Washington Law Review
University of Washington
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: (206) 543-4068

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Washington Law Review

WLR History

 Read a detailed history of the Washington Law Review from 1919 to 1988 including original letters, interviews with alumni and errata
(printable version)

In 1919, the Washington Law Review became the first law review to publish in the Pacific Northwest. It stopped publishing only one year later, due to financial difficulties. Students revived the project in 1925, and a second version of Vol. 1 No. 1 appeared. The Law Review has published continuously ever since.

The 1925 resurrection of the journal was a student project. In 1929, UW School of Law administrators handed the publication to the faculty, appointing from its ranks an editorial board and editor-in-chief. The faculty's role evolved over time. At first, professors solicited and selected all the articles. By the mid-1930s, their role became largely advisory. The school formally phased out faculty control in 1948, handing the journal back to the students and appointing a faculty advisor. Just a few years later, though, students became convinced that their faculty advisor was not respecting the new arrangement. The members of the Editorial Board met with Dean Judson Falknor and told him they would resign en masse unless students had full editorial control of the journal. Dean Falknor replaced the advisor, and the UW School of Law faculty and administration have honored the Law Review's editorial independence ever since.

From 1936 to 1961, the Washington Law Review published with the Washington State Bar Journal. Both organizations benefited from the partnership. Washington's practicing lawyers got insightful commentary about their legal world, with a particular focus on the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the Law Review devoted one entire issue per year to the Washington courts. Throughout those years, the Law Review had a very high circulation and enjoyed strong financial growth, as every member of the Washington State Bar received a copy, paid for by membership dues. After its break with the State Bar, the Law Review began to broaden its focus, devoting less attention to the Pacific Northwest and publishing more pieces of interest to practicing lawyers and legal scholars from around the country.

Today, the Washington Law Review is entirely student-run. Students oversee the process from beginning to end—selecting articles for publication, editing and cite-checking them, and producing final page proofs for publication. They learn a great deal from this arrangement, and practicing lawyers and scholars benefit from the type of quality assurance that only a small army of devoted legal researchers can provide.


Last updated 1/2/2013