbv4 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:23 pm

Read SCOTUS cases--often in the last paragraph they will say things like "we do not reach the question of ...," "we leave for another day the issue of ..." These can be good topics, because you can then address whatever that next issue is in light of what the Court DID say in the case you're reading.

target
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby target » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:34 am

bump to see how everyone is doing.

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traehekat
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby traehekat » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:42 pm

hiima3L wrote:Circuit splits/cases going to SCOTUS are easy ones. Check this site: http://splitcircuits.blogspot.com/


Credited.

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LeDique
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby LeDique » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:24 pm

Getting frustrated trying to come up with a publishable topic right now. I have one good idea, but it's criminal law and I have no interest in practicing criminal law. Assuming its better to try to come up with something else first?

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kalvano
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby kalvano » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:27 pm

What you write about doesn't have to have anything to do with what you want to do.

Miller32
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Re: Any advice for those choosing a topic for a journal note?

Postby Miller32 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:38 pm

kalvano wrote:What you write about doesn't have to have anything to do with what you want to do.


Agree. And as an aside my note topic had nothing to do with what i'll be doing in practice, but I think publishing a note on a topic relevant to your desired practice area can go a long way if you're hustling to find a job.

Clearly shows interest/commitment to the area of law, and its a great topic of conversation for interviews. The idea shouldn't just be dismissed off-hand.




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