Student Journals

Columbia Law School is home to 14 law journals and A Jailhouse Lawyers Manual, many of which are leading scholarly publications in their fields. Working on a law journal gives you the opportunity to hone your writing and editing skills, immerse yourself in top-quality scholarship, participate in American legal culture and tradition, and join a thriving micro-community within the Law School.

If you have any questions regarding journal participation, contact Jennifer Braden, assistant director of counseling and student support.

Timeline Overview
Early Process (Not all journals participate in this process)

Application Period: February 26 - March 17 (noon to noon)
Applicants Notified: April 8

Regular Process
Applications Period: May 7 - May 21 (noon to noon)
Applicants Notified: June 21 - June 22

Transfer* & LLM Application Process
*Columbia Law Review runs a separate transfer application process
Applications Period: August 16 - August 23 (noon to noon)
Applicants Notified: August 30

Application Cycle Details
Journal Day: February 23

The 2020 Journal Application Cycle will kick off with Journal Day on Tuesday, February 23 during the lunch hour, with details to be distributed via email to the Class of 2023.

Early Application Process: February 26 - March 17
Some journals fill a limited number of spots during the early application process (from February 26 to March 17). With one exception, which allows matched participants to also apply to Columbia Law Review during the regular application cycle, the early process is binding.  However, it is an appealing option for students with a particular interest in a specific journal.

All materials for the early application process may be submitted on LawNet. Aside from a brief personal statement, applicants should already have the materials needed for this process (e.g. résumé and transcript), and the application process should be quick and easy. The application window is long to encourage self-directed planning by students and maximum flexibility. Given the overwhelming majority of available staffer positions are filled during the regular application process, students who do not match during this cycle are encouraged to reapply during the regular application process.  

Details regarding participating journals and required application materials are released on Journal Day.

Regular Application Process: May 7 - May 21
Registration and application submission take place on LawNet. As a part of this process, students can apply to any or all publications and rank them in order of preference.

Requirements vary by journal, but all journals request a résumé, transcript, and personal statement or statement of interest. Many journals also request a writing sample. During this process, many students participate in the Writing Exercise run by the Columbia Law Review. All journals accept the Writing Exercise as a writing sample; however, with the exception of the Law Review, none require it.

The window for the regular application process is longer in duration than other processes.  However, the process is not designed to occupy the entirety of the designated window; rather, the window is deliberately long to provide students with flexibility in managing the ongoing demands of their personal and professional lives.

Transfer* & LLM Application Processes: August 16 - August 23
Registration and application submission will take place on LawNet. As a part of these processes, students can apply to any or all participating publications and rank them in order of preference. While these processes are conducted simultaneously, they are also run separately: journals maintain distinct transfer and LLM applicant pools.

*Columbia Law Review does not participate in this process. Transfer students interested in Columbia Law Review are encouraged to explore the Publishable Notes Program.

Please direct questions about Journal Day or the journal application processes, including accommodation-related inquires, to Jennifer Braden in Student Services.


J.D. students can obtain two types of academic point credit in connection with journal work (supervised research credit and editorial board work credit). You can also use a note to satisfy one of the J.D. writing requirements.

See guidelines below and contact an academic adviser in Student Services with further questions.

Academic Point Credit

  • Supervised Research Credit
    • You may receive supervised research credit if you write or publish a note for your journal under the supervision of a Columbia Law School faculty member (including visiting/adjunct faculty).
    • Register for supervised research credit by completing the J.D. Research Registration Form, having your faculty supervisor sign it, and submitting it to Registration Services by the date listed on the form.
    • Credit Limit: You may receive a maximum of three points per term and four points per academic year in connection with work that qualifies either as Supervised Research or as Supervised Experiential Project.
    • Timing: You may opt to receive supervised research credit for your note during either the fall or spring semester or to split your points across multiple semesters (subject to your supervisor’s approval). Regardless, we encourage you to begin contemplating your topic and reaching out to potential faculty supervisors as soon as possible, as professors tend to book up quickly.
  • Editorial Board Credit
    • Journal Editorial Board Credit: Upon recommendation by your editor-in-chief and approval by the Journals Committee, you may receive up to two points of ungraded point credit (one point per term) for your editorial board work.
    • Credit Limit: Editorial board credit is in the same “bucket” as Independent Moot Court Coaching credit. A maximum of three total points of such credit may be counted toward the 83 points of credit required for graduation.
      • NOTE: The three-point cap does not apply to point credit earned in connection with supervised upper-level work on an internal or Foundation moot court (which is subject to a separate four-point cap).

 Graduation Writing Requirements

  • Writing a note is an excellent way to satisfy either your Major Writing or Minor Writing requirement, regardless of whether you also receive Supervised Research credit.
  • You may register for Major/Minor Writing credit by filling out the J.D. Major/Minor Writing Registration Form, having your supervisor sign it, and submitting it to Registration Services by the date listed on the form.


  • You must register for Major Writing credit no later than the end of Add/Drop of your penultimate semester, and for Minor Writing credit no later than the end of Add/Drop of your final semester.
  • If your supervisor is a visiting/adjunct professor, you must register for credit during the term in which they are appointed to teach.
  • In order to satisfy the Major Writing requirement, you must submit a complete draft of your note to your supervisor by February 1 of your 3L year, and a final draft by the first day of the month preceding the month in which you anticipate graduating.

LL.M. students are not eligible to receive credit for editorial board work. However, you may receive Supervised Research credit for writing a note under the supervision of a Columbia Law School faculty member if you complete the LL.M. Supervised Research Registration Form and submit it to Registration Services by the date listed on the form. If you have any questions about the rules or restrictions that apply to LL.M. journal members, please contact Marissa Zalk in the Office of Graduate Degree Programs.

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