The first issue of what was to become the Duke Law Journal was published in March 1951 as the Duke Bar Journal. Created to provide a medium for student expression, the Duke Bar Journal consisted entirely of student-written and student-edited work until 1953, when it began publishing faculty contributions. To reflect the inclusion of faculty scholarship, the Duke Bar Journal became the Duke Law Journal in 1957. In 1969, the Journal published its inaugural Administrative Law Symposium issue, a tradition that continues today.
Volume 1 of the Duke Bar Journal spanned two issues and 259 pages. In 1959, the Journal grew to four issues and 649 pages, growing again in 1970 to six issues and 1263 pages.
Today, the Duke Law Journal publishes eight issues per volume. Our staff is committed to the purpose set forth in our constitution: to publish legal writing of superior quality. We seek to publish a collection of outstanding scholarship from established legal writers, up-and-coming authors, and our own student editors.
Foreword to the First Volume
Robinson O. Everett‡
Duke University law students have for several years been urging the establishment of a law review to serve as a medium of student self-expression and to fill the gap left by the demise of the Duke Bar Association Journal in 1942. Their legal education, they claimed, would be complemented by an opportunity carefully to investigate and analyze particular problems in detail, with the incentive of possible publication of creditable papers. Moreover, it was suggested that the experience of the students in editing one another’s papers would contribute to the process of intellectual maturing which results from give-and-take legal discussions.
In response to these urgings from the student body, the faculty this year authorized the desired law review, to contain chiefly student writings, and appointed me to serve as faculty advisor thereof. However, more was required than authorizations and appointments. Business arrangements had to be made; subjects recommended to prospective writers; and an editorial organization created. Finally, came the process of editing–with all its blood, sweat, tears and late hours for editors and editees alike.
In none of this was there a long-established tradition or organization on which to fall back. Also, there were complications, due to a failure of some to anticipate the requisite sacrifices, and due to uncertainties induced by ever-increasing mobilization. Yet somehow or other we have managed to produce the first issue of the Duke Bar Journal, which we feel contains interesting student discussions of challenging problems. Deus volens, we plan to reproduce other even better issues of the Journal in the hope that, with the support and criticism of the readers, this new legal periodical will constantly grow in stature to fulfill its high purpose and to become a fit companion for Law and Contemporary Problems and the Journal of Legal Education, both of which are already being published at the Duke Law School.
Foreword to the Fiftieth Volume
Robinson O. Everett
Soon after beginning to teach at Duke Law School in 1950, I was told that the students wanted to establish a student-edited law journal in which all the articles would be written by students. This publication, however, would bear little resemblance to the student-edited Duke Bar Association Journal, which had been started in the early 1930s, but was discontinued in 1942 due to wartime conditions. Because I had recently served on the Harvard Law Review and probably also because I was far junior to the rest of our law faculty, I was further informed that I had been selected–or drafted–to be the faculty advisor for this project. An LL.M. candidate, Bob Foster–who later taught and was dean at the University of South Carolina Law School–would be my assistant advisor.
Although my other responsibilities as a fledgling law teacher seemed great, I sometimes thought they were much less demanding than advising the students about getting the Duke Bar Journal underway. There were numerous administrative details. Also, since any student was eligible to write a proposed article, the quality of first drafts varied greatly. Nonetheless–sometimes after considerable editing and rewriting–the first issue appeared early in 1951. The articles were of excellent quality and dealt with well-selected and timely topics. Even today, I encounter former students who were on the editorial board then or who contributed articles to the first issue of the Duke Bar Journal, and I enjoy reminiscing with them about the challenge we faced in publishing that issue.
Pursuant to orders to active military duty, I left Duke in 1951, but when I returned to Duke in 1956 as a visiting professor, the Duke Bar Journal was going strong. The faculty advisor was Professor Melvin G. Shimm, who was also serving as editor of Law and Contemporary Problems. In 1957 the Duke Bar Journal became the Duke Law Journal–probably in order to make clear its scholarly attributes. Subsequently the two issues per year was increased to six, and articles were solicited from non-student contributors. Indeed, in later years I had the honor of having some of my own articles published in the Duke Law Journal.
The Duke Law Journal has now reached the half-century mark; and, looking back, I take great pride in having played a part in its establishment. Most of all, I am proud of being associated with a law school whose outstanding students have displayed for a half-century great initiative, resourcefulness, perseverance, writing skills, and editing ability in creating, sustaining, and expanding a premier legal periodical.
‡ Professor of Law, Duke University. The editors sincerely thank Professor Everett for his half-century of valued service not only to the Duke Law Journal, but to the Duke University community as a whole.