A Letter from the Editor
Last year, I accepted the post of Editor in Chief of The Law News with one goal in mind: to make the newspaper a worthy contribution to W&L Law. I was fortunate to have enlisted the aid of strong writers and diligent editors. As a result, we garnered an increased readership among the student body and earned the American Bar Association’s Law School Newspaper Award. In my second year as Editor in Chief, I’ve come to realize that these accolades are not going to ensure our continued success; there is still much to do.
The Law News began forty-one years ago as a means of alerting people to upcoming events. At that time, The Law News was the only way to inform the student body about anything that was going on in and around the law school, except for a bulletin board that was over-cluttered. In those first years, The Law News released an issue every two weeks, and served essentially the same function as Law Notices does today. The issues served the additional purpose of providing analysis of the events that had already happened.
Nowadays, The Law News isn’t meant to give updates on upcoming events. It’s simply not the best medium for that information anymore. Instead, the newspaper has transformed into a means for the law community to reflect on what has already occurred and to discuss what is yet to come. For Alumni, The Law News provides insight into what is going on in the school and offers students the ability to write their thoughts candidly. For prospective students, it provides an unvarnished look into the kind of school they are actually considering. For current students, the paper is a means to stay informed about important people, events, and debates throughout the school. And, for the first time in The Law News’s history, we are instituting a program to expose current students to the intersection between journalism and the legal profession.
Unless a commitment to the success of the newspaper endures among the student body, faculty, and staff of W&L Law, our progress will be fleeting. As recently as last year, there were discussions about whether a law school newspaper was even beneficial to W&L Law, and whether the institution of The Law News should be allowed to continue. These concerns have faded some. But these are the type of questions that should be raised from time to time, and The Law News should be held to a high standard of service to the W&L community.
It’s up to you, as a member of the W&L Law community, to ensure that The Law News is effectively serving its purposes. Please take a few minutes to read this issue of The Law News and decide for yourself whether it meets the high standard we set for it.
Howard M. Wellons
Editor-in-Chief, The Law News
Juris Doctor Candidate, 2014
Washington & Lee University School of Law
Sydney Lewis Hall, Law News Office
Lexington, VA 24450