There are two ways to become a member of the Duke Law Journal, (1) the first-year Casenote competition, and (2) the second-year Note-on Program. Joint degree candidates are only eligible to participate in the Casenote Competition immediately following their first year of legal studies. Depending on when they arrive at Duke, transfer students may be eligible to participate in the Casenote Competition or the Note-on Program, and should contact the Journal or the Admissions Office for specific details.
First-Year Casenote Competition
Each year the Journal extends offers to approximately 39-42 rising second-year students, all of whom must have participated in the school-wide Casenote Competition to be eligible to receive an invitation to join. One-third of the of the offers we extend are based on grades alone, one-third is based on the students’ score in the Casenote Competition, and one third is based on a combination of the students’ casenote score and grade point average. Journal staff members score casenote submissions, but the entire process is anonymous and refereed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Publications Office.
The case citation for the annual Casenote Competition is distributed to all first-year students during the Spring term. In coordination with Duke’s other legal publications, we choose an appellate court decision that is recent, multifaceted, and about which little has already been written. Students may write about any aspect of the decision they choose. Although the Casenote Competition is an “open universe” research problem, students will be rewarded more for the strength of their analysis and clarity of writing than for the breadth of their research.
Casenotes must be turned into the Publications Office approximately one week after the last first-year final exam has been administered. The details of the turn-in process are explained at length in the materials accompanying the case citation. The Journal encourages all first-year students to participate in the Casenote Competition.
Second-Year Note-On Program
The Note-on Program is an opportunity for any second-year student at Duke Law School to become a member of the Duke Law Journal and to have his or her academic writing published in the Journal. There is no minimum or maximum number of students who will be invited onto the Journal through the Note-on program each year–the number will depend solely on the quality of submissions received. Submissions will be judged anonymously by the Note Selection Committee of the Journal’s Executive Committee. Students accepted onto the Journal through the Note-on Program will work for the Journal as Staff Editors for one semester, and will then serve as members of the Editorial Board following elections in the spring.
Students may write on any topic, provided the Note is thirty (30) to forty-five (45) pages in length, double-spaced, using twelve point font for both text and footnotes. There is no required format, but students are encouraged to review Notes in the Duke Law Journal for examples of substance and style. No submission will be selected if it fails to meet the Journal’s high standard of “clearly publishable quality.” The Note must not be preempted by any earlier piece in a legal publication, and the amount of editorial work required to prepare it for publication must be minimal.
Students may receive academic credit for their Notes if they write under the guidance of a faculty advisor and file the appropriate independent study paperwork with the Registrar. Students may also submit works originally submitted as seminar papers, but under the Honor Code they may not seek additional independent study credit for these papers. Although seminar papers provide a sensible beginning point for Notes, students are encouraged to revise their work to ensure that they are making a novel contribution to the substantive literature, and complying with the length requirements described above.
Additional information about the Note-on Program will be distributed to second-year students by the Journal’s Senior Note Editor each spring.