Fall of 2021 marked the launch of the first Chapman Undergraduate Law Review, a student-run journal that publishes scholarly articles written by students focusing on different legal issues. Students Alexis Reekie ’23, a junior triple major in philosophy, political science and self-designed law liberal arts major, along with Director of Finance and Founder, Nicole Drew ’23 had the initial idea to create this organization, a place where pre-law students could gain experience in writing and research. Reekie and Marina Logue ’22, a senior philosophy and political science double major with a minor in law and liberal arts, then began working along with their executive board to establish everything.
“The purpose of this organization is to help students and present them with more opportunities. Oftentimes undergraduate students lack tangible resources and preparation for what law school entails. We wanted to give all students the ability to discover more about law whether that means they become more passionate about it or realize the field might not be for them,” states Reekie.
The Beginning of the Undergraduate Law Review
The Chapman students received guidance from Chapman’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law when crafting the organization’s proposal and details. Reekie gathered insight from the law school’s own law review. “Building a relationship with Chapman’s law school is really important to us,” Logue and Reekie say.
Reekie designed the undergraduate law review’s constitution and position list with the help of Professor Ron Steiner, the university’s pre-law advisor. There are currently nine board members, including an editor-in-chief and six editors. Each editor has two to three writers with whom they work throughout the year as the writers compose articles to be published in the journal.
“We were really surprised and excited to find out that we had gotten around 68 applications and not just from writers at Chapman. We got applications from all over California and from states such as Arizona and Texas. We even got applicants from other countries, like Russia and an exchange student from Asia. It really shows how eager students are to gain opportunities in an undergraduate law review and how uncommon they are around the country,” says Reekie.
The Future for Pre-law Students
For the first few years, the executive board will only publish one issue per year. However, that could change as the team learns the logistics of navigating a journal. That being said, all undergraduate students are encouraged to submit articles and apply to be a writer, regardless of their major or background. “We highly encourage and want different perspectives,” Reekie states. They currently have a student majoring in neuroscience writing a fascinating article about neurology and law. As this journal becomes more and more popular, Reekie and Logue anticipate that many students from Chapman and across the world will be eager to contribute.
While students have the freedom to write about any topic that interests them, the journal has yearly themes. This year they are focusing on criminal justice reform.
“I’ve really enjoyed the process of choosing writers for the journal. We had writers submit an abstract for their article alone with a writing sample. It was amazing getting to read through all the unique ideas and concepts. It makes me excited to see a community build, a place where we can all inspire and motivate each other,” Logue says.
“One thing I’ve really loved about working with my fellow board members, has been the fact that we’ve built a great community. We’ve been able to connect with students from across the globe and talk about interesting topics. We really hope that students get involved with this organization and keep it going after Marina and I graduate,” Reekie states.
Reekie, Logue and the rest of the executive board recently attended the University of Chicago Reconstruction Amendment Conference at the end of April 2022. The group also toured some law schools in the area. “I was eager to organize this event for my fellow peers. It was a great learning experience for us all and a great way to strengthen our sense of community even further. We are all eager to learn more about other writers’ papers and get more ideas of what we might like to do in the future,” says Logue.