Instructor(s): Denise Réaume

2 credits (Conditional Enrol)

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

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 Journal's 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 Wednesdays from 4:10 - 6:00 PM. The seminar complements activities of the Senior Board members in organizing cell group activities and participating in Senior Board meetings, and aims to support student editors by providing training and supervision in respect of the central tasks of student editors. These research and editing exercises build on other forms of legal writing and research instruction offered in the J.D. program. The seminar will track key phases of the journal production process. Topics include:

  • Brainstorming about the year’s objectives – developing ideas for content.

  • 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?
  • How to conduct cell groups so that Associate Editors learn how to read critically an academic article in law.
  • 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.
  • Preparing for Senior Board meetings: writing an abstract for a paper; summarizing strengths and weaknesses to foster effective discussion.
  • Providing feedback to authors: interpreting Reviewers Reports; setting priorities, organizing substantive suggestions; how to present suggestions while preserving the integrity of the author’s work.
  • Substantive editing: putting general lessons to work based on working with an actual manuscript

Over the course of the year each Senior Editor will participate in the editing of at least one submission under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may work in teams of two or even three. The tasks involved include the following:

1. Research: Senior Editor(s) will first write up a memo on the adequacy of the research in the submission. They may do this in conjunction with the members of the cell group responsible for bringing forward the paper, but the Senior Editors will be responsible for writing up the report. The research librarians of the Bora Laskin Law Library will be involved to guide the students in this process.

2. Manuscript assessment: Senior Editor(s) will write a memo analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the paper with a view to incorporating this into the ultimate feedback sent to the author. This analysis is expected to be detailed and incisive, covering both style and substance. As assessments from peer reviewers come in, the student(s) will refine their own analysis to take account of the feedback from the peer reviewers. Ultimately they will draft a letter to the author collecting all the feedback; the draft will be reviewed by the faculty advisor. Meetings will be held with the faculty advisor throughout this process to discuss the students’ own assessment of the submission, their reaction to the reviewers’ assessment, and finally the content of the final communication to the author.

3. Substance Editing: Students will undertake a close edit of the final submission. The point is 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, at least one meeting will be held 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: • Memo to Senior Board about a submission that sets out the author’s argument, identifying its strengths and weaknesses in terms of organization, writing style, clarity, research, and substance. • All correspondence with authors Marked up copies of submissions edited, identifying gaps or ambiguities in the argument, lack of clarity, queries to the author, editorial suggestions etc.

At a Glance

Both Terms


10 JD