Notes & Comments

The Virginia Law Review invites eligible UVA law students who would like their work to be considered for publication in the Law Review to submit Notes and Comments three times per year: January, March, and October. Please check the Announcements page for precise dates and submission instructions.

Notes are student-written articles. The Virginia Law Review accepts Note submissions from current J.D. candidates at the University of Virginia and from recent graduates who have received a J.D. from the University of Virginia within the preceding twelve months. Although many of the published Notes come from Law Review members, any law student or recent graduate may submit a paper for consideration, and all are encouraged to do so. Authors who are not members of the Law Review whose notes are accepted for publication prior to March 1 of their final year at the law school will be invited to join. First year law students whose Notes are accepted for publication will become members of the Law Review at the beginning of their second year.
There are three windows of time during which students may submit a Note for publication: January, March, and October. Each submission period includes two weeks for students to submit their Notes for consideration. Approximately 8-10 Notes are selected for publication each year on the basis of two primary factors, novel legal analysis that contributes to the field of legal scholarship and quality of writing. 

Notes Advising: The Law Review offers Notes Advising to all students who are interested in submitting a Note for publication, whether or not those students are current members of the Law Review. Past experience suggests that students greatly benefit from Notes Advising, and Notes selected for publication have frequently gone through the advising process. Notes Advisors are available to answer questions about the submission process and meet with students at any stage of the writing process (selecting a topic, reviewing an existing draft, etc.). However, pursuant to the University of Virginia’s Honor Code, we are unable to give substantive advice on any paper that will be submitted for a grade until the student has turned it in to his or her professor. Students interested in Notes Advising may fill out this form and will be contacted promptly by a Notes Advisor.

Selecting a Note Topic: Notes may be on any topic of the student’s choosing, so long as it is related to the law and is not preempted by an already published piece (in the Virginia Law Review or elsewhere). Interested students should begin their research by conducting a preemption check, which seeks to answer two basic questions. First, has the topic already been covered by previous publications? In most cases, this question is answered by whether or not another published Article or Note has addressed the same issue. If another piece has been published on the topic, the topic is not preempted if the Note will present a sufficiently different viewpoint (including significant updates of legal thought or case law) so as to retain its usefulness. Second, is the topic too broad or too narrow? The topic should be framed so that it is broad enough to evoke interest, yet narrow enough to be manageable. When performing a preemption check, consult the following: major treatises; at least five years of the Index to Legal Periodicals and the loose-leaf Current Index to Legal Periodicals; major cases; topical reporters; and Journal Articles and Notes.

Length: The recommended length for a Note is 10,000–15,000 words including footnotes (approximately 35–50 pages in double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font). Notes longer than 15,000 words are strongly discouraged. Notes longer than 17,500 words will not be considered without prior approval of the Notes Development Editor. Students may submit Notes shorter than 10,000 words.

Format: Notes must be submitted electronically via Dropbox and in hard copy form. Additionally, Notes will not be considered for publication unless the submissions follow specific guidelines. Review the submission instructions in the most recent Notes Pool posting on the Announcements page.

Comments: Comments are responses to a recent case or cases, generally cases that have been decided in the last two years. The Comment should analyze the case’s holding and reasoning, arguing that the court reached the right result with the right reasoning, the wrong result with the right reasoning, the right result with the wrong reasoning, or the wrong result with the wrong reasoning. Comments are not limited to this framework, however, and may criticize or explicate the recent case or cases in an original manner the student sees fit. Comments must be at least 5,000 words, and should generally be no longer than 8,000 words.

Law Review Note Requirement

All Law Review members are required to write a substantial research project of publishable quality by the end of the first semester of their third year of law school. Each member of the Law Review Editorial Board is assigned a Notes Advisor. The Notes Advisor provides guidance at every stage of the Note-writing process, from topic selection to research to organization and writing. They will critique any outline or draft. Notes Advisors are required to certify that all submissions meet the academic and professional standards of the Law Review. If a Notes Advisor determines that a Note has not met this requirement, the author will be asked to rewrite the Note in order to remain on the Law Review. Appeals of such an adverse determination can be made to the Managing Board as a whole.

Law Review members who want to have a Note considered for publication are encouraged to submit a draft to the January Notes Pool during their second year at the Law School. This is especially important for those members who intend to serve on the Managing Board, since the new Notes Department, which takes over in March, may decide not to consider the Notes of its members until the end of their third year.

Finally, per the University’s Academic Policies, all students must submit their Notes for a grade prior to submitting a Note to the Virginia Law Review.

Please contact the Notes Development Editor, Anna Cecile Pepper, with any questions.