Instructor(s): Denise Réaume

2 credits (Conditional Enrol)

Seminar Schedule (see below): First term, 2 hours per week

Note: For graduate students, the course number is LAW7117Y.

Editors-in-Chief and Senior Editors will be selected in the Spring of each year. Students must be in residence for the year in order to obtain credit for the journal.

The Journal of Law and Equality is an important forum for the discussion of equality-related issues in Canada. The Senior Editors make a crucial contribution to the work of the JLE.

Students who serve as Editors-in-Chief, or Senior Editors of the Journal of Law & Equality may receive two ungraded credits. Students must commit to Journal of Law & Equality responsibilities for the entire year to obtain credit. However, students are permitted to allocate one credit to each term or both credits to either term. No credit will be shown on the interim statement of grades until the program has been fully completed.

Students earning credit for this Journal must attend the Journals seminar that will meet for 2 hours per week in the Fall term on Mondays from 8:30 10:20 AM. The seminar complements activities of the Senior Board members in organizing cell group activities and participating in Senior Board meetings, and supports student editors by providing training and supervision in respect of the central tasks of student editors. The Seminars research and editing exercises build on other forms of legal writing and research instruction offered in the J.D. program. In the seminar, we will work on a submission chosen by the Editors-in-Chief in consultation with the faculty supervisor, tracking key phases of the journal production process. Topics include:

  • The key elements in good legal scholarship: distinguishing a topic from a research question; looking for an answer to the so what question; situating a submission in the larger context of academic debate.

  • The importance of good organization and clarity; is the argument sound; does it make a significant contribution to existing debates?
  • Assessing the research behind a submission: with help from Library staff, determining how to tell whether a submission cites all the relevant material and uses it properly.
  • Providing feedback to authors: interpreting Reviewers Reports; setting priorities, organizing substantive suggestions; how to present suggestions while preserving the integrity of the authors work.
  • Substantive editing: putting general lessons to work based on working with an actual manuscript.

For the seminar, Senior Editors will participate in the following exercises related to the submission:

  1. Manuscript assessment: Each Senior Editor will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.

  2. Research: Each Senior Editor will write a memo on the adequacy of part of the research in the submission.
  3. Feedback: Based on the groups assessment of the research and substance of the submission, as well as input from peer reviewers, each Senior Editor will draft a letter to the author conveying feedback.
  4. Editing: Each Senior Editor will annotate the submission to suggest revisions.

Over the year each Senior Editor will participate in the editing of at least one further submission under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may work in teams if appropriate. This will include submitting the following:

  1. Manuscript assessment: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each submission assigned to them. This analysis is expected to be detailed and incisive, covering both style and substance.

  2. Research: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo on the adequacy of the research in each submission assigned to them. The research librarians of the Bora Laskin Law Library will be available for guidance.
  3. Feedback to author: As assessments from peer reviewers come in, the Senior Editor(s) will refine their own analysis accordingly, and will draft a letter to the author collecting all the suggestions for revision, to be reviewed by the faculty advisor.
  4. Substance Editing: Senior Editor(s) will undertake a close edit of the final submission to work through the structure of the paper and the coherence of the argument with a view to improving the flow and the expression of the article. Student suggestions will be vetted by the faculty advisor. Again, Senior Editor(s) will meet with the faculty advisor to discuss the editorial suggestions.
To receive credit, all students must submit a portfolio that contains the academic content of their Journal activities as outlined above. These could be tasks worked on jointly. This includes: Memos about submissions that set out the authors argument, identifying strengths and weaknesses in terms of organization, writing style, clarity, research, and substance. This should include all such work, whether on a paper that was accepted or not, and whether you had primary responsibility for the paper or not. All correspondence with authors that engages with the submission as part of the substantive editing process. This includes formal acceptance or rejection letters (insofar as they include substantive engagement with the paper) and email correspondence with authors during the editing process. Marked up copies of submissions edited, identifying gaps or ambiguities in the argument, lack of clarity, queries to the author, editorial suggestions etc. This would include any submission on which you did this kind of work, whether during the fall seminar or after, whether or not you had carriage of the piece, and whether or not it was ultimately accepted. A memo providing an overview of your work, organizing it in terms of what was most meaningful, academically, what you took the most responsibility for, and did the most work on, to put in context your contribution to the Journal.

At a Glance

Both Terms


10 JD