Welcome to Law Review Orientation! This past week, we spent several hours learning exactly what Law Review is and what the editorial members do. Now, I am passing that information on to you.

So, how does an article become published in a Law Review? Ultimately, the author submits an article to the Review, which is then extensively edited by the Review, those edits are submitted to the author for approval. If the edits are accepted, then the article has the opportunity to be published.

Now, the extensive editing is, well, extensive. I am still very new to the process so some of this information may be inaccurate. From my understanding, when an article is presented to the Review, the junior editor members will engage in a process called spading. After spading, the editorial board will review and accept those edits. Later, the editorial board will engage in a process called 10 pointing. I am not sure exactly what that entails, so the focus of the remainder of this article will be on spading (my responsibility as a junior member).


Spading is a process of editing a paper. Within a two-hour shift, junior board members are likely to spade only one to two pages of an article. Hence, the reason for about 20 junior members. During the spading process, junior members engage in three steps: attribution, bluebooking, and styling.


Attribution is the process of making sure every claim made by the author is attributed to a source. In other words, the responsibility of the junior members is to make sure everything is cited and attributed to the correct source. If the author neglects to cite a source, it is the responsibility of the board to find the source that matches the claim. There are several steps to determine whether a paper is properly attributed:

  1. Decide whether a citation is needed (a citation is not needed if it is an introductory sentence, a hypothetical or the authors opinion. Nearly every sentence will need a citation.)
  2. Make sure the citations are correct. This means checking to ensure that the pages match up, quotes are exact, etc.
  3. Highlight the material that is cited. This step is purely to help any other editors who are following up with the same citations.


Bluebook is the official legal citation guide. Once you determine that a citation is correct, you need to make sure that the citation sentence is formatted properly. In other words, you need to make sure commas are in the correct place, certain text is capitalized or italicized, etc.


In addition to checking the sources and source citations, the Law Review will edit what most people think of when they hear “editing.” Specifically, this step is checking the grammar of the article, making sure no rules are violated. Each Law Review has a different style sheet with rules that articles are expected to follow. Some are longer than others. For example, Drake’s Law Review style sheet consists of 85 pages, full of grammar rules.


I am really excited for Law Review. In addition to writing an extensive note that addresses a legal issue, I am looking forward to expanding my editing skills. More information to come as I learn more!

Will Laursen

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