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How to get an Essay Published in a Law Journal

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You spent ages researching and writing an essay or your honours thesis, and get some great feedback. But what do you do with your essay after that? One option is to put your awesome essay to good use and get it published in a law journal.

Journals are full of articles about current legal issues, written by academics, researchers, practitioners and students, so your hard work in legal research and writing will not be wasted.

Articles range from 8,000 to 10,000 words, shorter articles are typically 2,000 to 4,000 words and case notes, reports on recent developments and book reviews are typically 1,500 words. Journals normally look for articles about current legal issues (e.g. recent changes in legislation and how it affects people), arguments as to why there should be changes in legislation, or discussions on current important case law.

In drafting your article you should ensure that your work is an original contribution to legal or policy discussion. You should also ensure that you are writing with the particular audience of the journal in mind: consider what knowledge can be assumed, and what you may need to explain further. Legal journals require referencing according to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation, so you may also need to check your footnotes as part of the review process.

If your submission is accepted, it will be peer reviewed and in the review process you may be asked to further expand or some issues or correct some points that you have made.

Getting your work published in a journal can be as simple as starting a conversation with your lecturer – they will know the relevant journals and contacts in your field of interest. Your lecturer may have completed previous research on this topic, and can also assist you in the final drafting stage of the article. Having input from your lecturer and including their name on the article may also increase the possibility of having this article published. Another avenue to consider is taking a subject at your university that provides the opportunity to have your work published in a journal.

Getting published in a law journal will not only allow you to see your name in print; it is also appealing to prospective employers as it will demonstrate that you have fantastic legal research and writing skills, and can come up with original perspectives on legal issues. Getting published in a journal will also work in your favour if you are interested in applying for a scholarship or furthering your studies through a Masters or PhD.

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