The Harvard Law Review is a student-run organization whose primary purpose is to publish a journal of legal scholarship. The Review comes out monthly from November through June and has roughly 2,000 pages per volume. The organization is formally independent of the Harvard Law School. Student editors make all editorial and organizational decisions and, together with a professional business staff of three, carry out day-to-day operations. A circulation of about 8,000 enables the Review to pay all of its own expenses.
Aside from serving as an important academic forum for legal scholarship, the Review has two other goals. First, the journal is designed to be an effective research tool for practicing lawyers and students of the law. Second, it provides opportunities for Review members to develop their own editing and writing skills. Accordingly, each issue contains pieces by student editors as well as outside authors.
The Review publishes articles by professors, judges, and practitioners and solicits reviews of important recent books from recognized experts. All articles—even those by the most respected authorities—are subjected to a rigorous editorial process designed to sharpen and strengthen substance and tone.
Most student writing takes the form of Notes, Recent Cases, Recent Legislation, and Book Notes. Notes are approximately 18 pages and are usually written by third-year students. Recent Cases and Recent Legislation are normally six pages long and are written mainly by second-year students. Recent Cases are comments on recent decisions by courts other than the U.S. Supreme Court, such as state supreme courts, federal circuit courts, district courts, and foreign courts. Recent Legislation look at new statutes or administrative rules at either the state or federal level. Book Notes, also written by second-years, are six-page reviews of recently published books.
Student-written pieces also appear in the special November and February issues. The November issue contains the Supreme Court Foreword, usually by a prominent constitutional scholar, the faculty Case Comment, and about 25 Leading Cases—analyses by third-year students of the most important decisions of the previous Supreme Court Term—and a compilation of Court statistics. The February issue features the annual Developments in the Law project, an in-depth treatment of an important area of the law prepared principally by second-year editors of the Review. All student writing is unsigned. This policy reflects the fact that many members of the Review, besides the author, make a contribution to each published piece.