Journal Notes 101: What Makes a Good Note Topic?

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on October 07, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As a 2L on a journal, your entire year will be consumed by writing your note -- classes are secondary -- especially if you are determined to get published. But, before you get caught up in the note writing process, you have to settle on a note topic. It may come as a surprise, but the most difficult aspect of writing a note is finding a topic.

Since you'll be devoting a year to this topic, we've decided to let you in on what topics make a note publication worthy.

Publication Worthy Note Topics

Before you start writing your note, you may want to take some time to look at the latest issues of your journal to see what kinds of notes get published. You may start seeing some patterns; more often than not, notes are written about the following topics:

Circuit Splits

These are an all-time favorite of student notes. They are great fodder for legal analysis, creating legal theories and forecasting outcomes should the Supreme Court later decide the case. Who knows? If your note is that good, it may be cited in the appellate briefs.

New or Proposed Legislation

Writing about new or proposed legislation, and its ramifications is a great way to write about a new area of law. This leaves a lot of ground for you to cover and you can take the note in any direction you like.

Lack of Legislation

If there is a gap in the law where the law is not keeping up with changes in technology or society, calling attention to this area, along with making suggestions is a great way to show your legal aptitude.

Effect of New Supreme Court Precedent

Writing about ground breaking Supreme Court decisions are a great way to analyze the opinion and forecast the potential effects and repercussions of the opinion.

Unique Decisions

Not all decisions lead to circuit splits or the Supreme Court -- but they may just be really interesting and unique. Writing about a really unique decision may be a step toward developing your niche in a potential practice area.

Now that we know what topics will make your note publication worthy, tune in later this week when we discuss how to find a note topic, and things you should consider when selecting a note topic.

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