The Stanford Environmental Law Journal provides a great opportunity for Stanford Law students to gain experience in legal editing, whether or not they intend to focus on or have previous background in environmental law or policy.
Current editors have access to the Greenbook, ELJ’s own editing guide, as well as guidance from experienced journal members. ELJ prides itself on a strong commitment to training excellent editors.
ELJ is entirely student-run. Students select, edit, and produce every article in every issue of every volume. At ELJ, we have a strong tradition of excellence in editing. We also have a friendly, collegial environment where we support each others’ efforts towards the common goal of producting an excellent product.
Our philosophy is simple: we seek to produce a consistently high quality journal that comprises timely and important environmental articles, and we strive do it according to the interests of the students involved. Consequently, we contribute significantly to legal discourse on the environment, and we have a pretty good time doing it. We encourage you to join us.
The Benefits of Membership
Membership in ELJ offers at least three general types of benefits, including academic enrichment, skills development, and a social network.
First, by editing and reviewing articles submitted to ELJ, members have the opportunity to review and discuss current issues in environmental law. Members usually develop an appreciation for academic discourse in environmental law, and learn to think critically about these topics.
Second, by editing the articles published in ELJ, members develop their writing and editing skills. The ability to edit can improve one’s own writing greatly, and good writing and editing skills are immensely useful for lawyers. ELJ provides a forum to learn by doing, with the assistance of experienced staff.
Finally, ELJ is a fun group! We have social events together and with our friends at the Environmental Law Society. The environmental community at Stanford is vibrant and open and the journal is a great way to get involved.
As you contemplate joining a journal, consider the following:
The Environmental Law Journal (ELJ) is:
- Distinguished. ELJ is a top-ranking environmental law journal, publishing high-quality, timely, and important scholarship.
- Non-hierarchical. We have few levels of management. We have succeeded by relying on member’s self-motivation and good judgement.
- Supportive. Senior staff are accessible and helpful to members. We provide you with the information you need to develop your editing skills.
- Friendly. We are both a work-team and a community. We maintain our convivial atmosphere with BBQs and potlucks, day trips about the Bay, and other social events.
As a member of ELJ, your work is:
- Stimulating and substantive. Our members perform substantive elements of an edit, with no source-pulling (the worst part of an edit, required by other journals!)
- Varied. Environmental Law is a large umbrella, covering a variety of topics, including natural resources conservation, international law, environmental justice, land use, pollution regulation, environmental economics, and more.
- Worthwhile. Work on the Journal results in a valuable contribution to the field of Environmental Law.
- Predictable. We are a professional, efficiently-run journal; we stick with our editing schedule, and we publish on time.
Why Should I Join a Journal?
- An opportunity to hold a position on a legal publication as a 1L – valuable for easing into the law school experience and securing a legal job your first summer.
- Preparation to hold senior journal positions as a 2L.
- Familiarity with legal scholarship.
- An opportunity to improve critical analytical and writing skills.
- Introduction to basic skills such as Blue-booking and source-citing.
ELJ editing teams:
As a 1L, 2L, and 3L, you may participate in the journal as a member editor. Editors provide the power of the journal, and they are organized into several editing teams. Each team works together to produce one article. The efforts of the editing team are coordinated and overseen by a lead article editor. Article editors are assisted by executive editors, who collect and organize the sources relied on in the articles. Article editors interface with the author of the article that they are editing as well as the editor-in-chief (EIC) of the Journal.
ELJ article review:
Articles to be published by ELJ are selected by an article review board (ARB), which is supervised by an article review board chairperson. The ARB chairperson collects submissions, establishes the suitability of each article for ELJ, and then distributes submissions to the members of the ARB for critical evaluation. Members of the ARB evaluate the quality, originality, and timeliness of the authors’ research and writing, and provide feedback to the ARB chairperson. Based on the input of ARB members, the ARB chairperson and the EIC make offers to publish articles.
ELJ book reviews:
ELJ publishes review of books on environmental policy and other related topics. Book reviews are usually prepared by Stanford Law students. The book review editor is responsible for soliciting reviews, editing them, and preparing them for publication.
