I. General Information
Any Columbia Law School student may submit a short piece of student scholarship for consideration by the Columbia Law Review’s Notes Committee. If selected for publication, that student’s Comment will be published on CLR Forum, the Review’s online component.
A Comment is a short piece of student-authored legal scholarship discussing a recent and important judicial decision, analyzing a development in the law, or advancing a novel legal idea. Published Comments serve as useful resources for legal scholars and practitioners, and may even be relied upon by judges in reaching decisions.
You can often adapt other research you have done at CLS, such as research for a professor or conducted for a seminar paper, into a Comment; however, a research memorandum or seminar paper would likely need to be substantially adapted in order to be a suitable Comment for publication.
If you do this, please be sure to check with the Registrar and your professors about whether it is appropriate to “double-dip” research––that is, to use the same body of research for two requirements. Further, please note that CLS does not permit you to use the same work product for multiple course credits.
While the traditional Comment is a “case Comment”––it identifies a specific, very recent, notable case; details the decision; and advises the reader on the implications of that decision––the Review also considers Comments that look beyond judicial decisions to other developments in the law, such as new or pending legislation, a recent executive or administrative action, or a new take on existing doctrines.
For a Comment to be successful, the problem or issue discussed must be novel. It is not enough to write about a new decision or development that simply perpetuates a problem that has already been discussed or written about at length in other legal scholarship.
By virtue of their very focused scope, Comments are shorter than Notes, typically about fifteen pages long. Comments take a clear position on the case or issue they address, but in a respectful and non-confrontational way. Further, a successful Comment recognizes all sides of the issue discussed within the limits imposed by brevity. By doing so, a Comment’s author assures their reader that nothing is being hidden, which lends credibility to the position they ultimately take. In short, a Comment should articulate a position forcefully while treating contrary arguments seriously and respectfully.
II. Submission Instructions
Typically, Comments are around fifteen double-spaced pages when they are published. At the submission stage, the Review may select pieces which are slightly longer, but is unlikely to publish a submission exceeding twenty-five pages. All things being equal, a shorter Comment is a stronger Comment.
Your above-the-line text must be in 12-point, double-spaced, Times New Roman font. Footnoted text must be in 11-point, single-spaced, Times New Roman font.
We suggest using the “cross-reference” feature in Word when making references to text within your Comment (“supra” or “infra” references). This way, if you move things around, you can easily update these internal cross-references.
For citations, please follow the Bluebook. You should also consult the CLR Style Guide to help you adhere to certain stylistic preferences held by the Review. The CLR Style Guide can be provided on request.
Blind Review Process
The Review uses a blind review process for student-authored works. That is, the Notes Committee does not know the identity of any author whose piece it considers for publication. Any member of the Notes Committee who knows who wrote a Comment being deliberated on will recuse themselves from the discussion and will not vote on that Comment. This policy ensures that selections are conducted objectively and fairly. To this end, Comment authors should refrain from discussing their Comments with any CLS student on the Review’s Notes Committee: Susannah Cohen, Michelle Duarte, Aneesa Mazumdar, Emily McEvoy, and Alexandra Nickerson.
To submit your Comment for consideration by the Review’s Notes Committee, please email a final draft of your piece, along with an up-to-date preemption check, as a single Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Comment file should be devoid of any identifying information (name, UNI, etc.), so that the Notes Committee may consider it pursuant to its blind review process.
The preemption check must use the template provided in the Comments Manual, regularly emailed to the CLS student body. For a copy of the Comments Manual, email Emily McEvoy, Executive Notes Editor (email@example.com).
The Spring 2021 submission round for Comments will close on May 14, 2021.
Requesting Presubmission Feedback
Any Comment author may request one round of feedback from a member of the Review’s Notes Committee before submitting his or her piece. If you would like to work with a Note Editor on your Comment, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the Notes Committee’s policy of blind review, any Note Editor who assisted a Comment author in writing the Comment will recuse themselves from deliberating on that piece.
III. Contact Information
General questions, comments, and concerns about the Comments Program may be directed to Emily McEvoy, Executive Notes Editor (email@example.com). However, inquiries regarding a particular author’s Comment should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff of the Review will redact identifying information before communicating with the Notes Committee.