At W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom. We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to. Today, 3L Kat Statman discusses the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment (JECE), one of the four journal opportunities at W&L Law.
The Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment (JECE) is a student run academic legal journal that publishes articles on energy, climate, and environmental law and policy. The articles published encompass these issues both nationally and internationally. The Journal also promotes at least one event per year on emerging issues in energy, climate, and environmental law. This year the Journal had a Fall Panel in November 1st, 2013 discussing the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia. This February the Journal will be hosting a full day symposium on International Environmental Justice, focusing specifically on access to water and access to energy in developing nations around the world.
JECE serves a variety of functions within W&L. What we strive to do is make W&L a leader in legal scholarship in energy, climate, and environmental law. Through our symposia and our publication we bring leaders in legal and non-legal thought to campus to contribute to some of the most important discussions that are affecting our nation and our world. For example, whether a family in Pakistan has electricity so that their children can finish high school and help bring the family out of poverty is currently an important issue effecting the discussions of access to energy and whether governments should support alternative energy structures or traditional energy structures.
Additionally, the Journal trains the second year staff-writers and third year editors in important skills that will be necessary when they inevitably enter the job market. Being a member of a journal is not a cakewalk and requires a significant amount of work. This work, however, teaches a number of important skills that have helped me and the other editors on JECE tremendously. Staff-writers learn time management skills, attention to detail, and legal citation systems through the process that we call cite-checking. Additionally, they begin to fine tune and develop their legal research and writing skills that they started to develop as first year law students. Every staff-writer is required to write a fairly substantial paper on an important and timely issue in energy, climate, or environmental law. This requires research into the current issues and varying viewpoints, the ability to synthesize a large amount of information, and finally the ability to take this information and convert it into an article that will be considered for publication at the end of the year.
Each year on JECE has given me different things to enjoy. As a staff-writer I really enjoyed two things. First I enjoyed the camaraderie that I developed with my other staff writers during the cite check process. I remember being in the law school late one night scrambling to finish a cite check. Two other staff writers were here too and we all needed to use the same source but all of us had carrels in different parts of the law school. Every time we would need the source we would have to find out who had it and where they were sitting. In that process we would joke around and have fun all becoming better friends for it. The second thing was the opportunity to write a note, where I developed a topic, argument, and theme and had the opportunity to have it considered for publication. This was the first time in law school I had this opportunity and the first time I had engaged in a project like this since I left graduate school.
As a third year editor, the experience is different, but in many ways there are similarities. While our cite-checking responsibilities are different, we are still involved and still have those late crazy nights. But the most important was having the chance to meet 15 staff writers from the current second year class and work with them. I did not know any of them when they were selected for JECE, but now that I know them all I am glad that I had that opportunity.
I do not want to lie; being on a journal in any capacity is a lot of work. As a second year you are juggling a job search, four courses, moot court competitions, and a personal life with journal work, which will take up a lot of time and energy. And, as a third year editor you are juggling your responsibilities to the Journal with your clinic or externship, potentially a job search and then worries about the bar exam. Regardless, it is an experience I would not give up for a minute.
But all this hard work has paid off. Every attorney, law professor, policy advocate, or even non-lawyer understands that the issues of energy, climate, and the environment are important today and will be important for a long time. Being able to talk intelligently about these issues has been a benefit in starting my career as a lawyer and will be beneficial for the rest of my career as a lawyer.