The editor-in-chief, who is usually a 3L, has ultimate responsibility for all aspects of ELJ’s operations. The editor-in-chief coordinates all activities, interfacing with the article review board, the article editors, and the book review editor, and is actively involved in recruiting new members. The editor-in-chief also establishes the editing schedule, does the final editorial review of every article, and supervises publication of the articles.
Member Editors (MEs) are typically 1Ls, or anyone else new to ELJ. They are the heart of the journal and perform much of the most crucial editing of each article. Member Editors serve all year after completing a new editor training workshop held during the first few weeks of classes. They are assigned to an article based upon personal preference and availability. After reading the article in its entirety to get a sense of the thesis, argument and flow, the ME will focus on a 10-30 page segment of text to edit for substance, grammar, style and clarity. The ME offers valuable input into the structure and readability of an article. The ME is also responsible for cite-checking the footnotes in their assigned section for accuracy and completeness. (ELJ’s Member Editors do not have to “pull” sources as other journals require their editors to do – our Executive Editors perform that time-consuming function). Finally, the ME must ensure that the footnotes and text conform to the official Bluebook citation style. Serving as a Member Editor in one’s 1L year is a great way to strengthen analytical and writing skills, to meet new people, and to become familiar with legal scholarship and editing in general.
Lead Article Editor
The Lead Article Editors (LAEs) are the heart of the editing process. LAEs coordinate the work of the member editors, dividing and combining the article and edits at each stage of the editing process. LAEs provide initial, substantive feedback to authors in the form of an “analytical” memorandum and then make edits, in addition to those suggested by member editors, at each editing stage. The LAE also prepares the page proofs, which formats the articles for publication. The big advantages of this job are the opportunity to work directly with authors and with the Editor(s)-in-Chief and transform an article during the editing process. It also gives LAEs the opportunity to manage a team of editors and work with EEs. The job is time-intensive but also the most rewarding.
Executive Editors (EEs) check out all the sources cited in an article and organize them in a single place for member editors to check. They may need to coordinate with article authors to locate and gain access to more obscure sources. EEs also return all sources to their rightful owners at the end of each term. For the source-pull, the EE prepares a spreadsheet listing all sources cited in an article, and collects and places each source in the basement of the law school library for editors to use in their edits. The position is great for developing research and organizational skills. The source-pull can be time consuming, but occurs at the beginning of each term and the EE has no other responsibilities (besides returning sources at the end of the term).
Submissions Editors (SEs) are the true behind-the-scenes force of ELJ. SEs read and evaluate articles submitted year-round to ELJ. SEs must review submissions very rapidly—usually within a few days—so that ELJ does not get scooped by another journal. The review entails not only reading and evaluating a submission but also performing a literature search for comparable articles. Each SE typically reviews 3-5 articles per term. This position is great for anyone who wants to get a better feel for the environmental law literature, or for anyone who simply enjoys critically evaluating articles. We strongly encourage SEs to also serve as Lead Article Editors or Executive Editors. SEs serve over the summer and through the entire academic year.
Editors-in-Chief (EICs) shepherd articles through the editing process. They oversee LAE and EE work, ensuring that LAEs and EEs know and meet their responsibilities. EICs assist LAEs in resolving difficulties that arise during editing. After Galley Night, EICs conduct the final round of edits before publication. EICs participate in editorial board deliberations on diverse and sundry maters related to journal operations.
The President is responsible for coordinating journal strategy and policy with the rest of the ELJ board. In consultation with the board, the President sets the agenda for and leads board meetings and galley nights. The President also focuses on developing the ELJ community both academically and socially.
Vice-President of Submissions
The Vice President manages the ELJ submissions process, overseeing a committee of Submissions Editors. On behalf of the committee, the Vice President of Submissions recommends articles for selection and works with the EICs to coordinate offers to authors. The Vice President also promotes student scholarship through Notes brainstorming events with faculty and other students. Finally, the Vice President serves as the student Notes submission liaison to ensure the anonymity of student submissions.
The Managing Editor is the overseer of the business and people side of the journal. The Managing Editor works on financial matters, community building, and the online presence of ELJ.