Committee to review journal selection process

August 5, 2009Duke Law News

Dean David Levi has appointed 3Ls Natalie Bedoya, editor in chief of the Duke Law Journal, and Adam Murad, editor in chief of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, to serve as co-chairs of a committee that will make recommendations for improvements to the journal selection process in response to problems encountered this summer.

The committee also will include the editors in chief of Duke Law’s other journals and will work collaboratively with Associate Dean Elizabeth Gustafson and Senior Associate Dean Richard Danner, chair of the faculty committee on publications and electronic publishing. Dean Levi asked the committee to offer recommendations by the beginning of the spring 2010 semester so changes can be implemented prior to next year’s selection process.

“We all agree that the process for inviting students to participate on our journals is too complex,” said Dean Levi. “The problems we had this summer highlighted the system’s vulnerabilities and underscored the need for changes. I am grateful to our journal editors for their willingness to take a lead role in examining the system and considering ways to improve it.”

The 2009 journal selection process was hindered by errors. The first journal invitations were based on flawed data and had to be retracted; corrected journal invitations were issued a week later, after several Law School administrators recreated the process and corrected the data. Read Dean Levi’s email to 2Ls about the incident here.

“I am very pleased that the school is taking this so seriously,” said Bedoya. “The mistakes that were made frustrated students, but the silver lining is that we can take a step back and really figure out the best way to do this moving forward.”

Bedoya said the committee’s first task is a thorough examination of the existing process and the variables that impact its accuracy. The committee also will review the journal selection processes at other law schools. She suggested that Duke Law might have outgrown its existing journal selection process, which was designed when the school had far fewer journals and fewer students seeking membership.

Duke Law now has nine journals; more than 180 students sought journal membership this year.

“We know how hard our 1Ls work on their casenotes, so our highest priority is to create a system that fairly rewards this effort when the time comes for our journals to extend their invitations to new members,” said Murad. He added that he already has been impressed with the commitment of both administrators and students to working together to improve the system.

“Student input will be important to us throughout this process,” Bedoya added. “The 2Ls want to help; they want to make the system better. There’s a lot of productive energy.”
Other News