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A Rough Legal Intersection Made Smooth: New York University School of Law’s Journal of Legislation and Public Policy [9-20-04 by Joe Cockman] Usually we feature an interview with a law school’s career counselor in this slot. This week, however, as a special feature, we’re going to report on NYU School of Law Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, a relatively new but innovative and informative journal that we feel you should hear about.

If Law & Order epitomizes the fictional end

the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy.”

of the spectrum of America’s fascination

This requires that a wide net of inquiry be

Located off Washington Square in New York

with legal issues and legal actors, then the

cast and discussed before settling upon a

City, the office of the Journal knows the tal-

realm where politics, legislation and public

narrow aim. It is a balance that may seem

ented energies of a variety of members. The

policy intersect may operate as its real-world

simple, but in the world of law creation- if

Journal is made up of 40 second-year staff

balancing force. Pieces of legislation like

one is honest-no issue is completely de-

editors, approximately 20 third-year articles

the Campaign Finance Reform Act or the

tached from the broader social experience.

editors, and an executive board. Unlike some Journals, this small community randomly

Religious Land Use Act are the results of decisions made by the players in this realm,

Examining the reach and ambition of both

assigns second-year editors to assist and

and these decisions hold impact for many

a past and upcoming issue of this young

learn from third-year editors, and these

Americans. Where the decisions of ersatz

Journal reveals that its mission is likely to

assignments shift at least once during the

District Attorney Jack McCoy entertain, the

be achieved with considerable success. In

semester. This way, every Journal member

choices made by a state legislature or the

the fall of 2003, it published papers resulting

is “more invested right from the beginning,”

U.S. Congress proclaim-funds are directed,

from an earlier symposium entitled “Teach-

due to a more varied involvement in the

behavior is controlled, and the daily lives of

ing Legislation” that focused on the legis-

publication process, Pierce noted. It also

millions are given limits and freedoms.

lative aspect of its mission. Currently the

“increases the institutional memory” of the

Journal is compiling an issue of papers that

Journal, she continued, thereby allowing for

Studying and understanding these public

were written from a symposium it co-spon-

more involved projects like symposiums or a

policy choices is essential to an educated

sored with the Health Law Society, named

special section in each issue of the Journal

system of democratic participants. That

“Increasing Access to Healthcare.” This

called “Recent Developments.”

check-and-balance dream of the Fathers

symposium sustains the balance by provid-

surely anticipated that some group of inquir-

ing a direct focus on public policy. Where

“Recent Developments” is an example of how

ing minds would perpetually analyze and

“Teaching Legislation” concerned itself with

the Journal is driven to inform its potential

question the results of these lawmaking

the role of legislatures in public law, the

audience in distinctive ways. According to

bodies and the current public policy issues

Journal’s upcoming health-care symposium

Pierce, these essay-length pieces, written

they face.

issue covers a broad range of topics, from

by Journal staff, “invoke brief and thought-

Enter the New York University School of Law

reducing medical errors to why the modern

ful analysis of a current piece of legisla-

health-care crisis exists in the first place.

tion.” Items in “Recent Developments” allow more staff writing to be published, and the

Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. “We were astounded at how different the

section seemingly allows the staff to further

Since April of 1997, the Journal of Legisla-

pieces were,” said Pierce, referring to the

strengthen their joint commitment to the

tion and Public Policy has sought to publish

soon-to-be-published health-care issue.

Journal. Most importantly, these pieces en-

articles that examine a specific policy issue,

“The topic range illustrates the complex-

able a reader to get a “good grasp of policy

specific piece of legislation, or a proposed

ity of the situation.” On a public policy scale

issues without being overburdened,” said

legislative initiative. Knowing that strong

this could not be more true. The health-care

Managing Editor Rachel Grand. And when the

analysis leads to more productive debate,

question attracts the opinions and ideas of

policy issue is one like same-sex marriage,

the Journal recognizes that its title should

lawyers, physicians, hospitals, and insurance

for example, parsing down the rhetoric and

always direct its mission. “It is critical that

companies, contributing to a lively debate

presenting clear analysis makes this section

all of our articles have both components,”

that will certainly make this forthcoming

a valuable contribution to public debate.

said Editor-In-Chief Heather Pierce. “We’re

December issue a worthwhile read.


continued on back


The enthusiasm and professionalism of editors Pierce and Grand help to reveal why the Journal’s content is so compelling. Where Pierce brings a Master’s in Public Health to the table, Grand holds interest in topics from the study of bioethics to workplace gender discrimination. It does not seem unreasonable to assume that the entire staff at the Journal offers a similar variety of interests and expertise that contribute to this intellectual vigor. Past issues of the Journal contain articles with topics ranging from employment law statutes to transportation subsidies, and student notes discussing the public’s role in caring for the elderly and juvenile curfews. In an election year where policy argument is ignored in favor of campaign strategy, and in a modern America where Law & Order episodes are “ripped from the headlines,” the line between fiction and reality, in regards to law, legislation, and policy issues, has undeniably blurred. Thankfully, the New York University School of Law Journal of Legislation and Public Policy is picking up where negligent reporting has failed. This Journal provides a fresh and substantive outlet for future and current legal leaders to consider the prospect for public law. That is a great thing for public policy and a great thing for the polity. Visit the New York University School of Law Journal of Legislation and Public Policy at: index.html.


1. 800. 973. 1177

A Rough Legal Intersection Made Smooth  
A Rough Legal Intersection Made Smooth  

We feature interview with law schools career counselors and reporting on NYU School of Law Journal of Legislation and Public Policy as a spe...