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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

Students to establish Tufts Undergraduate Law Review

A new journal introduces more law-related opportunities to interested Tufts students.

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Packard Hall, home to the departments of political science and international relations, is pictured on Nov. 26, 2022.

The Tufts Undergraduate Law Review, the only of its kind on Tufts’ campus, will publish its first edition in April. The publication follows in the footsteps of other undergraduate law reviews, notably those of Brown and Harvard.

The new law review aims to fuel conversations surrounding current events and social justice on campus.

“We hope to be a space [that can] stand up for certain ideas and for the student body through commentary on recent influential cases like Roe v. Wade and the affirmative action decision,” Audre Zvinys, the treasurer of the law review, said. “For a student body as passionate as the one at Tufts, having a place for that discourse is really valuable.”

Cathy Yao, a senior majoring in International Relations and math, is the mastermind behind the publication’s creation. She came up with the idea to bring a law review to Tufts upon researching other publications to which she could submit her academic work.

“I was looking at all these undergraduate law reviews because I was thinking about submitting,” Yao said, “and I realized that … Tufts doesn’t have one. So I felt like maybe I [could] start one.”

Organizers have applied to the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement and hope to receive mentorship from professors in the political science department. Louise Bond, vice president of the Pre-Law Society and the law review’s outreach liaison, spoke to the potential role that the publication has to contribute to campus culture.

“The idea and excitement that students have had about [the review] would be that it would bolster conversations about … how the law is relevant to what’s going on in the world, and just making that more accessible,” Bond said. “Typically the entire legal profession is so hierarchical and exclusive … and it’s frustrating because [law] affects all of us greatly. There’s a lot of excitement about getting to engage students’ interests on law, politics [and] current events, but also getting to empower the voices and research of students through blogs and articles.”

Naturally, the law review additionally provides professional avenues for students interested in the pre-law track. Tufts does not have a defined law major, and many students have expressed the desire for more resources when applying to law school.

“Advising can be a little spotty, [and] it’s hard to know exactly what a career in that field even looks like. [Law is] characteristically defined by its exclusivity and hierarchical legacy,” Bond said. “What I think it should mean to have a law-related journal is not reproducing that culture within law, but challenging it by increasing access.”

The new publication rides the coattails of Common Law, Tufts’ undergraduate law review that was first published in 2009. However, Common Law ceased operations shortly after its first few editions. The question of the publication’s lifespan is one that its organizers have been mindful of.

“We want to make this more sustainable. … We want to not just have seniors and juniors, but also [first-years] and sophomores,” Yao said.  

She also emphasized her desire to partner with other organizations on campus as a means to build on the unique nature of the Tufts community. “I was talking to one of the deans, and she was like: ‘What’s something special about Tufts that other schools do not have?’ And I thought about TUPIT, Tisch College of Civic Life. … We don’t want to just be a pure publication, we also want to [build partnerships],” Yao said.

The Tufts Undergraduate Law Review recently solicited submissions through an online form, with applications to be a staff writer and editor opening again in the fall semester. The journal is open to any and all submissions relating to the field of law. Those interested in joining the journal can additionally write blog posts, which will be posted to the platform Medium.

It is really important for people to understand how the law shapes their everyday life, how it structures the institutions that we’re all a part of, how it impacts whether change does or does not happen, and how it distributes power,” Bond said. “So I’m really excited for the first publication and to start building student engagement and interest in these topics.”